Planning update – Rights of Way
Our Planning Consultant, Richard Ling, has prepared an update on rights of way as follows:
There have been two recent developments affecting rights of way that are of great relevance to rural landowners and land users.
The first is that new regulations came into force on 1st October 2013 where authorities are allowed to make Orders to stop up or divert footpaths, bridleways or restricted byways, if the authority considers it necessary in order for development that has been granted planning consent to be undertaken.
This amendment has been brought in to speed up the process of making Orders as this has delayed necessary rural development.
If you are considering an alteration to a right of way and are also considering a development proposal, it may be advantageous to use the new procedures to obtain the necessary Order.
Experience has shown that the making of Orders under the old regime takes a considerable period of time and in some cases an outlay in terms of resources. Time will tell whether the new arrangements will substantially speed up this process but this new measure is welcomed.
Secondly, there are certain clauses in the draft of the Deregulation Bill that is going through parliament which affects rights of way. The gist of the proposed changes are:
1. To make the process of changing the Definitive Map* for rights of way quicker and more streamlined. Irrelevant objections to such Orders can be rejected and there are restrictions on what matters are relevant. Right to apply for an Order has been extended to other landowners provided they can show why they are affected.
2. A cut-off period is proposed after which claims for unrecorded ways not in use should cease.
Again, any streamlining and clarification of the process is to be welcomed but there are likely to be alterations to the draft Bill proposals before it comes into law in 2014 and in the meantime the existing provisions will apply. Clearly, advice needs to be sought at an early stage of considering changes to rights of way and any related development proposal.
* The Definitive Map shows all registered rights of way-footpaths, bridleways and restricted byways – in an area (District/County/Unitary Authority).
Richard Ling MRTPI Richard Ling & Associates