Public Right of Way on Ordnance Survey Map – LEED/15/4 – Path from Adel Willows towards Golden Acre

I was recently approached by a local resident to ask me why public right of way LEED/15/4 does not show up on Ordinance Survey Maps. This footpath is affected by the 2 proposed planning applications for the fields off Church Lane/Otley Road, Adel next to Centurion Fields and I wanted to ensure that it remained a protected footpath for the future. The initial response I got was:

Thank you for your enquiry. I have checked the Ordnance Survey Explorer Map No.27 for the Lower Wharfedale and Washburn Valley area, which includes the Bramhope and Cookridge areas and both Public Footpath Leeds No.4 and Public Bridleway Leeds No. 15 are shown on this map.  Footpath No. 4 links from another public footpath that links to Cookridge Lane, to the west of Cookridge Avenue and Bridleway No.15 runs along the southern boundary of the of the Parkway Hotel to link to the A660, Otley Road. The Ordnance Survey revise their maps from time to time to take into account changes on the ground but they use public rights of way data shown on Definitive Maps held by each Local Authority.”

Another Officer subsequently clarified the position:

“The Ordnance Survey have been known to omit or realign paths on new maps from time to time, even when they have been on Ordnance Survey maps for many earlier editions or had no changes made to them.  If they have been omitted we can contact the Ordnance Survey to inform them but it would not get added until the next publication but we would need a copy of the relevant section of the map and year of publication.”

I then went back to Council Officers with the following information:

“Please find attached two maps which will hopefully clarify the situation re Public Right of Way number LEEDS/15/4, the one inside the circle with the question mark beside it on the map that has all the local public rights of way marked on and is from November 2008. The other is a current Ordnance Survey map which clearly does not have this public right of way on it.”

This elicited the following response from Officers:

“Dear Councillor Anderson,

The first map that you have shows claimed rights of way as well as the Definitive public right of way which have been added to an Ordnance Survey base map by Leeds City Council.  There are rights way which need investigation to establish if public rights or not.  The path that you have circled is a claimed footpath that is disputed by the landowners and will be investigated when the area is reviewed. The published Ordnance Survey map only shows Definitive public rights of way which have been legally proven to exist, therefore the claimed rights of way are not shown on their maps.  They will not be shown on Ordnance Survey maps unless they are legally proven to exist.”

I then asked when might this legality be tested? Officers then updated me as follows:

“We have not received an application for a Definitive Map Modification Order [DMMO] Application for these paths at the moment.  Therefore, these paths will be investigated when the area is reviewed.  At present there are no plans to review this area as other areas are currently being worked on.”

I then asked the following of Officers: “Due to the proposed developments by Hallam Land and David Wilson Homes on the PAS site next to this footpath area, can this footpath review be brought forward for this one as we could end up losing this area totally.”

I was then copied into the following internal response:

“Is this the claim that runs south of Leeds BW 15 ?  There is building work (Centurion Fields I think) going on opposite Adel Church so I suspect this will be raising concerns locally.  Can you explain to Cllr Anderson that claimed paths have to have a lower priority than those subject to a DMMO application but reassure him that if there is evidence it can still be considered regardless of what’s happening on the ground, notwithstanding the 2026 cut-off date, and we would comment on the claim in any communications with Planning.  Of course if anyone wants to apply for a DMMO they can.”

The most recent response today stated:

“Dear Councillor Anderson,

Thank you for your Inquiry concerning the claimed footpath at Adel.  The Public Rights of Way Section have been consulted on the planning application for this site.  The proposed development only affects a very small section of this claimed footpath near the southern end.  An access is proposed that would cross the line of the claimed footpath but no building work is proposed that would result in the loss of the claimed footpath. 

In our comments we have informed them of the existence of the claimed footpath and that it should remain on its original line and not be encroached upon or interfered with in any way and should be treated as a definitive public right of way.   We have also requested improvements to the existing definitive footpath as it is likely there will be an increase in use with any new development.  We would make similar comment on any other planning applications that affect the claimed footpath.

I am arranging a trip to the archives shortly and I will have a look at the Adel Inclosure Award which we believe has evidence for this claimed footpath as well as the Tithe Map.”