How can I get council to widen our road?
Our street is too small to drive our motorhome onto the main part of our land. Most of the street was widened some years ago, but not the first part because the neighbours refused to give up any of their property. Now they are deceased and their house and land are unoccupied. What can we do to get the mairie to widen our road? S.N.
One of France’s British-nationality town councillors, Owen Goldring, said that with goodwill from all sides you may succeed, but you need to approach it diplomatically.
He advised researching as much as possible what happened on the previous occasion, at what dates, and write a letter to the mayor setting this out clearly in French, asking the council to finish the job of widening. He suggested not just sending the letter in but making an appointment with the mayor and taking in the letter to explain it face to face.
Tell him or her why it is important to you. It may be possible if you can ‘get the mayor on-board’, especially if there are no buildings on the part of the land causing the problem, Dr Goldring said.
You say the land that caused the problem is now unoccupied but presumably ownership has passed to heirs, so it is also advisable to try to identify and contact them and appeal to their goodwill.
Even assuming the mairie has the will and funds to help, it may still be put off if there is a risk of legal disputes and thus potential extra costs as mairies run on a tight budget.
It may help if you can clearly identify that the council had formerly intended to include that part of the road in the widening. However if the decision was not minuted and/or it was under a previous mairie administration, it may not.
You offering to buy the part of the land causing the problem might be one solution, Dr Goldring said, but not what he would recommend initially. “The best thing is to present data to the mayor, as detailed as possible, and say you believe there’s a precedent and ask them to please help to find a solution.”