CHESHIRE East Council has directed the creation of a public footpath in the land currently in use as Piccolino’s outdoor side terrace, but is expecting the issue to rumble on.

As reported in last week’s Guardian, the planning inspector sided with Knutsford Town Council and overruled the CEC public rights of way (PROW) committee’s decision to allow Piccolino to build its terrace, restricting public access in the process.

CEC has now been ordered to add the footpath between King Street and Old Market Place car park to its definitive map, but an appeal by Piccolino could see it go back to the planning inspector and a potential public inquiry.

CEC’s head of PROW Mike Taylor told committee members on Monday: “The council will now make an order as shown on the plan.

"That will go over to consultation and it’s very, very likely, I would imagine, that we would then see objections from the restaurant who have erected the outdoor terrace.

“That being the case, we will not be able to confirm the order and it will be passed to the planning inspector.

“Given that the appeal is from KTC, I would imagine that the planning inspector will hold a public inquiry.

“I think in these circumstances we will have to deal with a public inquiry.

“If the inspector decides in favour of the order, then it is again open to the objector to appeal that decision.

“Conversely, the objector could accept the decision, but in doing so it becomes a public footpath and it’s quite clearly the case that the seating area as it’s configured could not exist at the same time and would have to be removed.

“This has got, I would imagine, a little way to run.”

Committee member Cllr Les Gilbert said: “It’s unfortunate because it prevents the beneficial use of the land for other purposes when there appears to be perfectly adequate alternative access to the land at the rear.”

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