Buildings oversailing a public highway: licence for construction and alterations

Authors: Ben Elkington, Associate, Real Estate and Martyn Jarvis, Associate, Planning, London

In this post, we consider the requirement to obtain a licence under section 177 of the Highways Act 1980 for construction of, and alterations to, a building which oversails a public highway.

1. Construction of a building oversailing a public highway

Section 177 prohibits the construction of a building over any part of a highway maintainable at the public expense without a licence from the relevant highway authority (a section 177 licence), except in the exercise of statutory powers. Our experience is that this is fairly widely known in the property industry and investors looking to acquire a property comprising a building which overhangs a public highway are conscious of checking whether the relevant licence has been obtained.

Consequences of failure to obtain a section 177 licence for construction:

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