Making changes to public rights of way

The Definitive Map

The Definitive Map and accompanying written statement is the legal record of public rights of way in Powys. The Definitive Map is not currently available on-line however, the Definitive Map (in paper format) is held at our offices at The Gwalia, Llandrindod Wells; it is available for any member of the public to inspect, free of charge, during normal office hours. Please contact Countryside Services to view using the contact details on the page.

If you are a legal representative, for example a solicitor acting on behalf of a client, you can make a written request for a specific search of the Definitive Map. There is a £20 charge for this service.

It is possible to apply to make changes to the network. Details about the methods to do this are on this page under Modification Orders.

Public Path Orders

Public Rights of Way can be created, diverted and stopped up but there is a strict legal procedure for doing this. These procedures are laid down in:

  • The Highways Act 1980 – to divert, stop up and create public rights of way. We can use these Orders when the proposed changes are in the interest of the public, or of the owner, lessee or occupier of land crossed by the path(s).
  • Town and Country Planning Act 1990 – to divert and stop up footpaths, bridleways and restricted byways affected by development.

You can apply to the council for a Public Path Order for public path(s) on land which you own or with the written consent of the landowner. We must warn you that the procedure for processing applications is long, and we can’t guarantee that it will be successful. 

We prioritise applications according to the following broad categories; proposals of equal merit within a category are processed in order of the date of application. The list below is in order of priority, with the highest priority first.

1.    Proposals where a public path Order is necessary to allow for permitted development: Developers are always encouraged to incorporate any public rights of way into their site design, to avoid the costs and delays that may result from the need to divert or extinguish them. Where this is not possible, we must process applications made under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as quickly as possible. To allow these applications to be prioritised, without unduly affecting other applications, developers must carry out their own pre-Order consultation; this reduces the input needed from Council officers. Following a site meeting with Countryside Services and receipt of a satisfactory application, the developer will be provided with the information that they need to carry out this consultation.

2.    Proposals removing significant maintenance liabilities or those resolving immediate health and safety risks: Where there is an immediate safety risk, the affected path may be temporarily closed in the short term; however, a public path Order may be the only practicable way to re-open the path in the longer term. A public path Order may also allow routes to be opened up that have been physically inaccessible since they were first recorded on the Definitive Map, as a result of factors beyond the landowner’s control and that cannot be resolved in any other way. 

3.    Proposals resolving longer-term potential health and safety risks and those  resulting in overall improvement to the rights of way network: Paths may be affected by health and safety risks that are being adequately managed in the short term, but where it would be of benefit to both path users and landowners to move the path in the longer term. Alternatively, proposals may result in overall improvements to the rights of way network for the public, for example by creating links between the ends of ‘cul-de-sac’ paths and other public paths or roads.

4.    Proposals that are felt to be primarily in the interests of the applicant (but not related to permitted development): These are proposals for which there is no identified need to change the route of the path from the perspective of the accessibility or maintenance of the path, or surrounding network, but for which a request is made by a landowner or another member of the public.

Please use the link below to download Powys County Council’s guidance notes about making an application for a public path Order. They include information about the legal and practical criteria your proposal will need to meet, the procedures that must be followed and the costs of making a public path Order application.

 

Download the Public Path Order guidance notes

 

If you would like more information, please contact the Rights of Way Officer using the contact details provided

Definitive Map Modification Orders

If you think the Definitive Map is inaccurate, you can apply for a Modification Order, under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981.

This might be to add a path that’s missing from the record, or to delete a path that was included by mistake. You can also apply to upgrade or downgrade the recorded status of a path, or change any other details in the legal record, such as those recorded in the Definitive Statement.

To make a Modification Order we need good evidence that a mistake has been made. This could include statements from path users or others with local knowledge, research of historical documents and maps, or a combination of both. The process may be time-consuming and difficult, and we can’t guarantee that it will be successful.

If you’re considering making an application, you should contact the Rights of Way Officer using the contact details on this page, to discuss the procedure and likely timescale. 

Statutory Declarations and Plans made under Section 31(6) Highways Act 1980

This legal provision allows landowners to deposit evidence with the council of their intention NOT to dedicate any new public rights of way over their land holdings. This will negate any future Modification Order claims for ‘deemed dedication’ of additional paths, based on user evidence post-dating the deposition. However, it cannot negate evidence pre-dating the deposition.

The deposit takes the form of:

(i) a plan of the land holding, showing its location and boundaries and any existing public ways (whether currently recorded on the Definitive Map or not), together with

(ii) a signed statement declaring that the landowner has no intention to dedicate further public paths. This must be followed by a Statutory Declaration to the same effect within 10 years and at 10-yearly intervals thereafter.

If you wish to submit a deposition, contact the Rights of Way Officer using the contact details on this page for information and to ask for the forms.

You can look at Section 31(6) in normal office hours. Please call Countryside Services to make an appointment. 

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