Footpath Diversion? Now is the time to start planning.Posted: January 22, 2016
Public paths that run through gardens and farm and working yards often have their origins as routes to work which became recorded as public rights of way in the 1950s. Today these bring new issues for those who live and work in proximity to those paths.
The often cited problems about paths through gardens are not overstated. We frequently advise prospective purchasers to avoid houses where paths pass close to their dream house, and increasingly we are working on projects to divert paths as part of the buying process. Paths that affect the privacy and security of the landowner have a significant impact on the value of property and its sale-ability.
The central problem in many cases has been the unwillingness of councils to take diversion proposals forward despite them meeting the statutory tests due to objections from user groups and parish councils where a personal element comes into play. Rather than enable an independent Inspector to weigh up the issues, the council facing the cost of an inquiry will in strained financial times just say “no”.
That problem is about to change and it is set to have a dramatic impact. Councils will now have to to determine applications within a reasonable time and there will be a right to apply to the Secretary of State where a council will not make an order or will not have an order determined if there are objections to it.
The changes are due to take effect in April and we are already reviewing several matters which stalled when councils would not take them forward.
Diversion proposals will still have to meet the statutory criteria so they must not be substantially less convenient to the public and where there is a potential loss of public enjoyment, there must be significant benefits to the landowner to justify the move.
We are carrying out assessments throughout England (where these new rules will apply) under out first view fixed fee scheme of £500 plus VAT so please get in touch if you are thinking of applying to divert that path through your land. Call Michael Wood on 07796 958572, email him on firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the form below and we will get back to you. You can visit our website at www.etlandnet.co.uk.
We diverted the footpath and bridleway at Pitshill (above) so that it could be restored as a family home.