Warning over sale of roads and 'greens' in and around Horsham

A warning has been spelled out by West Sussex County Council over the sale of roads and strips of land in Horsham.

Concerns have been growing among Horsham residents after small plots of land – and roads – were put up for sale in an online auction.

Some fear that it could mean a number of local ‘greens’ and roads around them facing development.

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The plots are being marketed by Auction House London, and are being described as having “potential for a variety of uses (subject to obtaining all relevant consents).”

Roads and strips of green land in Southwater, marked in red, that are being put up for sale by auction

Among the plots are roads and greens in Southwater – up for sale with a price guide of £2,000 – and others off Lambs Farm Road in Horsham with a guide price of £5,000.

But West Sussex County Council says anyone who buys roadway land will not be able to carry out any development without the council’s permission.

A council spokesperson said: “We are aware of a number of parcels of land which have recently been advertised for sale online, but which also lie within the highway maintained by West Sussex County Council at the public expense.

“The county council, as the Highway Authority, has a duty to assert and protect the rights of the public to the use and enjoyment of the highway.

"If the subsoil of the land falls within the highway, although the underlying freehold of the land can be sold, any purchaser of this land who wishes to carry out development of any kind will need to contact and obtain permission from the county council before undertaking such works.

“We are aware that some of this land being sold is outside of the highway, and in these cases we would have no say over what happens to these pieces of land.

“Understandably, we cannot keep abreast of every online sale but as soon as we are made aware, usually by local residents, our Legal Services Team proceed to contact the auctioneers to advise on the highway status of the land.

"If residents would like to discuss the situation further or report further potential sales, the Land and Property Information Team can be contacted either by email [email protected] or by telephone 01243 777100.”