Kent County Council has successfully prosecuted a large-scale developer for unlawfully obstructing, and disturbing the surface of, a restricted byway running through its development site. The developer had, inter alia, built buildings over the route of the highway, blocking its use for users of the rights of way network.
The defendant organisation pleaded guilty to a breach of section 137 (wilful obstruction) and section 131A (disturbance of surface) of the Highways Act 1980 and agreed to pay the prosecution’s costs of £20,000.
The court fined the defendant a further £800 per offence and indicated that if it is not possible to resolve the situation in a reasonable timeframe by way of a diversion order then it would be open to the Council to re-prosecute and/or make an application for a section 137ZA order, under the Highways Act 1980, requiring the buildings to be removed.
Merrow Golden represented Kent County Council