Adopted roads

Adopted roads in East Sussex

What is an adopted road?

Adopted roads are maintained at public expense, usually by the highway authority. In East Sussex this is the County Council.

All adopted roads are regularly inspected and maintained. As well as repairs to the surface, other works may include:

  • grass cutting, tree pruning, and weed killing
  • drain cleaning
  • repainting road markings.

Other highways, such as Public Rights of Way (PROW) are open to the public but are not inspected or maintained to the same level.

All adopted roads are public unless restrictions have been made by the highway authority.

What is a private road?

Private roads have not been adopted by us. Maintenance is the responsibility of the owner. This may be the residents of a road who each own the part in front of their house, or a third party, usually a developer.

Owners can restrict access to private roads.

Private streets

Private streets are different to private roads. They are roads which are not maintained by the County Council, but may be used by the public. They are known as unadopted public highways.

How does a road become adopted?

If a road is built by us, adoption is usually straightforward. If a road is built by a third party, eg the builder of a residential, commercial or industrial development, a legal agreement is made with us to make sure that the new highway is adopted into the overall network.

When we are asked to adopt a road, we have to make sure that:

  • the third party proposing adoption has ownership rights
  • it is suitably built and meets design standards, eg road layout and alignment
  • it is in good repair with no defects
  • the drains and streetlights meet the necessary standards.

We may also need a financial contribution for any future maintenance.

Find out more about the process for road adoptions.

Further information

To find out more about road adoption, contact:

Highway Land Information Team

Phone: 01273 482316
Email Highway Land Information Team