Temporary and Permanent Orders

Temporary path closures

Rights of way should always be open and available for the public to use but there are times when the Council will close them for short periods. PRoW must not be closed or restricted without our consent. Approved closures are deemed as necessary and as such consultations do not have to be undertaken. 

The Council can temporarily close public rights of way under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 if:

  • Works are proposed to be carried out on or near the right of way.
  • There is a potential danger to the public or serious damage to the right of way.
  • It is needed for maintenance works undertaken on behalf of the council.

Section 14 (1): Allows for public rights of way to be closed for 5 days and for 6 months. These requests must be submitted at least six weeks before the closure is required. If there is any doubt that work cannot be completed within five days, it is advisable that an order (valid for up to six months) is the best choice.

If a longer closure is required past the 6 month period, then an application has to be made to the Secretary of State for the Environment for an extension. This application must be made in good time before the initial closure period has expired and there will be an additional charge.

Section 14 (2): Allows for emergency closures of up to 21 days (routes must be inaccessible or dangerous for the public to use for an emergency closure)


  • We will require a written (email) request detailing what is to be closed, why, when and for how long.
  • The public rights of way officer will arrange an on-site meeting to discuss proposals and advise/agree on procedures and reinstatements. 
  • Under the legislation we need to 'consider alternative routes' and we cannot obstruct pedestrian access to properties. 
  • The public rights of way officer will arrange for the design, supply and installation of any associated signage and all costs will be funded by applicant.

Permanent diversions and closures ('stopped up')

It is recommended that you seek advice from the Public Rights of way Officer before proceeding with an application.

We deal with many applications for footpath diversions for a variety of reasons. 

The main ones are outlined below:

Highways Act (HA) 1980 Diversion: Various sections of the HA 1980 allow us to consider making diversion orders on behalf of a landowner.

Town and Country Planning Act 1990: Section 257 allows rights of way to be diverted to enable development to take place. In other words, if a developer (for instance) has been given planning permission to build a housing estate, then any paths running over this land can be diverted to allow for the erection of the buildings. 

We would require a developer to keep any changes to a minimum and to accommodate the path within the development. We work closely with developers and planners to ensure that the character of paths is not dramatically altered. For example, if land over which a rural cross field path is to be built on, we will expect developers to

  • Provide a wide, open path within the heart of the development and constructed to our standards.
  • Retain their priority over new estate roads with raised table or signalised crossings.

Any application for the extinguishment and/or diversion of footpaths and/or bridleways affected by development should be submitted along with the planning application.