Public Footpath 73 leading into Porthkerry Park at Clos Cwm Barri remains closed
Careful consideration has been given to this path and its position in relation to residential properties in the context of the current health protection regulations in force and to various representations received. For this reason, the Council has made a decision to temporarily retain the closure of FP73. This decision will be subject to periodic review which will take into account the release of updated advice and guidance as and when this is provided. The closure will be further considered on the basis of any amendments to health protection Regulations and Welsh Government guidance issued following further review.
The path has been closed under section 9 of The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020, as amended. The decision to re-close the path was made using the Council’s Coronavirus Emergency Powers procedures and was re-authorised on 15th June.
The Council currently considers that in balancing risk against inconvenience to the public and possible alternative routes, the balance is presently in favour of temporary closure.
The Council will be reviewing this position in the week 29 June - 03 July having regard to all relevant matters and this page of the website will be updated accordingly following this review.
It should be noted that the current obstruction of the path is not a breach of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act as that Act and any obstruction would normally be enforced under the Highways Act 1980, but as the public’s right to free passage has been suspended an offence does not currently arise.
All other closures, which were introduced as part of coronavirus measures, have now been lifted.
When making use of public paths please exercise responsibly, stay local and follow public health advice.
Following the lockdown landowners have raised concerns about increased use of public rights of way on their property, increased numbers of dogs, and perceived risks of exposure to Covid-19 for residents and farm workers, particularly where family members are either vulnerable and/or self-isolating.
To help address this, the Welsh Government have published guidance: 'Stay active, stay healthy, stay local' and increased messaging around responsible recreation.
Landowners do not have the legal right to block or obstruct public rights of way or access land. However, in very limited circumstances where large numbers of people are using such routes or where residents are vulnerable or self-isolating, landowners may consider the following measures:
Temporarily displaying polite notices that encourage users to respect local residents and workers by following social distancing guidelines and consider using alternative routes that do not pass through gardens or farmyards*.
Offering an alternative route around gardens and farmyards only where it is safe to do so (you must gain permission from relevant landowners and make sure the route is safe for users and livestock) provided that the original right of way is maintained.
*This is a polite request only, and there is no power under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW) or the Highways Act 1980 for landowners to close or obstruct a public right of way or use of access land
Key points to note under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 and the Highways Act 1980:
Under Section 137 the Highways Act 1980 and section 14 of CROW it is an offence to obstruct the free passage along a public right of way or Access Land.
It is an offence under Section 57 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 to display a notice that contains “any false or misleading statement likely to deter the public from using” a right of way.
It is also an offence under section 14 of CROW to display a sign which deters the public from exercising their right to use that access land.
It is an offence under Section 132 of the Highways Act 1980 to display on the surface of a public right of way or on any tree or structure within the public right of way any unauthorised sign or mark.
Land owners may be liable for personal injury under section 2 of the Occupiers' Liability Act 1957 and Section 1 of the Occupiers' Liability Act 1984 if they are reckless or intend to create a risk – for example by offering a dangerous alternative.