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Highway stopping-up orders

​​​Applications can be made to 'stop up' highways affected by development for which planning permission has been granted.


All public rights of way, whether open to vehicles, horse riders, cyclists or pedestrians are highways. A highway is land over which the public has a right of passage. Footpaths and bridleways are known as public paths. Local authorities and the Secretary of State for Transport have powers to create, divert or extinguish highways and public paths.


Orders may be made by the council under section 270 of the Greater London Authorities Act 1999 schedule 22 which provides for stopping up and diversion orders to be made by London Boroughs rather than the Secretary of State. The main provisions amend part X of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 

Section 247/248: Stopping up and diversion of highways

Applications must relate to highways (as defined in the Highways Act 1980), which are open to the public and not already obstructed. Orders made under Section 247 cannot be retrospective. If the highway in question is already stopped up, developers should seek an order from a magistrate's court in accordance with section 116 of the 1980 Act. Section 248authorises the stopping up of highways, which cross or enter the route of a main highway for which there is a planning permission for construction or improvement.

Section 249: Extinguishing the right to use vehicles on highways other than trunk or principal roads

Local authorities can also apply (under Section 249 of the 1980 Act) to extinguish rights to use vehicles on highways, other than trunk or principal roads. Applications can be made where the authority have formally resolved to adopt a proposal to improve the amenity of part of their area, including a highway, such as pedestrianisation schemes in town centres.

Section 253: Stopping up or diversion of highways where planning permission has not yet been granted

This section permits applications under sections 247 and 248 to be made in the absence of a full planning permission. It applies in circumstances where:

  • the applicant is a local planning authority or statutory undertaker; 
  • the application for planning permission has been called-in for decision by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government; or
  • the application for planning permission is the subject of an appeal to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning.

Footpaths and bridleways

Local highway authorities have the power (under Section 257 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990) to make an order authorising the stopping up or diversion of any footpath or bridleway, if they are satisfied that it is necessary in order to enable development to be carried out. If objections are made to such orders, a local inquiry will be held and the matter determined by a Planning Inspector. Act 1990.