To determine rights of way that have been identified in the Norden area of Rochdale.
The Township Committee considered a report of the Director of Neighbourhoods which advised that land which has been used to form part of a right of way (footpath) in the Norden area of Rochdale, labelled as HeyFp117 and RocAFp10 on Council records, was now unstable following a landslide in the area. The footpath ran on a ledge some 20 – 30 feet high and was considered a high risk for continued use by the general public.
To ensure public safety it was proposed to divert part of HeyFp117 and part of RocAFp10 footpaths to land located further away from the ledge. The Council was able to do this by proceeding with a Map Modification Order under section 119 Highways Act 1980 and following this with a legal event order to change the routes on the definitive map and statement.
The relevant landowner (United Utilities) were contacted and has written to the Council to approve a diversion of the footpaths onto neighbouring land in their ownership. The location of the diverted route is currently being used by members of the public and is notably safer.
The associated costs for officer’s time and advertising costs will be borne by the Council. The diversion is required to protect public safety.
It was reported that there were no other suitable alternatives. It was not possible to build the land back up as it was a natural landslide, the land was now unstable and any works carried out in the area could cause further land fall.
That the Council proceed with a Definitive Map Modification Order to divert the footpaths to an alternative location agreed by the landowner (United Utilities), to remove the risks to the general public, and, to show the new location of part of HeyFp117 and part of RocAFp10 a on the definitive map and statement by completing a legal event order.
Reasons for the decision:
Under Section 130 of the Highways Act 1980, the Council has a duty to assert and protect the rights of the general public to the use and enjoyment of any right of way. Should a right of way be out of repair, difficult to use or there is a risk to the general public in their right to the use of a footpath, bridleway or restricted byway, the Council has a duty to take the appropriate action to ensure the legitimate users are not put in any potential danger.
The conditions described in the report represent one of the circumstances the Council has to take action and the only reasonable precaution was to divert the sections of footpaths onto land that is easy to use and stable. The general public were already using an alternative route on neighbouring land, as the Council applied a temporary closure to prohibit use along footpaths HeyFp117/RocAFp10. The landowner, United Utilities, allowed access over a permissive route that they have now agreed can be recorded on Council records as a legal definitive footpath.
Eligible for Call-in: Yes.