Road adoption

Road adoption is a term used to describe the council taking ownership of a 'private street'.

A new or existing unadopted road will be adopted as a highway, which is maintainable at public expense, if it meets with the following requirements when it is built:

  • it has a direct link with the existing public highway network
  • the carriageway and footways are of widths and gradients that offer a safe passage for pedestrians and vehicles
  • there is an approved means of surface water drainage to the carriageway and footways
  • the provision of street lighting meets the current local requirements and national standards
  • the materials used meet the current construction standards
  • the freehold owner/s of the land dedicate the road as a Public Highway when it is built, at no cost to us, under a Section 38 Agreement of the Highways Act 1980
  • the road will remain open to the public to pass and re-pass at all times when formally adopted.

Check if a road is adopted

Find out if a road is a public highway or private street. 

Use our road adoption checker form

View the un-named highways list maintained by Brent Council

Notes for developers

For adoption, the design and construction of a new street must be supervised by the council under an agreement pursuant to the Section 38 Highways Act 1980 - Section 18 Public Health Act 1936 or Section 106 Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

No proposed highway works shall take place prior to the following is adhere to:

1. A detailed design package is submitted to the council for technical vetting. The detailed design package should contain:

a. A drawing showing the extent of the adoptable road. The proposed public highway should be colour washed in pink (crimson lake or CAD colour reference 211). If an existing highway required to be modified to accommodate the new road adoption, then the extent of works on the existing highway should be shaded in orange.

b. General arrangement - This should show the footway, carriageway, position of gullies, lamp columns, any street furniture, parking bays, vehicular crossovers, pedestrian crossings, tactile formation etc.

c. A drawing showing highway drainage layout.

d. A plan showing the existing and proposed utilities, services and their respective service covers.

e. Topographic survey and proposed levels.

f. Horizontal and vertical alignments along with long and cross sections.

g. Street lighting layout with lighting levels.

h. A plan showing surface materials.

i. Standard Highway Construction details. Please also refer to the Brent Place Making Guide for preferred surface material details.

Once the proposal is agreed, a formal AIP (approval in principle) will be issued. All plans should be scaled at 1:200 on A1 paper. Plans shall be submitted electronically.

2. Following the technical approval, the developer is required to submit detailed costs of the highway works. From this the following fees, deposits and charges will be calculated.

a. Bond – A bond or surety for the total value of the highway work.

b. Highway deposit – 10% of the total value of the highway work, minimum £5000.

c. Technical approval and supervision fees – 9% of the total value of the highway work, minimum £2500.

d. Traffic Management Order – Minimum £4500, will vary with the complexity of the scheme.

Following the detailed cost submission, the engineer will advise the fees associated with the Section 38 legal agreement.

3. The fees, lawyers details and details of the parties to the legal agreement are required in advance of an instruction being given to the council’s legal team to draw up the draft legal agreement.

For further information on street adoption process, please contact us on 020 8937 5277 or email

Public Rights of Way (PROW)

The London Borough of Brent has approximately 16 km of public rights of way. A public right of way is a class of public highway and may be used by members of the public at any time to pass and re-pass. Historically, the primary function of public rights of way has been as access routes for people within their local community, but nowadays they are primarily used for recreational purposes.

Read the Public Right of Way statement.

In England there is a total of 188,000 km of public rights of way comprising of:

(a) Footpaths - over which the right of way is on foot only

(b) Bridleways – for pedestrians, horse riders and cyclists

(c) Byways open to all traffic (BOATs) – carriageways over which the right of way is on foot, on horseback and for vehicular traffic, but which are mainly used as footpaths and bridleways

(d) Restricted byways which will carry rights for all types of traffic except motorised vehicles

(e) Cycle tracks

In Brent, all the public rights of way are footpaths and one is both a footpath and cycle path. The majority are either adopted as public highway or fall within Brent’s freehold interest as parkland.

The main responsibility for public rights of way falls on local authorities. Local authorities have a wide range of important statutory duties to protect and maintain public rights of way, including ensuring that:

  • The public rights of way network is open and accessible to the public at all times
  • The surfaces of rights and way are maintained to a standard that is appropriate for the type of user i.e. footpaths must be suitable for walkers
  • Public rights of way are correctly signed and way-marked to ensure that members of the public have a clear idea of the routes that are available to them
  • The rights of the public to use and enjoy rights of way are protected
  • The definitive map and statement, the legal record of public rights of way in Brent, is kept under constant review

To view the definitive map, please use the interactive map below: 

*At present the school Public Rights of Way (PROW) map is only available to view in an Internet Explorer browser. We are working to resolved this issue and apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Highways Search

If you require a map showing the extent of the highway boundary then please submit a highway search request. A standard charge of £85 will be applied.

Submit a Highway search request 

Please contact us on 020 8937 5123 or email for more information about road adoption.