When Public Highways Can Be Closed

I’ve found some information online concerning the closure of public highways and how this has to happen. Its interesting reading when applied to Hazelwell Lane:

“Permanent diversions and closures

Public rights of way may be closed or diverted for a variety of reasons:

Unnecessary highway

A public right of way may be closed if it can be deemed to be unnecessary and if there is a nearer or more commodious route available to the public. Such closures are processed under section 116 of the Highways Act 1980.

Applications under section 116 are made to the magistrates’ court and are subject to a consultation process.  As such, objections may be made by members of the public or other interested parties such as rights of way user groups or utilities companies.


To enable development

A landowner may apply to divert or extinguish a public right of way if they have planning permission to develop the land over which the right of way runs.  Such applications are made under section 257 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

As with applications made under the Highways Act 1980, a consultation process is carried out that may result in objections to the proposed order.  However, applications made under the Town and Country Planning Act are not heard by the magistrates’ court.  When a proposed order receives objections, the Secretary of State has the power to decide whether or not to approve the closure or diversion of the right of way.  In many cases, a public inquiry will be held to decide whether or not the order will be approved.  As such, applying for a closure or diversion under the Town and Country Planning Act can be a lengthy process and is not always successful.


In the interest of the landowner or public

Under section 118 of the Highways Act 1980, landowners may apply to divert a public right of way on their land if they can demonstrate that it is beneficial to move the path and that the alternative route will not be less convenient or less enjoyable to the public.


If the path is not needed for public use

Applications to extinguish public rights of way may also be made under section 118 of the Highways Act 1980 on the grounds that it is no longer needed for public use.  The process for an extinguishment is similar to that of a diversion.”

As Hazelwell Lane is still on record as a public highway it would seem permission was not applied for by Tesco to close the road – does anyone remember a consultation around the closure of Hazelwell Lane?


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