Rights of Way Law

Under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 powers are given to councils to make extinguishment and diversion orders in order to enable development for which planning permission has been granted to be carried out.

The power to divert rights of way cannot be applied after development has been carried out in order to deal with inconvenient public rights of way.

What you must not do

You are not entitled to block or divert a right of way unless:

  • You have made a formal application and it has been approved.
  • You have made a formal application for a temporary order and it has been approved.
  • You are in compliance with the Right of Way Act 1990.

What you must do

You must submit an application in writing with a plan indicating the current right of way and proposed changes. For example:

  • Diversion route indicating the beginning and the end of the diversion.
  • Location of proposed new stiles.

On receiving the application the Local Authority will advertise the proposals in at least one local newspaper and consult with relevant organisations.


If no objections are received the local authority can confirm the extinguishement and/or diversion order. It takes approximately four months to complete an extinguishement/ diversion order.

If objections are raised an attempt will be made to resolve them, if this fails a public inquiry will be called. This process could take much longer, even up to a year.

Fees and charges

We have the power to charge for dealing with extinguishment and diversion orders. The current charge varies from £200 up to a maximum of £400 depending on the work involved.

Rights of Way affected by planning applications

During the making of a Planning Application you are advised to ensure that you check the existence of rights of way across land affected by the application. This you can do by checking the definitive maps held at both the local district office and the County Surveyors Office, County Hall, Preston. Remember, planning permission does not give you the right to block the right of way. For more information see Rights of Way Affected by a Planning Application.