What is a municipal road
The Local Government Act 1989 defines a road as including:
- a street
- a right of way
- any land reserved or proclaimed as a street or road under the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978 or the Land Act 1958
- a public road under the Road Management Act 2004
- a passage
- a cul de sac
- a by-pass
- a bridge or ford
- a footpath, bicycle path or nature strip
- any culvert or kerbing or other land or works forming part of the road.
When is a lane a public road
Lanes in the City of Port Phillip become roads through one or all of the following methods:
- declared a road at any time in the past by Government Gazette or under s204 of the Local Government act 1989
- dedicated as a road on title
- by the common law doctrine of long user whereby the lane is open to the public and they can use it 'without force'.
The older suburbs of Port Melbourne and St Kilda have many lanes that were established before government gazettes and Council declarations were required. They are 'roads' under the Common Law. Most have been redeclared by the Council with the implementation of the Road Management Act 2004.
Council keeps a Register of Public Roads as required by s17 of the Road Management Act 2004.
Who owns the lanes that are roads
Under the Road Management Act 2004 and the Local Government Act 1989 all roads that are deemed municipal roads 'vest' in Council in fee simple on discontinuance of the 'road'. In other words, Council owns them on behalf of the community. This means that, although the title might be in the name of someone else, where that title overlaps with the road the title is effectively extinguished and it is no longer private land.
We keep a register of all the roads in the municipality so you can check if a lane is a Council asset.
Once a road has become a road it cannot be adversely possessed. It can only be discontinued as a road through the processes outlined in the Local Government Act 1989 or the Road Management Act 2004.
What can I do with the lane near me
- view the Activating Laneways Policy to see what options are available and the processes involved
- apply to discontinue all or part of the laneway and purchase it. Please see the Discontinuance and Sale of Roads Policy which you'll find in the Public Road Register section
We are currently preparing guidelines for future licensed gardens in street verges and lanes and they will be published here when they are available.
Checking if a lane is a municipal road
Council has a Road Register you can check.
Step 1. Go to the Near Me Map and type in your address.
Step 2. Zoom in and you will see the lane you are looking for on the map with an ROW number, for example R1234.
Step 3. Go to the Register of Lanes with Discontinuances which you'll find in the Public Road Register section and search for the corresponding ROW number. If you can't find the number there, scroll to the end to check if it has been discontinued.
Step 4. Even if you can find the lane listed, it is worth checking that it has not had a part discontinued previously.
If you have any questions, please email email@example.com
Apply to discontinue a road or part of a road
To apply to discontinue a road or part of a road, please follow these steps:
Step 1. Identify the road on our Road Register (PDF 576 KB).
Step 2. Read the Discontinuance and Sale of Roads Policy which you'll find in the Public Road Register section.
Step 3. Compile and submit an application.
Your application to discontinue a road, must be a written request emailed to the City of Port Phillip Property team with the following details:
- a copy of a plan clearly showing the extents of the road proposed to be discontinued
- photos of the subject land and abutting buildings, fencing and any other details
- full, legible and current copies of titles and deeds from Land Use Victoria or the Registrar General's Office. These titles and deeds are required for all lands abutting the road and of the road itself, including any other land which may have a benefit to the road.
- evidence of support from affected property owners. This includes a letter of acceptance, petition, signed survey, statutory declaration and any other relevant documentation.
Step 4. Email your application to firstname.lastname@example.org
Once the relevant documentation has been received, Council officers will assess the information provided. If appropriate, they will carry out further investigations to determine if the road discontinuance and sale is suitable. If your request is assessed as appropriate, it will be sent to our lawyers for processing.
Next, the application will be considered at a Council meeting. If Council decides the road is no longer needed for general public use, they will make a Council resolution to discontinue it.
Cost and fees
If you are wondering what the cost of the purchase might be, we suggest you look at your Rates Notice. You can divide the unimproved value by the square metres of your land to gain a per square metre rate. You can then multiply this value by the number of square metres you are proposing to discontinue.
This process will also involve application, administration costs and conveyancing costs fees. This includes the consolidation of the road area Discontinued into your title.