Road Stopping Guide
The sale of a 'Formed Legal Road' or an 'Unformed Legal Road' (ULR or ‘paper road’) to a private party, is a formal legal process that requires the road reserve available to the public to be "stopped". This extinguishes the rights of the public to use the road reserve. Further information on public rights for Unformed Legal Roads can be found here.
As a first step, an initial conversation with a member of our Council's Roading Team is encouraged. They will be able to advise you of the application process as well as any general information requirements.
Following the initial discussion, Council staff will be able to advise you if the application is likely to be acceptable, the process to be used and the risks or problems involved.
Following discussion with our Council's Roading Team, a formal application will be required to be made to the Roading Manager, Thames-Coromandel District Council.
We have an application form, which is required to be completed and this is available on our website or on request. This should be accompanied by sufficient information to enable our Council to identify the land in question and understand the reasons for the request. Other information that should accompany your application (at a minimum) should include:
- An aerial photograph/map showing the area of road to be stopped;
- Current Certificate of Title for your property;
- Information on why you want the road stopped;
- Details of any services/utilities that may be located within the area of road to be stopped;
- Written consent from other adjoining landowner(s) (to the road) who may be affected by the stopping up;
- Deposit of a $1000 non-refundable administrative fee with the Council, as an initial down payment against costs incurred in processing the application.
Once your initial application letter has been received, our Council's Roading Manager will then undertake a detailed consultation with affected parties and give you an indication as to whether the proposed road stopping would be supported by our Council, as well as an indication as to the statutory process which will apply to your application. It is important to note that the Roading Manager cannot make a decision on your application; this is required to be made by the full Council.
Depending on the statutory process to be followed, you will be advised of any further information requirements that need to be submitted to support your application. The responsibility for coordinating and providing this information, as well as meeting the costs thereof, will be your responsibility as the Applicant. This will include at an appropriate point in the process, appointment of and meeting the costs of a registered valuer, surveyor and registration agent.
Our Council will require an independent registered valuer to determine the value of the stopped road. The valuation will be based on the added value to the adjoining land - i.e. before and after the addition of the stopped road. The valuation will provide the basis for the value at which the stopped road will be purchased from the Council.
A legal agreement will be drafted by our Council's Legal Team.
The agreement will set out the purchase price and may also include reference to the relevant statutory process to be followed, responsibilities for costs and any other conditions that may apply to the road stopping.
A survey plan of the proposed area of road to be stopped will need to be prepared by a registered surveyor for deposit with Land Information New Zealand.
All costs associated with the road stopping process must be met by the Applicant. These costs remain payable irrespective as to whether the application is successful or otherwise. Such costs can range greatly but are likely to be several thousands of dollars at a minimum. Below are some examples of costs that must be met by the applicant:
- Deposit of a $1000 non-refundable administrative fee with the Council, as an initial down payment against costs incurred in processing the application;
- Council staff time - Roading and Legal;
- Survey fees - A registered surveyor will need to be engaged to provide a formal survey of the parcel of road to be stopped, once agreement with our Council has been reached;
- Land Information New Zealand registration fees;
- Valuation fees - To value the area of road to be purchased;
- Accredited registration agent fees - Authorised person to carry out the road stopping process and documentation, including where necessary completion of a Section 40 Public Works Act report;
- Costs of public notification (if an LGA process is followed);
- Any Council hearing and Environment Court costs;
- Costs of any other approvals which may be required as part of the stopping process - i.e. Department of Conservation, Minister of Lands;
- Legal costs - For any easements which may be required to be created over Council services located within the area of road;
- Cost of purchasing the stopped road from the Council.
- If the applicant cannot obtain the required information, our Council may do this on their behalf and recharge the costs (plus administration charges).
Applications for road stopping are considered under either the Public Works Act 1981 or the Local Government Act 1974, depending on which process is relevant to your application.
In all cases, the disposal of the road reserve would be subject to consultation with local iwi, but not subject to their approval. It is advised that any applicants contact local iwi to obtain their views in advance of any submission.
Public Works Act 1981 (PWA)
The PWA process is more streamlined and often quicker, however can only be used in certain circumstances. In order to use the PWA process there must not be public interest in the land in question and any affected parties must have provided written consent. Examples might include where there has been a historic encroachment on the land, the proposal involves an exchange of land with the Council, or where the disposal of the land does not extinguish existing rights of access.
Local Government Act 1974 (LGA)
The LGA process is used when the proposed road stopping has (or potentially has) a wider public interest. This process requires public notification and the erection of signs on the piece(s) of road in question, sending letters to surrounding property owners and the publishing of public notices in the newspaper. Members of the public then have a 40-day period to object. Examples might include the extinguishment of an existing right of access, closure of a road or URL.
In both cases, if no objections are received, the Council may proceed to declare the road stopped by public notice and the road can then be on sold.
In the event objections are received in either process, there can be considerable delays. In these circumstances a hearing may need to be held to hear the objections, after which a decision would need to be made on the objections, and the possible need to escalate the Public Works Act 1981 to the Local Government Act 1974 process. If any objections are not resolved, the Council would then be required to send full documentation to the Environment Court and a hearing may then also be required. If the Environment Court determines to approve the stopping, then the process would continue. However if the Court determined to reject the stopping, then that decision is final, and the process would proceed no further.
Section 40 Offer Back
The road stopping process will require a report under section 40 of the Public Works Act 1981, to confirm any Offer Back requirement that may apply to the piece of road proposed to be stopped. This establishes whether the land has to be offered back to a previous owner or their successor. If the land has to be offered back to a previous owner, then an Offer Back process will need to be followed, which may take several months. If section 40 does not apply or the Offer Back is rejected, the road stopping process will continue.
All road stopping applications require a decision from our full Council. Once the Roading Manager has received your application and any further supporting information which may be required, a report will be presented to the local community board for review and approval. The decision of the local community board to recommend agreement to the stopping up, impose additional conditions or consultation, or recommend its refusal will then be passed to the Council (together with information required by the community board) to confirm a decision on whether to approve the road stopping. Both the community board and the Council's reports will be heard in public, and all interested parties will have the opportunity to present to elected members.
Road stopping applications can take some time to conclude. This can range from six months to a number of years, depending on the statutory process followed and the complexities of the application.
Withdrawal from the process
At any time, an applicant may choose to withdraw from the road stopping process by instructing Council staff. The applicant will be responsible for all costs incurred by the Council up to that date.