One of the key projects for the Trust is to work with others to secure the adoption of the historic Drove route, linking Blairmore High Road with the shore area.
Progress to date:
- 2007. Research began into the adoption of the High Road.
- 2010. Temporary repairs were carried out. Blairmore Village Trust contributed £1,785 towards this work. Meeting held with A & B Council & National Park.
- 2012. The residents of the High Road set up a maintenance fund and Blairmore Village Trust made a loan of £1,500 to the residents to help them get work underway quickly.
- 2014. Blairmore Village Trust became the owners of the solum of the High Road.
(an extract from previous research dated 2007)
1. The Council: Argyll & Bute
Extract from Committee Report dated 5th December 2006)
“Roads are classified in the Roads (Scotland) act 1984 as Public meaning a road which a roads authority has a duty to maintain or Private – those not being Public. The act further defines a road as being any way….over which there is a public right of passage.
The Council has within the operational area many roads which are Private roads over most of which there is public access. These roads are the responsibility of developers, estates, private individuals trust or feudal superiors etc. The Council has generally no legal responsibility for their upkeep”.
1(a) Council’s Legal Adviser (Gordon Dagleish) Extract from e-mail dated 8th February 2007
“There is little that can be done where the owner of the road declines to carry out works to keep the road in a proper state of repair.
In the first instance, it is necessary to determine what is provided in the title deeds relating to the 25 houses with regard to access to their properties and what obligations were placed on them. On the assumption that the titles were granted in the 19th Century, it is likely that the proprietors of each property were granted a right of access to their property or there is no express right but it is implied by necessary implication.
At Common Law, the proprietors of the benefited properties (i.e. the house owners) would not require to contribute towards the cost of maintaining the private road over which they may take access but equally the owner of the burdened property (i.e. the owner of the road) has only very limited duties with regard to the maintenance of the road”.
2. The Owners: The Younger (Benmore) Trust Scottish Registered Charity SC000284
(Letter dated 5th February 2007)
“Under the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 the owner of a road is not obliged to keep a Public Right of Way in good repair.
Under the Occupiers Liability Act, statute and common law do not place a particularly high duty on an owner of land other than that an owner has a duty
of care not to obstruct the route and should permit access to the public in order to repair the route. The owner should also take reasonable care not to cause injury to users of a public right of Way. However there is no legal requirement for the Trust to take any active steps to deal with the maintenance of the road.
It is likely that many of the title deeds of the frontagers will include, along with a right of access, an obligation to maintain and repair the road according to use. The Trust is not being unhelpful but merely outlining its position in law”.
3. The Householders (i.e. Frontagers) written by Blairmore Village Trust
There are 25 householders distributed randomly throughout the 1.3 kilometers of this road. A number have searched their deeds and can find no specific reference to any obligation to maintain the road. One specific reference has been found in one persons deeds which makes a historic refers to the laying of blocks.
Given the lack of legal clarity, the inevitable inconsistency that has emerged over hundreds of years and the application of Common Law which confers no responsibility to contribute, it is fruitless to pursue this as a sustainable outcome.
Hypothetically, even if such a responsibility were established, at its best, it would only be incumbent upon a particular householder to address the part immediately relating to their boundary. It places no obligation about standards nor of consistency. Any outcome achieved in this way would result in a hotch-potch of surfaces with no discernible benefit to achieving a sustainable environment. Nor would it address any of the quality of life issues at the heart of this project.