Footpath moved to give property more privacy

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A public footpath in Ribble Valley is to be diverted so that it no longer runs up the driveway of a private property.

The route, off Ribchester Road - known by ramblers as Dinkley 12 - passes alongside a series of former agricultural buildings which have now been converted for domestic use.

Lancashire County Council’s regulatory committee approved the application, which will lengthen a walk along the path by more than 30m. It will also mean that the route will no longer emerge directly opposite a second path into a neighbouring field.

However, a report to the committee noted that “the sole use of this footpath is for recreational purposes, rather than commuting between specific locations - therefore, the increase in length is likely to be considered insignificant”.

The owners of the property are to cover the cost of the diversion, which will include providing access gates and a hard surface for the path itself. They will also pay for the redesigned route to be advertised.

Members heard that the householder was concerned not just about their own security - but the safety of the footpath’s users.

“We can appreciate why the residents have come to us,” Jayne Elliott, committee officer, told councillors. “There are not just issues of privacy, but also vehicle access [to the property]”.

Committee member David Howarth agreed with the proposal, but added: “It might have been more prudent to [make the application] before they had converted the barn, rather than after they’d done it.”

Any variation to a public right of way has to take into account the new point at which it emerges onto the road network. The meeting heard that the change was unlikely to be less convenient for walkers, because the relevant section of Ribchester Road is straight and has good visibility at both the current and amended exit point from the footpath.

The new route is of a largely similar gradient to the one which it replaces and the meeting heard that walkers may feel “more comfortable” using the new path, as it will be fenced off from the private areas of the property.