Kirklees Council faces being taken to a public inquiry after refusing a Government request to re-route a public footpath.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has made a draft order to “stop up” part of a footpath at Wolfstones Heights Farm on Wolfstones Road in Holmfirth. The public right of way would be diverted onto the nearby rural road to avoid the farm, which is undergoing building works.
The move was previously rejected in January this year by an 11-1 vote, prompting an application direct to the DfT.
Objectors said creating an alternate route onto the road risked putting people at risk as it was “detrimental to highways safety”.
Local councillor Paul Davies (Lab, Holme Valley South), who sat on the Huddersfield Planning Sub-Committee that previously refused the diversion, commented: “The public loss would certainly not be outweighed by the value of whatever the private gain is.”
Members of the council’s Strategic Planning Committee on 16 September voted unanimously to refuse the diversion.
That means if Transport Secretary Grant Shapps decides to make the order to divert the footpath despite the council’s stance, he must hold a public inquiry.
A report to the committee said: “If the Secretary of State wishes to pursue an order, he would arrange a public inquiry, where the many arguments may be presented and considered, with opposing views on this contentious matter open to examination before the determining DfT inspector.”