Permanent closures or diversions

Permanent changes to the Definitive Map and Statement may be made using a Public Path Order made under the Highways Act 1980 or by using the Town and Country Planning Act (TCPA). Highways Act Orders are concerned with matters of landowner choice and TCPA Orders relate to planning applications .

Diverting a Route

Essex Highways has the power to make a Public Path Diversion Order under Section 119 of the Highways Act 1980.

The Highways Act 1980 makes provision for the diversion of footpaths, bridleways and restricted byways (but not byways) where the proposals are in the interests of the owner, occupier or lessee of the land over which the existing and proposed routes are aligned, with or without an interest to the public at large.

Essex Highways also makes Orders to divert a path under Section 257 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 where a planning application directly affects a Public Right of Way.  Please note that such an Order cannot be made retrospectively and must be in place before development works begin. 

The local Borough or District Council is the Planning Authority and would usually process these Orders.  Essex Highways makes Section 257 Orders on behalf of Braintree District Council, Tendring District Council and Uttlesford District Council.  For all other Essex areas, please apply direct to the local Borough or District Council.

Extinguishing a Route

The removal of a path from the Definitive Map is referred to as an extinguishment or stopping up.

Essex Highways has the power to make an Extinguishment Order for a footpath or bridleway under Section 118 of the Highways Act 1980.  It must be demonstrated that the path is not needed for public use.  Temporary obstructions such as fences, rubble or even buildings are not considered by the Courts to be sufficient evidence to claim that there is no public use of the route.  

Extinguishment Orders may also be made under Section 257 of the Town and Country Planning Act where it is necessary to remove the route in order to carry out the development.  Again, this cannot be done once development works have been completed.  Essex Highways will always look for a potential diversion route before agreeing to an extinguishment.

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