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Uplands Way and The Rise residents on Sheppey confused after roads and driveways listed on Rightmove

Homeowners have been left “frightened” and confused after discovering their roads and driveways were put up for sale without prior notice.

Uplands Way and The Rise in Halfway, on Sheppey, have “bizarrely” been listed on Rightmove for £2,500 by an unknown seller.

Gemma Wyatt and Selma Mawhinney, residents of Uplands Way on SheppeyGemma Wyatt and Selma Mawhinney, residents of Uplands Way on Sheppey
Gemma Wyatt and Selma Mawhinney, residents of Uplands Way on Sheppey

It prompted concerns among neighbours that if purchased parking charges and other tolls could be implemented along the streets.

But Kent County Council (KCC) ruled this out and confirmed anyone who purchases the land will “not be able to alter or develop it in any way”.

However, the council’s words haven’t put residents’ minds completely at ease with other questions remaining unanswered.

Gemma Wyatt lives at her property in Uplands Way with her son and husband Dan.

The 44-year-old told KentOnline: “If you buy the mud you can’t do anything with it.

The parts of Uplands Way and The Rise in Halfway, Sheppey, that were listed on Rightmove. Picture: KM Graphics/Google EarthThe parts of Uplands Way and The Rise in Halfway, Sheppey, that were listed on Rightmove. Picture: KM Graphics/Google Earth
The parts of Uplands Way and The Rise in Halfway, Sheppey, that were listed on Rightmove. Picture: KM Graphics/Google Earth

“After speaking with the council and doing some research we all know that nothing really is going to change but it’s the fact my husband’s nan’s driveway is for sale as well as some of our neighbour’s driveways, but no one was told.

“Because residents hadn’t been spoken to when it first went up for sale we had no idea what it meant for us.”

Mrs Wyatt said some of the residents had thought about “clubbing together and buying it” but were unsure where that would leave them in terms of responsibilities for things like water leaks and road maintenance.

The banking operations resilience manager, who has lived in her home since October, feels the whole thing has been “poorly managed”.

She added: “It’s weird and when we try and get answers from the council or the auctioneer we’re told to speak to a solicitor and no one has the money for that.

Part of The Rise on SheppeyPart of The Rise on Sheppey
Part of The Rise on Sheppey

“If you’re going to sell the roads fine but if people’s driveways are on the listing at least let them know.

“We don’t even know who the seller is. It’s bizarre, just very bizarre, it’s a confusing inconvenience.”

The mum-of-one’s home isn’t directly affected by the sale.

However, her neighbour opposite, Selma Mawhinney has part of her driveway marked on the listing.

She said: “My drive, the whole thing that my husband and I have had paved and worked on is on the listing.

Selma Mawhinney, on her driveway on Uplands WaySelma Mawhinney, on her driveway on Uplands Way
Selma Mawhinney, on her driveway on Uplands Way

“We’re planning on doing an extension in the next 18 months and we’re worried that this is going to cause problems for that.”

The 34-year-old mum-of-three has even had a look on her deeds which clearly state the couple own their driveway.

However, there is a slim slither next to the side of the drive, less than a foot in width, which is not.

She believes this is what is on the listing, but it is made to seem much bigger on Rightmove’s ad.

Selma, who’s lived in her property for four years, added: “It is odd how they have worked it out.

Selma Mawhinney's driveway on Uplands Way, SheppeySelma Mawhinney's driveway on Uplands Way, Sheppey
Selma Mawhinney’s driveway on Uplands Way, Sheppey

“We need to know more, the ins and outs of it, but no one has told us anything.

“My husband, Paul, is a roadworks manager and he says he’s never heard of anything like this.

“It’s just very odd how they’ve done it all, it’s so complicated that it’s frightened the people living here.”

KCC has since confirmed although it does not own the land, the roads have been adopted by it as the relevant highways authority.

Queenborough and Halfway Conservative councillor Mike Whiting said after the land was listed for sale it went up for auction last Tuesday, February 6.

The price was lowered to just £500 but again failed to attract any buyers.

The Rightmove advert describes the freehold land as “comprising a variety of open parcels of land, roadways and verges” with a total site area of approximately 60,525 sq ft.

Cllr Whiting added: “It’s really odd that a public road such as this should end up for sale.

“It’s very odd the roads, but also the fact that these are people’s driveways.

“The roads themselves, the verges, and the pavements are an adopted public highway maintained by KCC at the public expense, which means that effectively KCC has control over the surface of the road and the surface of the pavements and the surface of the grass verges.

Part of Uplands Way on SheppeyPart of Uplands Way on Sheppey
Part of Uplands Way on Sheppey

“The land itself is actually in private hands. The land underneath the surface is the bit that’s owned privately. But this is apparently quite common.

“But because of this no one can prevent the public using it without getting what’s called a stopping up order through the courts.

“That’s a very long-winded and very expensive thing to do.

“In my personal view, if I was the judge in that court where the stopping up order was asked for this road, I’d think very long and hard about allowing that to happen, because the roads have no alternative route available and it includes people’s driveways.

“This is why perhaps the lot never sold because it does come with it comes with responsibilities.

Uplands Way on Sheppey was listed for saleUplands Way on Sheppey was listed for sale
Uplands Way on Sheppey was listed for sale

“There’s nothing much you can do with the land at all, it is a public highway and KCC are determined, I think, that it should remain that.”

A KCC spokesperson said: “We are aware that Uplands Way and The Rise are up for auction and we are monitoring the situation.

“This is adopted highway, which means anyone purchasing this land will not be able to alter or develop it in any way.”

Cllr Mike Whiting further theorised that sometimes these types of lots go up for sale years after estates have been built because the roads were never passed over to the council by the developer.

He added: “While that happens the road itself, the public highway element, is adopted by KCC, who maintain the land, although they don’t own it.

Part of Uplands Way that was listed for sale on SheppeyPart of Uplands Way that was listed for sale on Sheppey
Part of Uplands Way that was listed for sale on Sheppey

“Understandably, people whose driveways, for example, were included in the lot should feel very concerned about this but I hope that the news that KCC remains the highway’s authority and remains responsible for the maintenance of this land gives those residents some comfort.”

KCC was contacted for more clarification on whether or not the person purchasing the land would be responsible for things such as waterworks and roadworks but a spokesman declined to comment further.

On the morning of Friday, February 9 the listing was active for £2,500.

That afternoon a notification was on the website saying the listing had been removed by the agent.

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