Q&As

A public footpath runs along a sea wall which forms part of a farm. Does the vesting of the footpath pursuant to section 263 of the Highways Act 1980 prevent the farmer from grazing his cattle on that land?

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Published on LexisPSL on 20/09/2018

The following Planning Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • A public footpath runs along a sea wall which forms part of a farm. Does the vesting of the footpath pursuant to section 263 of the Highways Act 1980 prevent the farmer from grazing his cattle on that land?

Section 263 of the Highways Act 1980 (HiA 1980) provides that every highway maintainable at the public expense, vests in the authority of who is the highway authority for that highway. The effect of HiA 1980, s 263 is that the highway authority actually becomes the owner of the highway in respect of so much of the air above and of the soil below as is necessary to the ordinary user of the footpath (in this scenario) to use as a footpath, and no more. The effect therefore is to take enough for the use as a highway, but no more—the remainder of the land remains vested in the previous landowner: Finchley Electric Light Co v Finchley UDC. As Denning LJ, as he then was, stated in Tithe Redemption Commission

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