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Swifty oh no
30-11-2006, 02:44 PM
Good day all.

I have not been on here before and was directed to this site by a someone on another site I visit on a regular basis who suggested somebody on here might be able to offer some clarity.

To keep it as brief as possible.

I have a couple of cars which both have SORN declarations in force and are parked on a strip of land that runs between the road I live in and another road which runs parallel to my road.

My local council confirmed to me via letter that the land is private land but that they could not confirm who owns the land. The Land Registry has confirmed that the land is not registered with them. The local authority do not in any way maintain the land.

I was telephoned by a sergeant from the local police station a week or so back and was told that even though the land in question is private land and is not regarded as " a public road" it is land to which the public have access so the cars must be insured if I wish to keep them there. They confirmed the cars could stay there with SORN’s in force and do not have to be MOT’d just insured. So I insured the vehicles as instructed. The insurance company has informed me that the lack of MOT’s does not invalidate their insurance.

A few days later I received letters from DVLA saying that they had received offence reports stating that the vehicles have been kept or used on a "public road" on a specific date when SORN declarations were in force, please complete the forms attached and return etc etc.

Completed and returned the forms as requested and explained the situation fully in the statement forms including the bit about the call from the police and provided copies of letters from the council, Land registry etc and also requested copies of the offence reports.

The offence reports supplied to me (submitted to DVLA by the local police) noted that the vehicles were seen stationary on the land between the two roads on the date in question.

The allegation by the DVLA in their letters was that the vehicles were reported as being used or kept in the road that I live in. Which is at odds with the offence reports.

Having checked the rear of form V11 it states, “You must either license your vehicle or confirm that the vehicle is kept off the public road (make a SORN)”. The form then goes on to clarify that “Garages, driveways and private land may be considered to be off road areas.


A SORN declaration was in force for the vehicles at the time of the alleged offence.

The vehicles were not being used/kept on a public road as the letters from the DVLA allege but were parked on land running between the two roads which is confirmed by the offence notice submitted to the DVLA by the police.

The land between the two roads where the vehicles were parked has been confirmed as private land by my local council and as such by the definition on the rear of form V11, “off road”.

It seems to me that the original offence reports may have been issued incorrectly which was then compounded by the DVLA getting the facts wrong on the letters alleging the offences.

Having spoken to the sergeant again he has asked that I ask to DVLA to contcat him dircetly and he will sort it with them whcih seems very reasonable.

However, the DVLA at this points still seem intent on coimng after me.

I am as you cam imagine quite confused regarding the allegation given all of the above.

Any comments would be appreciated.

Bambi
30-11-2006, 05:37 PM
wow :eek:
well welcome to the site. :)
I am sure someone with knowledge will be along shortly to help.

oldcodger
30-11-2006, 09:14 PM
SORN is only available if the vehicle is not being used or kept on the public road.

The DVLA use the term public road, most law refers to a public place.

The definition of public place is "any highway, premises or place to which the public has access at the relevant time whether on payment or otherwise".

I suspect (but don't know for sure) that keeping your car where it is would be considered to be a public road.

Given that the DVLA can probably afford better lawyers than you it would be better to sort it out one way or the other without going to court.

queenjane
30-11-2006, 09:23 PM
The definition of public place is "any highway, premises or place to which the public has access at the relevant time whether on payment or otherwise".


does that mean 'by invitation?'

since, for example, members of the public could quite easily have access to my rear garden, where most of my SORN's are stored.......particularly my neighbours, as there is no physical 'barrier' to prevent intrusion.....

as an example, if one happens to park one's classic car on one's 'private' land, over which there may exist a 'public right-of-way'??

exactly how does the law define an area 'to which the public have access?'

oldcodger
30-11-2006, 09:37 PM
exactly how does the law define an area 'to which the public have access?'On a case by case basis according to individual circumstances.

This is not a guarantee but I would imagine that a garden (presumably with some kind of boundary markers) would be considered a private place even though posties, friends, neighbours etc all use it without prior permission.

MilitantGraham
30-11-2006, 11:48 PM
[quote=oldcodger]SORN is only available if the vehicle is not being used or kept on the public road.

The DVLA use the term public road, most law refers to a public place.

The definition of public place is "any highway, premises or place to which the public has access at the relevant time whether on payment or otherwise".
quote]

So how does that work with all the cars and bikes that get trailered to vintage rallies just to park in a field and do a parade round the ring without ever going on a "public road" in the normal sense ?

Should Michael Schumacher have a SORN on his Ferrari so that he can drive it from the transporter in the public access area of the paddock to the track.

alanpartridge
30-11-2006, 11:57 PM
I thought that you werent allowed to keep it on a road that was maintained by the council or government, and you can do what you like on private land or a place that wasnt maintained by tax payers.

Or have the thieves changed that now as well?

Swifty oh no
01-12-2006, 12:18 AM
Thanks for the replies.


The DVLA use the term public road, most law refers to a public place.

The definition of public place is "any highway, premises or place to which the public has access at the relevant time whether on payment or otherwise".



I appreciate that but the allegation by the DVLA is quite clear in that their letter to me states that vehicles were "being used/kept on a public road" not on a "public place". Their words not mine.

The V11 form as well as the letters from the DVLA refers to the vehicle being kept on a "public road" and not "public place".

The wording on form V11 is quite clear “Garages, driveways and private land may be considered to be off road areas." there is no further clarification added to include a "public place" .


How does the definition of a "public place" differ from the definition of a "public road"?

From what has been said they would appear to be different.

My understanding previously and from what I was told by the police when the called me was that to be defined as a public road the land/track/lane whatever must be maintained at the expense of the local authority.

snowman
01-12-2006, 12:21 AM
Is there not a distinction between "public road" for DVLA purposes and "roads to which the public have access" for other RT offences?

ie you would need your car to be insured to be in Sainsbury's car park, but it need not be taxed? If road fund licence is to maintain the public highway, then you should only pay if you are using it. Do RT offences not apply to a wider definition of "road" for public safety reasons?

Churchie Boy
01-12-2006, 12:32 AM
Swifty, you've got a good one here. I believe I can imagine this scenario and as with the others I am a little stumped on how to advise you. Is it or isn't it ................let's turn this grey area into a nice green one!!!!

The definition of a road is a highway or any other road to which the public have access including bridges over which the road passes. Doesn't answer a thing eh?

Swifty oh no
01-12-2006, 12:33 AM
ie you would need your car to be insured to be in Sainsbury's car park, but it need not be taxed?

Thta is very close to the way the police explained it to me when they asked me to insure the vehicles but assured me they could be SORN'd and did not need an MOT on this land.

Swifty oh no
01-12-2006, 12:37 AM
Is this green paradise you are promising me Churchie Boy, a green public place or just a simple green road ?

7db
01-12-2006, 11:27 AM
...would be considered a private place even though posties, friends, neighbours etc all use it without prior permission.

Isn't there a presumptive permission of some sort for access over your land to your door etc, which can be revoked by signage, but it otherwise not trespass...

or something.

oldcodger
01-12-2006, 11:33 AM
How does the definition of a "public place" differ from the definition of a "public road"? Its not possible to frame a law that takes every possible situation into account so the law gives broad guidance and courts decide each case on its individual circumstances.

Swifty oh no
01-12-2006, 12:12 PM
Its not possible to frame a law that takes every possible situation into account so the law gives broad guidance and courts decide each case on its individual circumstances.

I do appreciate that Mr Codger and that seems sensible. Far too many laws already in my opinion.

So in law then as it is written, what i think you are saying is that a "Public place" is exactly the same as a "Public road", unless a court on an individual basis decides otherwise?

Masked Marauder
01-12-2006, 12:46 PM
But the law is pedantic. If the SORN declaration says a public road and the DVLA consider that to be a road (or any verge or pavement thereof) maintained by the Highways Agency or the local authority then he has done nothing wrong.

I know someone who lives on a private road but there is nothing to stop the public entering it. The road is maintained by subscription by those who live on it. Why should you need to tax a car that is kept on it?

jimzzr
01-12-2006, 03:37 PM
Given that the ownership of the land is unclear, suppose the OP was to erect a small fence around his car with a keep out sign and padlock. Surely then it wouldn't need tax or insurance (until the owner of the land was traced and told him not to do it). I'm guessing that the only thing he could be accused of is any damage done errecting the fence? If so would there need to be a distance between the fence and car and how sturdy would the fence need to be?

queenjane
01-12-2006, 07:07 PM
plus.....if such a fenced-off area were in place for...is it 20 years..????....then that piece of land comes under the ownership of swifty?

queenjane
01-12-2006, 07:11 PM
So how does that work with all the cars and bikes that get trailered to vintage rallies just to park in a field and do a parade round the ring without ever going on a "public road" in the normal sense ?

Should Michael Schumacher have a SORN on his Ferrari so that he can drive it from the transporter in the public access area of the paddock to the track.__________________


this issue reared its ugly head when the public access thing first hit the road.....in other words, how would motorsporting events, etc be affected...the outcome was an ''exemption'' for organised events such as have been described.

for example, on one's entry forms for motorsporting events, usually various DoE or whatever they're called now.....waivers are listed.....

queenjane
01-12-2006, 07:15 PM
taken one step further....an unlicensed, or even un registered 'vehicle' carried on a trailer could concievably be deemed as being 'on a public road'........????

I wonder if a suitably-worded letter to the DVLA outlining the can of worms that may be opened in this instance might not be successful?

Or just let them take one to court?

Courts are apparently full of reasonable people who come to reasonable decisions............?

bvgc77
01-12-2006, 07:54 PM
the outcome was an ''exemption'' for organised events such as have been described.


Could you organise a "How long can I leave my car on a patch of land" event?

Swifty oh no
01-12-2006, 08:27 PM
Could you organise a "How long can I leave my car on a patch of land" event?


I'm gonna sell programmes and set up a hot dog stall.

oldcodger
01-12-2006, 09:19 PM
Courts are apparently full of reasonable people who come to reasonable decisions............?I find after a trial that one of the parties involved would agree 100% with that statement.

The other party usually takes a rather different view.



I remember one case when a defendant put forward a very eloquent case for being allowed to take a driver improvement course instead of points. It was explained very carefully to him that courts have no power to order such a course, only camera partnership staff may do that. So he got the points.

He posted on another motoring site that the court clearly had no interest in road safety as they had refused to grant him the course - conveniently omitting the fact that the court had no power to do so.
He, and those who responded to his post clearly felt the court had been most unreasonable.

queenjane
02-12-2006, 06:24 PM
wasn't a journalist, by any chance?

and the other respondents perhaps 'Sun' readers?


sadly, many other motoring sites are full of such misinformation feeding the misinformed?

we even see it on here?

(witness the number of 'complants' about not being 'allowed' to exceed the speed limit?)

jimzzr
05-12-2006, 12:18 PM
taken one step further....an unlicensed, or even un registered 'vehicle' carried on a trailer could concievably be deemed as being 'on a public road'........????

I wonder if a suitably-worded letter to the DVLA outlining the can of worms that may be opened in this instance might not be successful?

Or just let them take one to court?

Courts are apparently full of reasonable people who come to reasonable decisions............?

Conversely, could you legally keep an unlicensed, untaxed&uninsured vehicle on a trailer on the public highway indefinitely?

queenjane
05-12-2006, 09:42 PM
axle stands?

Masked Marauder
06-12-2006, 10:57 AM
Conversely, could you legally keep an unlicensed, untaxed&uninsured vehicle on a trailer on the public highway indefinitely?

Not the same thing, but there is a portacabin on a trailer in a layby at Sandy on the A1 that has been converted to a Cafe. Apparently as it is on a trailer there is nothing that can be done to make them move it.

Masked Marauder
06-12-2006, 10:59 AM
axle stands?

There used to be an old bus on axle stands in a layby at Kings Lynn, it had the wheels off and had been converted to a roadside cafe. It was there for years.

queenjane
06-12-2006, 09:34 PM
what about all those advertising hoardings on wheeled things...to escape planning laws????

Swifty oh no
06-12-2006, 09:48 PM
Been away working in Prague for a few days and when I got back this evening I had a letter from the DVLA regarding one of the vehicles, informing me that the relevant local authority have confirmed that the location at which the vehicle was parked is not maintained at public expense and consequently confirms that no further action will be taken regarding this report.

:D :D

Just got to wait to hear about the other vehicle now. Be interesting to see if i get a different response.

:azz: :azz:

Thanks for your input everybody.

:wavey: :wavey:

eddieace
06-12-2006, 09:52 PM
plus.....if such a fenced-off area were in place for...is it 20 years..????....then that piece of land comes under the ownership of swifty?

12 years, was a squater down london that was living in a house about a year or so back in the papers, he had proof he had maintained the property for 12 years and claimed it, was worth 1/4 mil i think.


glad its worked out swifty, but i see where you are coming from if they say the other one isn't allowed lol

KrisP
06-12-2006, 10:12 PM
But the law is pedantic. If the SORN declaration says a public road and the DVLA consider that to be a road (or any verge or pavement thereof) maintained by the Highways Agency or the local authority then he has done nothing wrong.

I know someone who lives on a private road but there is nothing to stop the public entering it. The road is maintained by subscription by those who live on it. Why should you need to tax a car that is kept on it?

Even though it's a private road, in terms of it's maintenance, I think the Road Traffic Act is still applicable. Private roads have really strange laws surrounding them - signage for example and exclusion of members of the public for at least one day in the year.