Purchase of Legal (Paper) Road
What is a Paper Road?
A paper road is a road that is legally established and recorded in survey plans but which hasn’t necessarily been pegged out. It is public land legally designated for roading but not formed into actual roadway.
Paper roads often border or traverse private land.
What is road stopping?
Road stopping is a process undertaken to change legal road (road reserve) into fee simple land so that it is no longer subject to the law relating to road such as rights of public access. A road can only be stopped if it is considered that the road is no longer needed. Once its status as public road is removed it can be sold.
Marlborough District Council will consider applications from landowners who consider an area of unformed legal road adjoining their property is no longer required as a road and who wish to purchase it. It is important to understand that even where the road is not suitable for vehicular access (even if formed), its potential use for other public purposes, such as walking access, will be a relevant consideration in deciding whether the road is no longer needed and should be stopped.
Should the paper road provide access to any other property including rivers, lakes, sea shore, reserves, etc, the road stopping proposal will not be considered unless the applicant can provide an appropriate alternate solution for access.
When an application is received, the details of the proposal are passed to the relevant sections of Council for their comment, and then returned to Council for decision on whether or not it will authorise commencement of the appropriate statutory process.
The road stopping process would normally be undertaken under the Local Government Act 1974, whereby public notification is given of the road stopping. The process involves erecting signs at each end of the road to be stopped, sending letters to adjoining property owners/occupiers, and at least two public notices, a week apart, in the local newspaper. Members of the public have 40 days in which to object. If any objection received is not accepted by Council, the road stopping proposal must be referred to the Environment Court to determine.
The Public Works Act 1981 can be used when the stopped road is being exchanged for a parcel of land which will be vested as road ('like for like').
Costs and valuing of the land
When an application is received seeking to acquire the land, and if it is stopped, the applicant will be responsible for all costs involved in stopping the road and for the purchase of the road from Council at a price to be determined by a registered valuer who is appointed by Council, the cost of which is payable by the applicant. Council will obtain the valuation when the road stopping has been finalised.
The valuation of the parcel of stopped road will reflect its added value to the adjoining land holding to which the area of stopped road will be attached in the event a transfer takes place.
Should the purchaser be required, in terms of the conditions of road stopping, to pay for survey and legal costs associated with the transfer, a reasonable allowance for those costs may be reflected in the valuation.
Making an application
Please complete the online application form below for further details. An alternative PDF version is also available.