Private coal lane, site adjacent has claimed right of way


I currently live in an edwardian 3 bed and share a coal lane at the rear of my property with three other neighbours. This has always been secured by a locked gate and is rarely used by any of us bar the odd
clearout from a shed.
A site behind us, a large commercial factory/shed, built on the party wall that creates the boundary of the lane has had planning permission granted for a domestic dwelling and in the plans has claimed right of way to this coal lane. There will be a fire exit from the second floor onto the lane and in passing he has mentioned replacing the gate. There has never been any access from the premises to the lane.

Would anyone throw any light on whether this should be allowed or not. In our planning objections (we were objecting to specific parts of the proposal, we welcome the use of the site) we mentioned the coal lane and the planners said it was a civil matter. I’d like to clarify where we stand going forward.



(All this is just my opinion and not legal advice. )
Afaik, you can’t build on a party wall. I think usually they are owned 50:50. But not always.

You probably have to form a committee with your neighbors and then seek legal advice.

IMHO, its best to get that stuff sorted as early on as possible.


I am not an expert but from past experience my understanding is that maps with the deeds for yours or any of the other 3 houses using the lane should show the position. One of the 4 may technically own the lane with the others having ROW’s. If you can’t get them via any of the 4 houses (or their current/past solicitors) then they (or at least one of them more recently) may be registered with the land registry. If its Registry of Deeds there wont be maps on file AFAIK but there will be a description in words. I think you can get these records for the development site also which may show their position. Alternatively you could ask the developer for the documentation to back up their claim. It is possible that the lane is owned by the original ground landlord. I guess it’s possible the owner of the site being built on has now bought this. Its also possible that some legal agreement was made between the owner of the lane and the owner of the development site in the past. This should be noted with deeds and have shown up on searches in the past. The OSI have historic maps which you can overlay on current which may be useful for site boundary checking etc. UCD have historic mapping online also. Treat all of this with caution however as I am not legally trained. Far from it!


At the risk of stating the obvious, planning permission does not create property rights. If the developer has no right of way, the grant of planning permission will not give him any claim to a right of way.

If no right of way has been established by usage, there might still be a right of way by way of an express covenant i.e. the landowner may have given written permission. You should get legal advice and legal searches may answer your question.


May thanks for the advice. much appreciated. Looks like a solicitor is indeed required.


If it’s a civil matter then why is it in the plans at all - do the planners not require evidence of the right of way before they approve the plans that aren’t coherent if the right of way doesn’t exist?


Sorry for the delay. The plans had a yellow grid over the lane and the other main access back lane and both denoted as ‘Right of Way’ When we objected to certain parts of the development, we mentioned this. That was their response.


Party walls may be owned by one party so they may have the right to build on the party wall. Again it depends on the maps but that doesn’t seem to be your issue. Looks like ROW is and if they’ve given you maps marked in yellow it looks like they may have a right of way onto the lane that they’ve never used till now. Your own or your neighbours’ deeds may show you whether the land is marked yellow i.e. a ROW and if it abuts the site with the new PP then it looks like they’ve a ROW. Replacing the gate is a different kettle of fish, of course which they probably can’t do. As others have said planners assume that people who apply own the land and don’t concern themselves with that…