The first edition of Private Roads: The Legal Framework was published in 1993. Spiral bound, and running to a little over 100 pages, it sought to explain, as clearly as possible, the law governing private roads in England and Wales – a complicated and confusing mixture of property law, highway law, and elements of private and public law, which can constitute a major challenge for residents’ associations and companies.
The book was well received, and it became obvious that there was a real demand for information and guidance in this area. Further editions of the book followed in 1997 and 2003 – the law is constantly changing, so that legal texts need to be updated, and comments and feedback from users of the book helped us to see where more or better explanation was needed.
By 2003 it had become clear that what was needed was not merely a book, but an organisation which could offer support to residents’ associations and management companies. A proper insurance scheme for private roads was a particular need, and we devoted a great deal of time and effort to setting one up – the first of its kind, we believe.
Private Roads Services was initially a partnership; but since January 2005, when all insurance brokers became subject to authorisation and regulation by the Financial Services Authority (now the Financial Conduct Authority) in pursuance of EU legislation, we have been a limited company, Private Roads Services Ltd.
In publishing the fourth edition of our book, in 2007, we split off the guidance which had previously been annexed to each chapter. The fifth edition, published in 2013, followed the same pattern. The book (which is used not just by residents’ associations, but by lawyers, surveyors and other professionals, as well as property companies and central and local government staff) thus confines itself to summarising the law, while the practical guidance which residents’ associations need is to be found in an online text, Managing Private Roads and Estates (“MPRE” for short).
Today PRS provides support and assistance to hundreds of private roads and estates in England and Wales. We act as a source of know-how, information, guidance and advice.
1 October 2019 marks the start of a new chapter. The steady expansion of our highly-regarded insurance scheme has meant that the scheme needs the resources of a larger broker, and from 1 October 2019 it will be in the skilful hands of Edwards Insurance Brokers, with whom we share this new website. The change will allow PRS to concentrate on the Support side of the business, and we look forward to developing this in the coming months and years.