A £1,500 order will be made to recognise a footpath as a public right of way – despite concerns over it causing inconvenience to a landowner.

An application for a definitive map modification order came before the traffic committee at the Town Hall on Tuesday.

It concerned a footpath running from the Bridgewater Canal towpath to Bellhouse Lane.

The owner of the land crossed by the path requested that the application path be considered for extinguishment under section 118 of the Highways Act as, in their view, it is not needed for public use due to the existence of the canal access on the opposite side of Bellhouse Lane.

But, following lengthy discussions, the traffic committee approved the recommendation for the order to be made.

The order will modify the definitive map and statement of public rights of way by adding a recognised footpath, running from the Bridgewater Canal towpath to Bellhouse Lane.

Council officers said evidence provided indicates the path has been used frequently by a small number of people, and on a consistent basis, throughout a 20-year period.

They added that it is considered 'on the balance of probabilities' that public use has been continuous and unchallenged for 20 years prior to the challenge this year.

Committee member Cllr Ryan Bate (LD – Grappenhall) put forward his views on the issue.

He said: "I have lived in Grappenhall since 1994 and I can honestly say that I have never used the steps outside the house where this right of way is.

"I know, from anecdotal experience, that it has been used but I have, personally, never used it.

"I would probably always prefer not to use it given the proximity to the house – that is just my own outlook.

"But what strikes me through all of this is an issue of pragmatism.

"It seems to me, personally, that there is a greater inconvenience to the residents who have got people, perhaps, using their driveway as a right of way.

"There is not only steps access on the other side of the road, there is also step-free access, which you would have to go further for.

"But I've seen plenty of people, while I've been walking through the village, who have pushchairs and buggies and wheelchairs, who have used the step-free access."

Committee chairman Cllr Steve Parish (LAB – Chapelford and Old Hall) labelled the application as awkward and said he has some sympathy for the landowner.

The cost of making and confirming a definitive map modification order will be in the region of £1,500.