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Modification Orders Revised Policy Statement

Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, Part III

Revised Policy Statement Issued: January 2024

Statement of Priorities for Processing Applications for Definitive Map Modification Orders

In accordance with the recommendations of the Secretary of State, Cornwall Council publishes this statement setting out its priorities for bringing and keeping the Definitive Map of Public Rights of Way up to date.  Cornwall Council will consider applications for Definitive Map Modification Orders (DMMOs) and proposals for modification of the Definitive Map and Statement according to the following criteria:

Subject to exceptional circumstances, Cornwall Council will determine applications and proposals to modify the Definitive Map and Statement whether made under Schedule 14 or 15 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 in accordance with its Priority Policy.  All applications will be scored using a matrix scoring system to prioritise claims of rights that are aligned to Cornwall Council’s Strategic Mission of ‘working with communities for a carbon neutral Cornwall, where everyone can start well, live well and age well’. Applications that receive the same matrix score will be listed by the date that the application was validated.  Priority will be given to applications where the effect of the path is:

  1. to enhance the safety of the user by providing off road connections to centres of work and schools including links to the school transport network; and
  2. to provide links with existing public rights of way, enhancing the path network or offering onward connections to nearby communities; and
  3. to maximise sustainable transport links; and
  4. to promote and encourage healthy active lifestyles by forming part of a longer recreational route; and
  5. to improve access to nature, including green and blue spaces and public interest points for both local communities and visitors; and
  6. to potentially offer a more accessible route to users; and
  7. has a time sensitive element.

Recognising that applications supported by evidence of use (Public Path User Forms) should be expedited to avoid evidence being lost and to ensure witnesses are still available, if required, at the decision making and public inquiry stage, Cornwall Council will process 3 applications based on user to every 1 application supported by historical documents.  In order for an application to be considered a user based claim, the number of witnesses and quality of the evidence must reach a sufficient threshold to represent a realistic prospect of succeeding at statute that would reasonably lead the Council to consider the case under section 31 Highways Act 1980.    

In exceptional circumstances, Cornwall Council may promote an application and give it a higher priority, but this decision will be at the discretion of the authority and will be based upon a consideration of relevant factors. 

Revised 12th January 2024

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