Rights of Way

Information for landowners

 This relates to section 31(6) of the Highways Act 1980

Protection for landowners against the establishment of public rights of way

Landowners in the borough, whether they already have public rights of way running across their land or not, may be interested to know about the revised application/recording procedure for depositing a map and statement with the council to the effect that they have no intention to dedicate new/further routes across their land

How can a public right of way or town/village green become established?

Anyone can make an application under Section 31 (6) of the Highways Act 1980 to establish a public right of way through land. A public right of way such as a footpath or a bridleway may be recorded if it is proven that there has been at least 20 years uninterrupted use of a way by the public “ as of right”  (without force, secrecy or permission). This is known as deemed dedication.

I am a landowner, what can I do to prevent an application being successful?

A land owner can show that they have no intention of dedicating a public right of way if they undertake obvious actions to make it clear to the public that they have no ‘right’ to cross or be on his/her land.

What could these obvious actions be?

  • The erection of carefully worded notices sited in relevant locations
  • The locking of gates once a year
  • Challenges to users of the way or area, making a note of dates times and names if possible
  • The depositing of a statement and map followed by a subsequent declaration under section 31(6) of the 1980 Act for public rights of way

What does depositing a map and statement do?

Section 31(6) of the 1980 Act enables a landowner to submit  a statement with a map, followed by a declaration, with the council, acknowledging any existing public rights of way across their land  at the same time as declaring that they have no intention to dedicate any additional route to the public.

What does depositing a map and statement NOT do?

This process has no effect on the existence of public rights of way already shown on the definitive map or otherwise shown to carry public rights, including by deemed dedication if used for 20 years, before the map and statement was deposited. It is important to know that this process does not apply to cases where an application to record a public right of way is based on historical documentary evidence. 

Can I see applications that have been made?

Once a map and statement is lodged with the council, the details are made available in the deposit register. You can view copies of landowner statements and declarations.

Making an application

If you think this procedure could be of benefit to you can download the guidance notes and application forms  complete and return to Civic Centre, Stockwell Close, Bromley, BR1 3UH.

There is a fee but this varies depending on the application requirements. (Cheques should be made payable to London Borough of Bromley). 

Customer contact centre

Tel: 0300 303 8658

Civic Centre, Stockwell Close, Bromley, BR1 3UH