Housing developers in Derby are planning to build a fence and gates across roads on a new scheme to block public access through to a neighbouring development.
This could potentially cause a headache for residents with no through-route between new schemes.
However, housing developers who are taking these approved plans forward are now butting heads about their adjoining schemes.
What equates to a new small village connecting Boulton and Chellaston is supposed to form one connected network of housing schemes, despite being approved and constructed in phases.
Some of the plans fall in Derby city land and others in South Derbyshire.
JSC Farming Ltd and Central Land Holdings Limited were granted permission by South Derbyshire District Council for 550 homes and a 420-space primary school north of Snelsmoor Lane in Boulton Moor in November 2019. It is dubbed Boulton Moor 2.
In the same week, at a connecting site to the west, Derby City Council granted permission Bellway Homes and Clowes Developments for 800 homes – at a site called Snelsmoor Grange.
However, now the Boulton Moor 2 developers have submitted plans to the district council to install gates on both of the two roads which cross over from the Boulton Moor 2 site into Snelsmoor Grange, with no public access.
Entry would only be allowed for certain people.
Law firm Rollits, on behalf of the Boulton Moor 2 developers, has written to the district and city councils saying the law does not allow the authorities to grant public access rights through its development – to Snelsmoor Grange.
It says access through Boulton Moor 2 to Snelsmoor Grange is not essential to make the neighbouring site sustainable.
The firm writes: “The council cannot proceed on the basis that the developers or occupiers of Snelsmoor Grange will have rights to and through Boulton Moor 2. They do not have those rights.”
Rollits says the planning permissions agreed roads which run through and connect both developments – but not public access rights.
It says: “The owners of Boulton Moor 2 could lawfully gate, fence or otherwise block access across its roads at their unfettered discretion.”
The firm claims that a judgement in the Court of Appeal states that a council cannot require a developer to allocate land it owns as public highway without compensation.
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Rollits says that even if the two developments were “mutually dependent” that is for the firms to agree, if they so choose to. Rollits said it would be “unlawful” for the councils to force public road access rights through Boulton Moor 2 into Snelsmoor Grange.
It says: “There is an obligation to provide the physical links but not to grant public rights over those links.
“There are permitted development rights which attach to Boulton Moor 2 including the right to erect fences or gates at the boundary.
“It would be lawful to erect a fence just within Boulton Moor 2 at the boundary of the completed link roads with Snelsmoor Grange to prevent their use – if considered necessary.”
The submitted plans, which would be installed on each road between the two sites, include timber gates on the pedestrian footpaths, which could be freely opened, and lockable timber gates across the roads themselves.
Rollits says the required allowance for vehicular access between the sites would be in place, but that there is no “obligation” to grant rights to use it.