Council public roads

Only a Council (or other public authority) may apply to close a Council public road. Private individuals wishing to initiate the closing of a Council public road should contact their local Council in the first instance.

A public road that was formerly vested in the council on closing remains vested in the council as operational land for the purposes of the Local Government Act 1993, except where the road was never constructed or used by the public. In these cases, an unformed road upon closure vests in the Crown and may comprise all or part of the residue of a certificate of title or old system deed.

Council roads to vest in the Council

Where the land remains vested in the local Council and future dealings or disposal will be a matter for the Council.

A deposited plan suitable for registration in LPI will be required prior to final closing action. The plan must be a plan of survey and may show the closed road as a single lot or as multiple lots (plus easements) in accordance with a proposed disposal. The Council must submit the plan to Crown Lands Division for investigation and signature by an authorised officer prior to lodgment and registration in LPI. Crown Lands will provide a letter indicating how new titles are to issue which should be lodged with the plan.

The plan will be for road closing purposes and the heading should refer to 'Plan of road to be closed under the Roads Act 1993'. A statement of intention, in regard to each lot proposed to be closed, should be included in the panel provided for statements in the Administration Sheet. The certificate(s) of title which include the fee of the road should be disclosed.

On registration of the plan and completion of all other actions by Crown Lands the road ceases to be public road see s.38 Roads Act 1993.

Council road to vest in the Crown

Where the land will vest in the Crown as Crown land any future disposal or dealing will be a matter for Crown Lands.

Council should indicate in schedule 5 of the application if they are lodging the application on behalf of an adjoining landowner that is interested in purchasing the land, or for some other purpose.

Closure of roads created in subdivisions before 1920

For roads created in private subdivisions before 1920 the Council must check:

  • that there is evidence of common law dedication
  • whether the road forms any residue of a subdivided title and
  • if there are any doubts about the status taken action under ss.16 and 17 Roads Act 1993 to dedicate the road as public road.

Until 1920 under common law, land may have become public road as a result of an intention by the owner to dedicate and an acceptance by the public. Ways that the intention to dedicate could be established under common law include:

  • by written evidence expressing that intention or
  • by a course of action from which the intention could be inferred.

Acceptance by the public could be established by:

  • written evidence of acceptance
  • use of the road by the public
  • the existence of public utilities within the road (electricity supply, sewerage services, etc)
  • expenditure of local council money on the upkeep of the road see s.249 Roads Act 1993.

Until 1 January 1920 roads provided in a private subdivision of freehold land usually comprise the residue of the subdivided title and remain in the name of the original subdivider. Section 16(2) Roads Act 1993 permits the Council, after serving notice on the owner, to publish a notice in the Government Gazette that the road is dedicated as public road.

Note  Roads in the Australian Agricultural Company's land grant (Shires of Gloucester and Great Lakes) may only be closed if they have been dedicated to the public as public road by means of a notice in the Government Gazette or by prescription. Roads not dedicated as public roads remain old system land in the name of the Company. Title to these lands may only be obtained by the preparation of a Primary Application claiming the road by possession.

Application to close a Council public road

The Council must complete the required Application to Close Public Road form CL31-30 (PDF 59.3 KB) and lodge it with the nearest regional office of Crown Lands. For more information see www.crownland.nsw.gov.au.

The Council must attach a diagram showing:

  • dimensions and area of road to be closed
  • adjoining property information
  • location of any existing public utilities
  • location and type of any fences, buildings or structures on or near the road.

The Council must pay the required deposit and provide a statement with the following information, regarding road construction:

  • evidence of construction which has taken place
  • the unnecessary nature of the road
  • any alternate public access, if relevant
  • any intentions regarding disposition of the land
  • the name and phone number of a council contact officer
  • any proposal for public display.

The Council must provide written consents/agreements of:

  • all owners and holders of interests in lands adjoining the road(s)
  • any affected public authorities
  • NSW Fisheries (where the road adjoins or gives access to a river or lake)
  • Roads and Maritime Services (where the closing affects or forms a junction with a State Highway, Trunk Road or Main Road)
  • The Land Information Unit, RailCorp Property (where the road adjoins railway land).