West Berkshire Council

Changes or Additions to a Highway

The design and construction of alterations or additions to an existing highway

Highway Changes

If a development means work has to be carried out on an existing highway, an agreement under Section 278 of the Highways Act 1980 must be made with us (once planning permission has been obtained).

The developer is responsible for all parts of the works that are included in their design. They must supervise construction and make sure that the works are fully and finally completed to the council's satisfaction. The highway works should be designed by renowned chartered consulting engineers with experience in designing highway works.

During construction the developer and their contractor are responsible for the day-to-day supervision of the works. West Berkshire Council Highways Development Control will only inspect the works to check that they are being constructed in accordance with the approved drawings and any requirements.

The developer must give the highway representatives access to the works at all times.

Highway Additions

Any new roads and associated infrastructure that serve more than five houses should be adopted as public highways under Section 38 of the Highways Act 1980.

The council considers that a road which has more than five houses on it, should be designed and built to an adoptable standard. This is to provide the owners of the houses with a maintainable road and access for waste collection.

Development Planning Permission

Before entering into a Section 38 or Section 278 Agreement, you must get full planning permission for the development. This must include approval of any reserved matters relating to the highway works.

Section 278 agreements are often used together with an agreement under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. This type of agreement is used to regulate developments where using planning conditions would not be appropriate. The agreement is made between the planning authority, the highway authority (where highway works are needed), the landowner or the developer.

Section 106 agreements can cover a number of matters, including; securing off-site highway works, landscaping, phasing the development and paying sums of money.

Completion Certificates

A provisional certificate of completion will be issued once:

  • the developer has substantially completed the highway works to the council's satisfaction
  • all street lighting is to the council's satisfaction
  • any planted landscaping areas, grassed areas, trees and shrubs that are to be adopted have been fully planted
  • the works (including any existing and new planted landscaping) have been inspected by the council and the developer with no significant problems being identified, or where problems have been found, an agreement to correct them has been put in place
  • the Stage 3 safety audit has been completed and all changes that are required have been made
  • six copies of the plan showing the "As built" works and any areas of land that are to be dedicated as highway have been supplied in digital format and hard copies where necessary

When a provisional certificate is issued the amount of bond may be reduced, usually to 10 per cent of the original amount. The developer will then be responsible for maintaining the highway works for a minimum period, usually twelve months. This allows any problems with the works to become apparent after they have been brought into public use.

A final certificate of completion is issued when the following actions have taken place:

  • a joint inspection of the highway works (including any landscape planting, trees, grassed areas) has been undertaken between the developer and the council. A list of any outstanding corrective works required will be issued and these must be completed
  • the highway works have been maintained to the councils satisfaction during the maintenance period
  • all commuted sums that are required have been paid
  • the health and safety file, on Compact Disc, that has been produced in line with the Construction Design Management (CDM) Regulations 2015, has been issued
  • the land dedication plan has been agreed
  • public sewers have been adopted by Thames Water for new roads

On issuing the final certificate the improvement works constructed by the developer are adopted by West Berkshire Council and any bond retained is returned.


We will make a charge for the work involved in:

  • preparing and managing the Section 38 and/or Section 278 agreement
  • checking the design of the highway works, any associated structures and any highway drainage
  • inspecting the works on site

The charge for the above work is normally a fixed percentage - currently 10 per cent. It is based on the total estimated cost of the highways works, as agreed between the developer and ourselves. There is also a minimum charge of £250 for each agreement.

Commuted sums are payable on the following "extras", which are beyond our standard details and specifications:

  • additional areas exceeding the usual highway design standards which are not required for the safe functioning of the highway
  • materials outside our usual specifications
  • unusual or additional street furniture
  • any new landscaping within the highway, including trees
  • sustainable drainage systems (SUDS), flow-attenuation devices, swales and storage areas

This is not an exhaustive list and during the design process further items requiring a commuted sum may be identified.

Please note: we have for some years been forward thinking in the provision of SUDS for developments to reduce the potential for flooding by allowing surface water to return to the ground.

Who To Contact

West Berkshire Council's Principal Development Control Engineer, for queries about Highways Development Control

01635 519207