A 'private street' is a street that is not maintained at public expense. This means that the council, as a highway authority, is under no obligation to carry out repairs to the street, even though it might be a highway which the public has a right to use. However the District Council does have delegated powers to carry out certain repairs on 'private' streets, but the legislation says that the owners of property fronting a private street should be responsible for the cost of repairs.
Existing private streets will not normally be adopted unless they are brought up to the County Council's adoption standard. The street may, for example, be unpaved, without adequate kerbs, footways, surface water sewers, gullies and lighting or any of these features, and its surface will probably be in a bad condition.
Under the provisions of the Private Street Works Code contained in Sections 205 to 218 of the Highways Act 1980, the street works authority, that is the County Council, may resolve to make up the private street to a satisfactory condition by providing any or all of the missing features or by improving the standard of any existing features. When the works have been completed to the satisfaction of the street works authority, the authority may resolve to adopt the street as a highway maintainable at public expense.
The majority of the costs of the private street works will usually be met by the owners of property fronting the street, therefore the street works authority will not normally initiate a private street works scheme unless it is supported by the majority of the affected property owners. Requests for private street works schemes are considered by Lancashire County Council although funding for its share of the costs is currently limited.