Plans for a 57-home development in St Helens have fallen through because its access road is ‘not a road.’

It was proposed the development at Guildford Park, a greenfield site which used to be a campsite, would be accessed via Guildford Road.

However, the owner of the road is unknown, and Island Roads decided it was not actually a road at all.

The decision – revealed at yesterday’s Isle of Wight Council planning committee meeting – means a traffic regulation order cannot be authorised to paint double yellow lines.

Without double yellow lines, planning permission cannot be granted because the road is too narrow.

Planning consultant Phil Salmon said it was ‘unacceptable’ the issue was raised at such a late stage, nine months after the initial submission, and ‘without any tangible evidence.’

Although the road lies on unregistered land, residents of Guildford Road claim to own it. Victoria Bailey, who spoke at the meeting on behalf of the residents, said the road was not a thoroughfare.

She said the owners of the properties would be considered, in a court of law, to each be the owners up to the line of the road, and that they wished to continue to park outside their houses in a private cul-de-sac.

She said:

“My late mother always said she owned up to the middle of the road and that had been the view of her grandparents, who had also lived on the road.”

There were 106 letters of objection to the development, with other concerns ranging from traffic and parking to noise and drainage.

There were 46 letters of support.

Mr Salmon said:

“We are at a stage where design, layout and environmental impacts are essentially agreed. The archaeology is easy to overcome, albeit we feel the latest request is onerous.

He requested planning permission be granted with the condition that the highways matter is resolved before building work starts — but planning officers said that was not possible because there was no prospect of the condition being met.

They said the decision to not classify Guildford Road as a road was made by the highways authority and therefore out of their hands.

Ben Gard, principle lawyer at Isle of Wight Council, said:

“The opinion you have received to the planning authority by the highways authority is that this is not a road for the purposes of the road traffic regulation act.

“It clearly has the name Guildford Road, but it’s not a road for the purposes of that act.”

The application was refused by four votes to zero, with one abstention.

By David Anderson, Local Democracy Reporter