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Public Path Orders

Legally diverting, creating or removing Public Rights of Way

Public Rights of Way (PROWs) are protected by law. They cannot be diverted or removed ('extinguished') except by public path diversion or extinguishment orders (which are referred to as path orders), along with creation orders that make new PROW.

Natural England has a useful booklet on these matters which can be seen here: Natural England Public Rights of Way booklet

In summary, West Berkshire Council has no statutory obligation to accept path order applications or to make path orders (even if they meet the legal criteria described below).

When considering proposals, the Council takes into account:

  • whether the application is likely to fit into the future priority workload
  • whether certain legal criteria are met
  • what objections might be likely to arise

Applying to Change, Create, or Extinguish a PROW

Changing, creating or extinguishing a PROW can be a complicated process, that has to meet a number of Icon for pdf specific legal criteria [6KB] . For further details see the  Natural England Public Rights of Way booklet (particularly sections 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 & 10).

Applicants are expected to cover our administration and advertising costs, which is estimated to total of between £1,800 to £3,950 depending on complexity. Costs are payable when an order is advertised for public comment and/or objection.

Public Path Orders can be opposed by different groups as part of the consultation process. We cannot confirm opposed orders, which either have to be abandoned or referred to the Planning Inspectorate for a decision. If a Planning Inspector decides not to confirm an order then the costs are not refundable.

Orders only come into force if they are confirmed.

When will my case be considered?

New cases need to be scheduled alongside Definitive Map Modification Orders and any other existing Public Path Orders. We publish a priority work list to show the sequence in which we'll consider the cases.

We're also required to publish Public Rights of Way Notices on any current legal cases.

If you have any questions about Public Path Orders, please contact the Definitive Map Officer.

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