The CROW Act 2000 stops-up, on 1st January 2026, most paths that had been
paths before 1949 and had not got put on the definitive map by 2026.
The Blue Book at page 130 last para seems to say that even if this stopping up
has taken place, you can use some or all of the years prior to the stopping up
for a section 31 claim, that is a claim based on use of the path by the public
for twenty years. This, if true, would mean that it is not quite so important to
record paths that are missing from the official definitive map but actually
walked daily by people: many urban alleyways, some green lanes.
But I question whether it is true. It sounds a bit
like saying that after a path is lawfully stopped up under HA80 s116 (in the magistrates'
courts) or under the Town & Country Planning Act process, then a claim
[HA80 s31] based on 20 years use prior to that stopping up could quickly open it up
again. The Blue Book says the relevant date (when status is called into
question) is the statutory stopping up date.
The Blue Book
authors are remarkably reliable and I may well have missed something, but this
particular issue, whether right or wrong, is treated a trifle inconsistently in the
book. At page 130 para 2 it says
a successful post-2026 claim can't be made if the claim is based alone on
documentary evidence pre-1949. But on page 131 para 2 the words 'on documentary
evidence alone' have
stretched to appear to be saying 'where...documentary evidence....exists', no
mention of alone here or how much or little documentary evidence may be needed to bar a claim.
And I see no reference to either 'alone' or 'with user evidence' in the CROW
The Act just stops up the path. We would be wise to assume that will kill all
and get on with making the claims and getting them on the map before the
But, as usual, people's views are sought on all these things
to basic issue page
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