Agenda item

Upgrade to Bridleway definitive footpath: RocEFp13a

To consider a proposed upgrade to Bridleway (footpath RocEFp13a) from Northdene Drive to Bury Road, Rochdale


Further to Minute 25 of the meeting of Rochdale Township Committee held 10th October 2018, the Director of Neighbourhoods reported that, in accordance with section 31 Highways Act 1981 and Under section 53(2) Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, a member of the public could submit a statement to the Council for it to consider a claim to add a footpath or bridleway to the definitive map and statement held by the Council or to upgrade an existing route to a higher status than shown on the definitive map and statement by providing evidence of 20 years or more use of a route, recognised as presumed dedication of the way if the use is carried out as of right, without permission and without interference.


The Council has received such a statement to support the upgrade of a footpath (footpath RocEFp13a) running from Northdene Drive to Bury Road to bridleway status. The supporting evidence provided with the claim provides satisfactory reports of use ranged from 3 – 57 years by 25 members of the public. In accordance with the Highways Act 1980, the Council could accept this evidence to assist in their decision making in respect of making the appropriate Order for the upgrade of the footpath.  


The Council had implemented a highway order to adopt the land as a footway in approximately 1994; however, some of the evidence pre-dates this highway adoption and it is considered appropriate to proceed with the claim.


Landowners had been consulted and asked to submit evidence to support the claim or to describe the actions they have taken to prohibit use by horse riders. No such evidence has been received from relevant landowners. 


Members of the public would be informed by the posting of notices on site and in local newspapers as part of the Order process.


The Order process would incorporate an objection period where members of the public could raise relevant objections to the order. Should these objections remain unresolved the matter will be referred to the Secretary of State for a final decision as to whether the Council should make the order to upgrade the footpath to bridleway or not.


In considering the report, Members received an oral representations from an objector to the proposals, Mr. T. Mayne.


Alternatives considered:

The only alternative would be to decline to make the Order.  This would mean 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 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.



1.               Rochdale Township Committee approves the recommendations detailed in the report and authorises the Council to proceed with a definitive map and statement modification order to upgrade the footpath RocEFp13a, as shown on the plan annexed to the report, to a bridleway.

2.               Rochdale Township Committee agrees to the Council undertaking an Event Order to alter the definitive map and statement to show a bridleway running from Northdene Drive to Bury Road, should the claim be successful. 

3.               If no objections are received 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 confirmation.

4.               The Council’s Head of Legal Services be authorised to make an Order under the relevant Acts, the effect of which, if confirmed, would be to upgrade public footpath RocEFp13a to a public 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.


As part of that review the map may be changed should members of the public submit an application to alter a route on the map, and described in the related statement, and successfully show the way to have higher rights.  In this paradigm this is a Definitive Map Modification Order to upgrade an existing footpath to bridleway.

Eligible for Call-in: Yes.

Supporting documents: