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Development and planning permission

Planning permission does not grant the right to close, alter or build over a PRoW in any way, even temporarily (i.e. change the surface, width, location etc.).

It is a criminal offence to obstruct a ProW unless the necessary legal order has been made, confirmed and brought into effect. Unauthorised obstructions may result in an injunction being served to stop development and/or criminal proceedings being brought against the offender. The court could impose a fine and rule that the obstruction be removed or a building demolished.

Express permission from ourselves is required for any change to the surface of a PRoW. If a change to, or a closure of, a right of way is needed to enable development to be carried out, then there are two types of legal order which apply;

Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (processed by us)

Temporarily prohibits or restricts public access for a maximum period of 6 months, unless the Secretary of State approves an extension. At the end of the order, the path must be re-opened for public use on its legal line, free of obstructions.

An application form for a temporary closure order and a list of charges is available on the change to rights of way page.

Diversion or Stopping Up Order

Under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (processed by the planning authority (for FP & BW) or Secretary or State (For RB & BOAT)

Enables a PRoW to be diverted or stopped up permanently to enable development to occur; or temporarily for mineral extraction if the path is to be reinstated on its original line on completion.

Paths affected by development should comply with:

  • Policies set out in our rights of way improvement plan (ROWIP)

  • Planning policy guidance (PPG)13: transport - this promotes additional facilities for pedestrians and cyclists and encourages the use of rights of way for local journeys

  • PPG 17: planning for open space, sport and recreation

  • "32. Rights of way are an important recreational facility, which local authorities should protect and enhance. Local authorities should seek opportunities to provide better facilities for walkers, cyclists and horse-riders, for example by adding links to existing rights of way networks."

  • Department of the environment circular 2/1993: public rights of way

Please contact [email protected] to request the rights of way review committee practice guidance note 6 planning and public rights of way document.

If your development is likely to affect a PRoW, it is strongly recommended that you email [email protected] at an early design stage for informal advice. This could help to avoid unnecessary objections and costly delays.