To consider the application to divert part of Public Footpath No.5 in the parish of Adlington
The Committee considered a report which detailed an application from Mrs Cox of Springbank Farm, Springbank Lane, Adlington requesting the Council to make an Order to divert part of Public Footpath No.5 in the parish of Adlington.
In accordance with Section 119(1) of the Highways Act 1980, it was within the Council’s discretion to make an Order to divert a public footpath if it appeared to the Council to be expedient to do so in the interests of the public or the owner, lessee or occupier of the land crossed by the path.
The majority of land over which the section of the current path to be diverted and the proposed diversion ran belonged to the Applicant. The section of path that ran through the property known as The Hole belonged to Mr & Mrs Taylor, who had provided written consent.
The section of Public Footpath No.5 Adlington to be diverted ran through the garden of The Hole, passing very close to residential buildings. After exiting the garden it ran along a private track which acted as a driveway for The Hole and visitors to Springbank Farm and its stables. The track was surfaced and used by vehicles and for the movement of horses.
The proposed diversion run just outside the boundary of The Hole and run in a south easterly direction through fields before going along an existing track to join Springbank Lane. The new junction on Springbank Lane was approximately 80 metres from the original junction. This road was currently well used by walkers as a link between Macclesfield Canal and the Middlewood Way. The section of road was relatively straight with good sightlines and had areas of verge which allowed people to step off the road if necessary. The proposed diversion would have a width of 2 metres within which a stone track would be laid along its whole length.
The proposals were in the interests of the Applicant due to reasons of privacy and security. It would enable the residents of Springbank Farm and The Hole to install a full security gate as there was a history of burglaries at The Hole. It was also enable higher levels of equine control for the stables at Springbank Farm as the current gate has a history of being left open, putting the horses and members of the public at risk.
The Committee considered the concerns received form the Parish Council, the Peak and Northern Footpaths Society and East Cheshire Ramblers during the informal consultation and the responses provided, as set out in the report.
The Committee considered that the proposed route would not be substantially less convenient that the existing route. Diverting the footpath would be of benefit to the Applicant as moving the footpath away from Springbank Farm and The Hole would improve their privacy and security. It was considered that the proposed route would be a satisfactory alternative to the current one and that the legal tests for the making and confirming of a Diversion Order were satisfied.
The Committee by majority
1 An Order be made under Section 119 of the Highways Act 1980, as amended by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, to divert part of Public Footpath No.5 in the parish of Adlington by creating a new section of public footpath and extinguishing the current path, as illustrated on Plan No.HA/123, on the grounds it is expedient to do so in the interests of the landowners.
2 Public Notice of the making of the Order be given and in the event of there being no objections within the period specified, the Order be confirmed in the exercise of the powers conferred on the Council by the said Acts.
3 In the event of objections to the Order being received, Cheshire East Borough Council be responsible for the conduct of any hearing or public inquiry.