Agenda Item No. 4
PLANNING-SUB COMMITTEE (PUBLIC RIGHTS OF WAY)
Minutes of a meeting held on 27th November, 2013.
Present: Councillors Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, F.T. Johnson, Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson and E. Williams.
Also present: Councillor P.J. Clarke.
(a) Appointment of Chairman –
RESOLVED – T H A T Councillor F.T. Johnson be appointed Chairman of the Sub-Committee for the ensuing municipal year.
Councillor Johnson took the Chair.
(b) Appointment of Vice-Chairman –
RESOLVED – T H A T Councillor Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson be appointed Vice-Chairman of the Sub-Committee for the ensuing municipal year.
(c) Apologies for Absence –
These were received from Councillor H.J.W. James.
(d) Minutes –
RESOLVED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 16th July, 2012 be approved as a correct record.
(e) Declarations of Interest –
No declarations were received.
(f) Highways Act 1980 S119 Proposed Public Path Diversion Order Footpath No. 5 Lavernock (DDS) –
The Sub-Committee received an application made by the Vale of Glamorgan Council to divert part of the above footpath.
Public Footpath No. 5 commenced on Fort Road and proceeded south-westwards across fields and through the Bay Caravan Park to terminate on St. Mary’s Well Bay Road. The footpath currently traverses the Caravan Park and was obstructed by static caravans and security fencing.
It was also noted that Public Footpath No. 1 Lavernock ran parallel to Public Footpath No. 5 through Lavernock Nature Reserve and along the cliff top to the south of Bay Caravan Park. Footpath No. 1 provided the only other east-west coastal link in the area. This link had, however, been lost due to erosion. Erosion resulting in the physical loss of a public footpath has the effect of legally extinguishing the portion of path affected. Whilst Public Footpath No. 1 previously provided an accessible route from east to west it was not the subject of this application.
Through negotiation with the adjacent landowners it had been possible to create a new path running parallel to the eastern boundary of the caravan park, which terminated on the proposed diversion route of Public Footpath No. 5, FP5 would continue on to St. Mary’s Well Bay Road.
The proposal provided an opportunity to conclude the provision of a vital missing link in the Vale of Glamorgan’s section of the Wales Coast Path.
The effect of the diversion of Footpath No. 5 would be to move the footpath from the alignment A-B-C-D (bold line) to A-E-F (dashed line) as shown on the order map attached to the report.
An order map and schedule were included describing the changes in greater detail.
Case Law states that before making a decision on the Order it is reasonable to consider both tests for making the Order and for confirming the Order. Even if all tests are met, the Council may exercise its discretion to make the order.
Before making a Diversion Order it must appear to the Council that it is expedient to divert the path in the interests either of the public or of the owner, lessee or occupier of the land crossed by the path.
The Authority must also be satisfied that the Diversion Order did not alter any point of termination of the path, other than to another point on the same path, or another highway connected with it, and which was substantially as convenient to the public.
Before confirming an Order, the Council, or the Welsh Government, if the Order is opposed, must be satisfied that:
(a) The diversion is expedient in the interests of the person(s) stated in the Order,
(b) The path will not be substantially less convenient to the public as a consequence of the diversion,
(c) It is expedient to confirm the Order having regard to the effect it will have on public enjoyment of the path as a whole, on other land served by the existing path and on land affected by any proposed new path, taking into account the provision for compensation.
Convenience should be interpreted as meaning ease of use, whereas enjoyment can take into account other factors such as the views to be enjoyed from the path or way.
Following consultation on the proposal, one objection was received from Friends of the Earth.
RESOLVED – T H A T the Council, being the relevant highway authority for the affected footpath, proceed with making an Order to divert part of Footpath No. 5 Lavernock as described in the order plan and schedule attached to the report.
Reasons for decision
(1) Diversion of Footpath No. 5 was in the interest of the landowners. The existing definitive alignment runs across an open field that was cultivated on a seasonal basis and then through the Bay Caravan Park to terminate on St. Mary’s Well Bay Road.
(2) The diversion of the path from the centre of the field to the field boundary would benefit farming practice by removing the need to reinstate a route through crops and instead allow path users to follow the headland. The removal of the path from the caravan park would provide greater flexibility in the siting of static caravans in addition to resolving current obstructions.
(3) The application was made as part of the Coastal Access Improvement Programme and follows from negotiations between the Vale of Glamorgan Council and landowners to provide a usable route able to comprise the Wales Coast Path.
(4) The path diversion retained connections to the same highways. The proposed alternative route was no less convenient to the public.
Prior to the commencement of formal business, discussions took place as to whether the Planning Sub-Committee (Public Rights of Way) should, in future, receive update reports in relation to any Orders made by the Sub-Committee which were subsequently challenged. Consensus emerged that this course of action would be followed in future.