Client Story

Bridleway diverted following Agriculture and Estates Partner’s expertise

15th December 2023

When a man purchased an old mill house in a rural setting, local searches revealed there were no public rights of way across the property. Some time later, it was established that there was a public right of way passing through the garden, directly in front of the house. While vehicular rights were stopped in 2016 bridleway rights were retained.

The man applied to have the bridleway diverted into his neighbouring field following a number of unpleasant events concerning the use of the bridleway by the public. However, the application was rejected because the local authority determined that the legal tests for a diversion were not met.

Agriculture and Estates Partner Derek Walsh was approached to assist with a further, renewed, application. Derek drafted the application adding further information based on the local authority’s own guidance, including recent decisions in other diversion applications to establish that the legal tests were satisfied.

On this occasion the local authority made the order – but a number of people objected and the matter was referred to the Planning Inspectorate for determination. Derek argued that their objections raised irrelevant issues and were factually wrong about the history of the bridleway.

The inspector found that the legal tests for a diversion were all satisfied and determined that the bridleway should be diverted into the neighbouring field.

The successful diversion application provided Derek’s client with the ability to make his family home more secure.

Following the case, Derek said: “I was delighted with the outcome because the security issues that gave rise to the application were a cause of significant concern to my client and his family. Although they had support from the majority of the local community, there were a number of vocal objectors who were determined to object, regardless of the merits of the application.”

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