About laneways and reserves
Glen Eira has many rights of way that may back on to or abut private properties. Generally, these are known as laneways. Many originate from the old night cart lanes used early last century.
A property may have a rear or abutting section of unused green space (a reserve).
Who owns these laneways?
Many of the old laneways are in the name of the original subdivider of the land. The owners often date back to the early 20th century when the original subdivisions were created in Glen Eira. When the land was divided up, many of the titles for the laneways stayed in the original subdivider’s name, who in many cases may have passed away.
Many of the laneways still remain in the parent title for the subdivision, some are privately owned and others are Crown land.
Laneways that are fully constructed and used by the public are included on the Councils road register. If a laneway is not on Council’s Road Register (PDF), abutting property owners are responsible for their maintenance.
Who owns these reserves?
Green space abutting a private property may be derived from original laneways that were grassed over time, drainage reserves (set aside to provide drainage assets), hiatus land (green space caught between two properties that no one legally owns) or they may have been fenced in to a private property but the resident does not have title to this land, meaning they don’t legally own it.
What happens to these unowned laneways and reserves?
If a laneway or reserve is not used for access by multiple households or required for some other purpose, we may permanently close the laneway. Once it is closed, we can sell all or part of the land (laneway or reserve) to abutting owners.
We can start this process ourselves or at the request of a property owner abutting the laneway or reserve.
We handle the closure and sale in accordance with our Road and reserves discontinuation and sale policy (PDF).
How do I apply to close and buy a laneway or reserve?
If you would like to close and buy a laneway or reserve next to your property, you need to work out how it is used.
We are unlikely to close and sell laneways used for public access by cars, cyclists or pedestrians If it’s not used for public access, you can apply to close and buy part or all the land adjoining your property.
We recommend you consult with your neighbouring property owners before applying. This will ensure they aren’t surprised when we start our referral processes. It will also help you understand if there is any strong opposition from neighbours.
You can apply to close and buy a laneway or reserve by completing this Application to discontinue and purchase a road, right of way or drainage reserve (PDF). An application fee may apply.
What happens after I apply to close or buy a laneway or reserve?
When we receive your application, Council may inspect the laneway or reserve. We’ll refer your request to relevant Council Officers and statutory authorities, such as South East Water and various utility companies. This allows them to determine if they have any assets in the laneway or reserve and if they agree with the proposal.
Consultation with neighbouring property owners
If there is no opposition from Council Officers and statutory authorities, we then consult with neighbouring property owners to get their views on the matter. We usually do this by sending a letter to owners and occupiers.
Report to Council
If there is general agreement from neighbouring property owners, a report is presented at a Council meeting. Council is asked to start the formal and statutory procedures.
If Council consents to the closure and sale, we may advertise the submission on our website and in newspapers. Anyone, including property owners next to the laneway or reserve, can make a formal submission to Council.
We then consider all submissions and make a final decision to either close and sell the laneway or reserve or leave it as is.
Sale of the laneway or reserve
If Council decides to permanently close a laneway or sell off a reserve, the process to sell the laneway or reserve begins.
Discontinued laneways and reserves are usually offered for sale in equal proportions to those properties next to the subject land.
If a property owner does not want to take up Council's offer to acquire an allotment, then that portion is offered to the other adjoining property owner until agreement is reached.
If, however, the subject land can be proved to have been fenced within a current property for over 12 years, then the land or allotment will only be offered to that occupying owner.
The purchase cost includes the current market value of the land, which is determined by an independent valuer, administrative costs and conveyancing costs. The sale of land attracts GST, which is payable in addition to the purchase price.
The process to close and buy a laneway or reserve takes approximately 9–12 months, depending on the complexity of the matter.
To close a laneway temporarily, such as for an event or building works, visit our Street party, festivals and procession road closure permit page.
Council currently has a program to convert unmade rights of way (a laneway not made of bluestone, asphalt or concrete) that are generally used by the public into constructed rights of way. The timing of these works is subject to Council's allocation of funding. Please contact us for more information.