I refer to previous correspondence and have been advised of the following information from the Planning Department as a result of a resident asking what action the Council will take in terms of enforcement if the footpath was to be closed to residents:
“I have recently reviewed this case paying heed to the planning condition and 106. The fact is though that a footpath access, with a small gate, has been put in place and whilst this has not been discharged officially planners were aware and accepted it as suitable and said as much to the owner when it was initially installed. The finger post is not in place. Only part of the surface has been gravelled but in essence a good access exists and what does exist matches the character and nature of the area. The gate is open and no evidence of restriction to its use was evident when I visited the site.
To pursue this case any further would be disproportionate given what is in place. The owner of the path only controls this two meter stretch of the lane here and so can not effect anybody’s access over the rest of the lane down to the main road. That is in control of another. There are currently no restrictions on accessing the road and from a planning perspective I would only be able to act if someone tried to physically place restrictions on access.
I have discussed the case with the Planner and my line manager who agree with this course of action.
If the owner of [the footpath] were to close the access, there would be a case. If he wants to alter the condition he could only do that by writing to the Local Planning Authority, in other words submit a planning application.
Similarly, if the owner of the road closed the road off to the estates residents I think there would be a case to investigate, but I can not act whilst it has not actually happened.”
I have written to the properties off of the footpath to ask them for their views and comments on the opinion of Planning Enforcement.