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Public rights of way and stopping up orders

Public rights of way and stopping up orders

Applications for amendments to the rights of way network by creating, diverting or stopping-up a right of way can be submitted to South Downs National Park Authority, as the Local Planning Authority, under powers granted by Section 257 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

Please note that the power to alter public rights of way under this Act relates to public footpaths, bridleways and restricted byways only, and not to byways.

South Downs National Park Authority can only make an order if it is satisfied that it is necessary in order to allow a development to take place in accordance with a planning permission that has been granted.

The Growth & Infrastructure Act 2013 also allows a diversion/stopping-up Order to be made before planning permission has been granted, provided than an application has been submitted.

The order can only be confirmed once planning permission has been granted.

How it works

  • The National Park Authority carries out an informal round of consultation on the proposed change with the county and parish/town councils, utility companies and the organised user groups such as the Ramblers Association and Open Spaces Society and recognised national cycling groups
  • Based on the outcome of the above, the National Park Authority will then take a decision on whether to make a diversion/stopping-up Order. If made, the Order will be advertised on the site and in a local newspaper to allow for public comment. Formal notices will also be sent to prescribed parties including user groups, utility companies and landowners.
  • If following the above consultation the Order is unopposed, then the National Park Authority can confirm the Order which will be re-advertised and the Ordnance survey informed. If a new route is being created (i.e. for diversions), then the new route may require certification from the National Park Authority before the diversion can take effect.
  • If objections to the Order are received and are not withdrawn, then the National Park Authority cannot confirm the Order. Instead, the Order will be submitted to the Secretary of State for a decision.

The developer should not assume that the South Downs National Park Authority will automatically make an order or that any order will be automatically confirmed.

Following consultation, objections may be received and an alternative route may be proposed.


An unopposed application can often take between 6 and 12 months. With objections this procedure may take longer, especially if the application needs to be submitted to the Secretary of State for a decision.

Applicants must wholly own the land over which the existing and proposed changed rights of way run.

If they do not own the land they must have the written consent of the landowner as the South Downs national Park has no rights to impose the change on landowners.


The South Downs National park Authority charges a fee of £1500 (no VAT) to cover administrative and the legal costs associated with the making of the order.

In addition there two advertisement costs typically of £100-£400 (plus VAT) each when the order is made and confirmed.

A third advertisement may be required to certify the new route (for some diversions).

All costs must be borne by the applicant, including the actual costs of diverting the route, moving stiles, erecting gates, signposts etc.


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