Unformed Legal Roads and Road Stopping

Commonly called paper roads, this page contains information about unformed legal roads and how to apply to have the road stopped.

If you have any have any questions, please contact the Council's Property Team.

What is an Unformed Legal Road?      

An unformed legal road, or road reserve (commonly called a paper road), is land that is legally held as road but is not currently a formed carriageway.

What is a Road Stopping?      

The sale of unformed legal road for private use is a formal legal process whereby the road is ‘stopped’ taking away its legal status as ‘road’, and then changed into freehold (fee simple) land, enabling the land to be sold.

Who can Apply for a Road Stopping?      

Tasman District Council will consider applications for a road stopping from owners whose land adjoins unformed legal road, or where an encroachment has occurred, provided that suitable alternative land is available for road. (Adjoining owners’ means owners of properties that are immediately next to the land in question.)


The Council may sell unformed legal road to an adjoining property owner when it determines the land will not be required for utilities, roads or footpaths in the future. A main requirement will be that the adjoining landowner must amalgamate the portion of stopped road with the landowners existing title. No additional titles will be issued for a portion of stopped road.

How to Apply for a Road Stopping      

As a first step, an initial conversation with a member of the Property Team is welcome as they can advise you of specific requirements for your application and provide any general information you may need. This approach can be an informal meeting at the Council offices, or information sent by email, or a telephone enquiry.

Formal applications for a Road Stopping should be made to the Manager Property Services, Tasman District Council.

The application should include sufficient information to enable Council to identify the land in question and ascertain your reasons for the request. Examples of information required:

  • A completed Tasman District Council ‘Application for Stopping of Unformed Legal Road’ form (available below);
  • An aerial photo or plan clearly showing the area you want to be stopped. See Top of the South Maps;
  • Current photographs of the proposed road stopping area;
  • A current Certificate of Title for your adjoining property;
  • Information on why you want the road closed.

Guide and Application Form      

Below is a guide for applicants and an application form.

Walking Access      

The New Zealand Walking Access Commission is the Crown entity that works to enhance walking access to the outdoors for New Zealanders and overseas visitors. A variety of fact sheets, maps and other practical resources are available on their website.

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