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To ask for help from Local Authority / Planning folks? "Temporary"; closure of public footpath

(19 Posts)
wasonthelist Wed 06-Apr-16 17:54:07

The wankers building a new housing estate at the end of my road have apparently been given a temporary traffic regulation order to close the footpath that runs along the edge of the site "for safety" for 18 months. The safety thing is bollocks, it's purely to save money on fencing once they've ripped the hedge out.

Are there any valid grounds for appeal/objection or do they just get the right to do what the flip they like?

Stillunexpected Wed 06-Apr-16 17:59:14

Are you sure that's why they are closing it? Surely once they rip the hedge out they will have to erect safety fencing to prevent access to the site while building is underway?

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Wed 06-Apr-16 18:00:04

No idea but your local ramblers association may be a good source of info. Our local one gets excited about stuff like this and campaigns against naughty farmers who try and block off paths, etc.

wasonthelist Wed 06-Apr-16 18:04:58

Still - that's the point if they left it open, they would need the fencing, by closing it totally, they won't. They have applied citing safety but it's clearly just to make it easier and cheaper for them. 18 months is a ridiculous amount of time - they want to close it for the whole time they are building, but it only runs along part of one edge of the site.

I use this footpath a lot btw, not just being difficult.

ILikeUranus Wed 06-Apr-16 18:13:09

Talk to the Public Rights of Way department (at your county council) rather than the planners if you can, just for advice initially. I think the regs say they have to provide a temporary route while they close that one. I would think that if they don't, the Rights of Way officer will object.

eatsleephockeyrepeat Wed 06-Apr-16 19:00:01

Is there an alternative route available? A diversion so to speak?

aliceinwanderland Wed 06-Apr-16 19:03:17

I think it would be fairly normal to close a footpath alongside a major construction site for health and safety. It might even be a requirement in the planning consent. But I am not a planning officer so someone might have a different view.

eatsleephockeyrepeat Wed 06-Apr-16 19:14:09

My work involves regular highway and footway closures, but procedures do vary slightly by council.

We would have to get a permit from the local authority to close a footpath, which would usually be dependant on us being able to divert pedestrians or else it would be very difficult to obtain! In my line of work these closures are always for much shorter periods than 18 months, but I do believe 6 months is the maximum we can request.

I'd speak to the council.

wasonthelist Wed 06-Apr-16 19:48:54

Yes there is an alternative, but it's inconvenient, I may be a little overinvested, but for me and many others here, it forms part of a 1/2 mile or so circular walking route (I don't have a dog but regularly see the same dog walkers, for which there is no alternative.

Littlecaf Wed 06-Apr-16 20:56:29

It's not a planning issue - speak to the Rights of Way person at your local council.

aliceinwanderland Thu 07-Apr-16 01:00:02

If the order has been granted then the rights if way team will already have been consulted. There will be a right of appeal but I can't recall if it is statutory or judicial review. Will see if I can find out.

aliceinwanderland Thu 07-Apr-16 02:40:24

just looked into this a bit more. It is quite a fiddly area of law.

There are two ways in which the footpath could have been diverted (and from what you've said it seems to be a diversion rather than temporary closure).

It could either be under S257 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 or a temporary Traffic Regulation Order under S14 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.

If there are any notices up from the council it should confirm which route is being used.

If it is the S257 and the order has not yet been confirmed then you can make representations to the council. These basically need to be taken into account and if not withdrawn might lead to an inquiry (the process is more detailed than that but just trying to give you an idea).

If it is S14 then it appears the maximum initial period for a footpath diversion is 6 months - although this can be extended by the Secretary of State - pretty much indefinitely it seems. The maximum period for an initial highway diversion is 18 months though - so I am wondering if your footpath is technically a highway? Either way, if this is the route they have used you are looking at judicial review as your challenge - not cheap or easy. However, if it is a footpath and they have given an initial order for 18 months then you might have good grounds to challenge.

The Ramblers website has good notes on this.

www.ramblers.org.uk/advice/rights-of-way-law-in-england-and-wales/rights-of-way-and-development.aspx

And the Rights of Way Officer should be able to confirm the process to date, what the status of the footpath is and assuming s257 applies, the closing date for any objection.

If you are thinking about any legal routes of challenge (i.e. judicial review) you'll need to get RL legal advice asap.

wasonthelist Sat 09-Apr-16 13:41:58

Thanks for the comprehensive reply. They haven't closed it yet. It is the subject of a temporary Traffic Regulation Order.
No notices have been put up at all.
I don't think I can afford judicial review (!)
I have e-mailed my local councillor who suggested e-mailing the Local Authorities Highways dept. which I have done.
My other layman's research on t'internet seems to suggest that if they have to close it at all, 6 months would be more usual.
These developers have been very poor neighbours (not that they obviously care).

wasonthelist Sat 09-Apr-16 13:44:10

I also strongly suspect that by asking for 18 months they are angling for a permanent closure, but I may just be letting the fact of their past and current arrogance get in the way.

aliceinwanderland Sun 10-Apr-16 12:57:54

Maybe. But they would have to make a new application for a permanent diversion.

Spartak Sun 10-Apr-16 13:24:18

Is your local authority a unitary or 2 tier system (district and County Council)?

wasonthelist Mon 11-Apr-16 09:15:44

It's 2 tier - planning was granted by the Borough, but the County runs Highways and Rights of Way.

Ifailed Mon 11-Apr-16 09:27:29

I'm with you on this. It really annoys me how developers wishes seen to take precedent. For some reason I get particularity narked when they close off pavements, or a lane of the road, just so they can use it as a car park or storage area.

wasonthelist Mon 11-Apr-16 09:35:58

Thanks Ifailed glad it's not just me. As for temporary traffic lights when there is no obstruction and no work going on - another law of unintended consequences. Now they have to have a permit to put them up, when they have the permit, the lights go up for the full duration, day and night, whether needed or not (not entirely off topic as these developers have already done this).

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