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Appealing Right of Way Decisions

Local council authorities make decisions about whether to reject or approve applications for public rights of way in the United Kingdom.

This guide explains when and how to appeal a right of way decision (using a schedule 14 appeal form) and who may comment on the actual appeal.

When to Appeal a Right of Way Decision?

There are two primary grounds for appealing against a council’s decision about a public right of way.

After applying to change the ‘definitive map and statement’ of the area, you can make (either):

  • A ‘schedule 14 appeal’ (meaning you disagree with the actual decision).
  • A ‘direction request’ (which means the local council failed to make a decision inside 12 months).

But, you will not be able to appeal a right of way decision, if (either):

  • The council decides to approve a different use for the land (e.g. the application was for a bridleway but they granted an order for a footpath).
  • You failed to submit the original application in the correct manner (e.g. landowners were not notified about the effect that the change may cause).

Note: Appealing against rights of way decisions issued by local councils is free of charge in the United Kingdom. But, the person who made the original application is the only one who can make an appeal.

Deadline to Appeal a Right of Way Decision

The deadline for appealing against rights of way decisions is twenty eight (28) days from the date recorded on the decision letter issued by the local council.

But, if the council failed to make a decision, the deadline is twelve (12) months from the date you submitted the original application.

As a general rule, you can expect to get a decision about an appeal within six months (26 weeks) from when it’s validated (see further details on the validation process below).

How to Appeal Right of Way Decisions

You must use schedule 14 appeal form to make this kind of appeal. Fill in the form and email it to the Planning Inspectorate. You can make a direction request by writing to the Secretary of State.

Planning Inspectorate
Mail: [email protected]

Important: You cannot use postal methods to send an appeal during the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19). You can appeal more than one decision. But, you would need to make separate appeals for each one.

Required Documentation

If you are making a schedule 14 appeal you will need to provide two (2) copies of the original application, your reasons for appealing, and:

  • A map that shows the proposed right of way.
  • Any relevant notices issued during the application (e.g. informing other landowners that you were applying for a change).
  • Any other documentation used to support your appeal (e.g. grounds for making the appeal).
  • The decision notice issued by the local council.
  • Confirmation that you already notified the local council about the appeal.

If you are making a direction request (e.g. the council did not make a decision) you will need to provide two (2) copies of:

  • The original application.
  • Confirmation that you notified the landowners about your original application.

Note: You can submit the form and relevant documents by email to [email protected].

After Making an Appeal

One of the roles of the Planning Inspectorate is checking that these types of appeals are valid. Following that, they will notify you of what happens next and how long the process is likely to take.

After the Planning Inspectorate considers the application, they will usually make their decision known within a period of about thirty (30) weeks (around twenty one weeks for direction requests).

Commenting on a Right of Way Appeal

Even though anyone can comment on a right of way appeal, the local council must inform all ‘interested parties’ (people who commented on the original application).

This notification must occur within fourteen (14) days from the date that the Planning Inspectorate validated the appeal.

If the Appeal is Successful

The Planning Inspectorate will instruct the local council to carry out the order (for schedule 14 appeals). Even so, they do not place any time limit on the council for doing so.

If your direction request appeal was successful, the Planning Inspectorate gives a time limit for the local council to make a decision on the original application.

Disagreeing with an Appeal Decision

Supposing you still disagree with the appeal decision (e.g. because you believe the Planning Inspectorate made a legal mistake). If so, you may be able to make a legal challenge through the Administrative Court.

Important: It would be prudent to seek professional advice from a lawyer (e.g. through the Law Society) before pursuing this option.

Appealing Right of Way Decision in United Kingdom