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Protection for landowners

Regular use by the public of an informal path, or land for lawful sports and pastimes, can result in those rights being formalised and recorded. Landowners can protect their land against claims for public rights of way, or village green rights, by showing that at the relevant time they did not intend these rights to be acquired/dedicated.

This can be done by physical actions such as displaying notices, fencing the land or locking gates. It can also be achieved by the deposit of a combined document, under a new provision in the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013. This allows a landowner to submit a deposit under Section 31(6) of the Highways Act 1980 and a landowner statement under Section 15A(1) of the Commons Act 2006 on the same document.

A single application form (Form CA16) allows for both highways statements and declarations, and landowner statements. Using this  Application Form a landowner can deposit:

  • a Highways Statement and Plan to show you do not intend to dedicate any further public rights of way
  • a Highways Declaration to complete your protection under Section 31(6)
  • a Landowner Statement to end as of right use of land for lawful sports and pastimes

You will be notified if anyone applies to record a new public right of way across your land. If your land is subject to a claim for village green rights, you will be informed by our Legal Services Department.

Schedule of charges

The Commons (Registration of Town or Village Greens) and Dedicated Highways (Landowner Statements and Declarations) (England) Regulations 2013 (Section 2(2)(d)) allow the council to require each application to deposit statements and/or declarations to be accompanied by a reasonable fee (Please note that a Highways Statement constitutes a separate application from a Highways Declaration).

Where an application includes a large acreage or a number of separate parcels, there will be additional charges. 

It is suggested that where possible a 'draft' application with accompanying plan(s) is initially submitted, preferably by email, in order for the correct charges to be calculated.

You should include a cheque payable to Dorset County Council with your application, for which a receipt can be issued if requested.

These charges will be reviewed annually.

Charges for landowner deposits
Deposit  Fee Includes
Registration Fee

(Statement)

£350  Registration of the Highway Statement (Section 31(6)) and/or Landowner Statement (Section 15A(1)) and erection of site notices for one parcel of land (Landowner Statements only)
Registration Fee

(Declaration)

£350 Registration of the Highways Declaration (Section 31(6)) and/or Landowner Statement (Section 15A(1)) and erection of site notices for one parcel of land (Landowner Statements only)
Registration of additional parcels of land £50 per parcel  Erection of additional site notices for each additional parcel of land
Renewal Fee £350 Registration of the Highways Declaration (Section 31(6)) and/or Landowners Statement (Section 15A(1)) and erection of site notices for one parcel of land
Renewal of additional parcels of land £50 per parcel Erection of additional site notices for each additional parcel of land
Erection of additional notices at the request of the landowner £25 Erection of each notice

A 'parcel' of land is defined as a single area of land not broken or separated by land in the possession of another person.  For example, two fields separated by a hedge, fence or river would constitute a single parcel of land. 

Re-register or renewal

If it is more than ten years since your previous deposit, 20 years for deposits made after 1st October 2013, you will need to submit a new registration rather than a renewal.

The deposit of a Highways Statement and Declaration will not protect a landowner from claims supported by evidence of use by the public prior to the date of the statement, claims made under common law which do not rely on the 20 year test under the Highways Act or claims supported by historic or documentary evidence.

The responsibility to ensure that an application has been properly made lies with the landowner.  Although Dorset County Council may highlight any apparent errors or omissions we will only hold Section 31(6) and Schedule 15A(1) statements and declarations on deposit and will not make any judgement as to the validity of the information they contain.

Landowners wishing to clarify the location and extent of public rights of way already recorded on the Definitive Map and Statement before submitting a highways statement and/or declaration can ask the County Council for this information, for which a fee is payable, or may inspect the Definitive Map and Statement at County Hall free of charge.

The landowner should keep a copy of all the completed forms and maps.

If you are unsure what you should include within your deposit you ought to seek the advice of a competent independent legal advisor.

Register of Landowner Deposits

Dorset County Council is required to record deposits received from October 2013 as an online landowner deposits register.

The paper register can be inspected free of charge at County Hall, Dorchester, Monday to Thursday: 9.30am to midday and 2pm to 4pm, Friday: 9.30am to midday. Excluding Public Holidays.

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