To consider the application to divert part of Public Footpath No.3 in the parish of Cranage
The Committee considered a report which detailed an application from Mr M Gibson, Glebe Farm, Holmes Chapel requesting the Council to make an Order to divert part of Public Footpath No.3 in the parish of Cranage.
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 land over which the section of path to be diverted and the proposed diversion ran belonged to the Applicant. The section of Public Footpath No.3 to be diverted ran along the applicant’s driveway and yard access and passed within close proximity to both business and domestic premises. Beyond this the path narrowed from approximately 8 metres wide with an even gradient to approximately between 1 metre and 1.5 metres wide with an uneven gradient. The narrow width and uneven gradient made this section of path difficult to walk which was further compounded by the often wet and muddy conditions caused by the frequent flooding of two natural underground springs that flowed directly under the footpath.
The proposed route would commence approximately 61 metres northwest of the current path on Knutsford Road – Point C on Plan HA/119, and would follow the natural line of the field boundary to re-join the unaffected part of Footpath No.3 at its junction with Public Footpath No.15 – Point B on Plan HA/119. The new route would have minimum width of 2.5 metres, be enclosed between post and wire fencing and have a grass surface. There was a requirement for a kissing gate at the start of the proposed path on Knutsford Road.
The Committee noted that no objections had been received during the informal consultation and noted the comments from the Applicant, Cranage Parish Council, Holmes Chapel Parish Council and the Ramblers Association.
The Committee considered that the proposed route would not be substantially less convenient that the existing route. Diverting the footpath would allow the landowner to protect the privacy and security of their home and business premises. 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 unanimously
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.3 in the parish of Cranage by creating a new section of public footpath and extinguishing the current path, as illustrated on Plan No. HA/119, on the grounds that it is expedient in the interests of the owners of the land crossed by the path.
2 Public Notice of the making of the Order is 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.