The planning inspectorate issues guidance for local authorities to follow as given below. Given these notes it appears that procedures and policies have not been followed and clearly the footpaths should not have been illegally closed. Tesco tried after carrying out ground works obstructing the right of way, to have the footpath diverted and this has either failed or been withdrawn. Clearly the correct process has not been followed by either the council or Tesco. I request that the council take the required enforcement action to open these right of ways.
Circular 1/08 “Rights of Way Circular - Guidance for Local Authorities’’.
The Government considers that the effect of development on a Public Right of Way is a material consideration in the determination of planning applications. It asks local authorities to ensure that the effect on a Right of Way is taken into account.
The circular also states that:
“Authorities should make sure that developers know that planning permission does not mean that an order will automatically be made or confirmed and that, even when planning permission has been granted and development has begun, the affected rights of way should be kept open for public use until an order under section 257 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 has come into effect. Developers should not use footpaths, bridle ways or restricted byways for vehicular access to the site.
The granting of planning permission does not give a developer any right to interfere with, obstruct or move a Public Right of Way. Public Rights of Way can only be diverted or closed by a separate legal order. The minimum time for undertaking a Public Path Order is about six months, but it can take much longer and there is no guarantee that an application will be successful.
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