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can a parish council buy machinery and tools to do work on private owned land?

0 votes
asked by (120 points)

3 Answers

0 votes
In 2 parts,

Yes a Parish Council can buy any equipment necessary to fulfil a legal duty, contract or obligation.

The next part, is what is the contract / duty / relationship to the private land? If there any type of relationship, e.g. a grant of access or lease with requirement to maintain the land, then yes it is perfectly legal.

But they can't just mow Mrs Smith's lawn because they want to, unless ... they employe a mowerman to do the verges and to help raise revenue they have a trading business that the mowerman goes and cuts people's lawn for revenue. (An unlikely, but perfectly legal scenario).
answered by (6.6k points)
0 votes
Your question needs to be more specific as to the context of the private land. Right now the question back to you would be; Why does the Council need to do work on land that is privately owned?!

Are you asking this because something is unsightly and you either can’t reach the owner or they’re unresponsive/being difficult?

If you buy equipment then you need to check with your insurers that you are covered to use it. You need to ensure that the equipment is properly maintained and serviced and is used by suitably qualified people.

Do NOT assume that because lots of people mow or strim their lawns that anyway can just simply use what you have brought. You need a risk assessment that any potential user has read and signed. You also need to ensure suitable PPE is acquired for each operator (NOT shares in the current Covid world).
You also need to speak with your solicitor in regards to liability and potential claims of trespass. If it’s privately owned land with no right of way then you can’t really do anything.

That said I maybe taking your question out of context so if you explain a little more perhaps we can provide more direct advice.
answered by (3.6k points)
0 votes
This may very well be related to access to public rights of way (PRW) over which councils had an obligation of management. Lengthsman's schemes were financed via grants to ensure maintenance of these routes. This was because some landowners who had an obligation to keep and not impede these rights of way were not meeting those obligations and allowing them to become overgrown (some purposely to stop people using the paths over their land). So a council lenthsman who is contracted to the council would normally go out with their own equipment or that supplied by the council to carry out necessary work to maintain access.The lengthsman as a contractor should be required to have insurance as would the council employing them along with a specification as to what works they could and could not carry out. As stated a very difficult exercise especially with a "hostile" landowner who objects to the right of way on their land. Diplomacy and good relations to the fore!
answered by (1.9k points)
This is not something we would do as a Parish Council.  Our County Council manages public rights of way.  The council shouldn't provide the equipment, as a contractor becomes an employee if they use equipment provided by the council, so would be entitled to full employee benefits.

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