Agenda item


Director of Neighbourhoods to report on proposals to upgrade footpaths in Pennines Township


The Township Committee considered a report of the Director of Neighbourhoods, which in accordance with Section 31 Highways Act 1981 advised that “where a way over land has actually been enjoyed by the public as of right and without interruption for a full period of 20 years, the way is to be deemed to have been dedicated as a highway unless there is sufficient evidence that there is no intention during that period to dedicate it”.


Where a highway already exists a member of the public may apply for an order under section 53(2) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 for the Council to modify the definitive map and statement subject to sufficient evidence to prove that the way was actually enjoyed by members of the public on horseback/pedal cycle as of right and without interruption for a period of 20 years or more, which (when considered with all other relevant evidence available to the Council) shows that a highway shown on the map and statement as a highway of a particular description ought to be there shown as a highway of a different description. The applicant must also notify the landowner of the application.


The Council had received such an application and supporting evidence to endorse the upgrade of a footpath (footpath MilFp112) to bridleway.  The location of the route used was shown by a thick black line on the attached map to the report.  The evidence provided indicated that the footpath had been used by the public as of right for over twenty years and that there was a case to make the order.


The Landowner had been unable to provide evidence how the general public had been prohibited from using the route on horseback and or pedal cycle and whilst he accepts the application he has advised that the Council should consider erecting motor cycle inhibitors to counteract any illegal use. 


Alternatives considered:

The only alternative would be to decline to make the order.  This would mean that the Council was in breach of its duty and would entitle the applicant to appeal to the Secretary of State under paragraph 4 of Schedule 14 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 against the Council’s decision.



1.    The Township Committee agrees to proceed with a definitive map and statement modification order to upgrade MilFp112 under Section 53(2) of the Wildlife and countryside Act 1981.

2.    If no objections are received to the order, that the order be confirmed as an unopposed order under paragraph 6 of Schedule 15 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and if relevant objections are received that the order be referred to the Secretary of State for a decision from either the submission of written representations or the matter held as an informal Hearing or in a Public Inquiry.

3.    The Head of Legal Services be authorised to make an Order under the relevant Acts, the effect of which, if confirmed, would be to upgrade a public footpath to bridleway



Reasons for the decision:

Under Section 130 Highways Act 1980 the Council has a duty to protect and assert the rights of the public to the use and enjoyment of any highway within the borough: definitive rights of way are classed as highways under the Highways Act 1980.  The Council are also required to maintain and keep under review a map, the definitive map, and statement showing the public footpaths and bridleways in its area.

Eligible for call-in: Yes

Supporting documents: