Plymouth Newsroom, latest news and information Love Our Past Small RIBA photographic competition graphic


Mail :
Secretary to the Plymouth Local Access Forum
Chief Executives Department
Plymouth City Council
Plymouth PL1 2AA
Phone :
01752 307990
Email :
Fax :
01752 304819


Public footpath sign

Plymouth's Local Access Forum

What is a Local Access Forum?

Local Access Forums (LAFs) are statutory bodies established by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW). Every local and national park authority in the country has one. Their primary role is to provide strategic advice on the improvement and development of public access to land within their area.

Who sits on the Local Access Forum

Each forum consists of members representing a range of different interests, including:

  • People who own or manage land over which the public have a right of access
  • People who use land in Plymouth for recreation
  • People who have other interests that we think are relevant to Plymouth such as health, coastal access, tourism, outdoor education, nature conservation, transport, local heritage and improving access for disabled people and excluded groups

We try to achieve a balance of different and potentially conflicting views that we feel is representative of the local population. A full list of Plymouth LAF Members can be found on our membership page.

Who can the LAF give advice to?

The forum can provide advice to a number of specified public bodies. These are often called Section 94 bodies because the list of bodies that advice can be given to is contained in section 94 of the Countryside and rights of Way Act. The section 94 bodies are:

  • Appointing authority (Plymouth City Council)
  • County, District, Town and Parish councils
  • Government departments (which have a Secretary of State)
  • AONB Conservation Boards
  • Sport England
  • Natural England
  • Highways Agency
  • Forestry Commission
  • English Heritage
  • Planning Inspectorate

When the forum gives advice to a section 94 body they are required to take note of the advice. This does not mean that the body is required to follow that advice, but they must take it into account in their decision making. Where the advice is not followed they should be capable of providing justification for not following it.

What can a Local Access Forum give advice on?

Although Plymouth City Council supports the forum and appoints its members the LAF is not part of the council. Therefore the LAF can set out its own priorities for discussion and may give advice on any topic that it considers relevant. The range of topics that might be discussed by a LAF is wide-ranging and varied. Example topics might include:

  • Discussing the way we handle public rights of way
  • Helping us with, and giving opinion on our Rights of Way Improvement Plan
  • Telling us and our partners what they think of our various recreation and access strategies
  • Commenting on wider plans and strategies for landscape, recreation, transport, health, tourism and information
  • Managing public access on Access Land and Common Land
  • Utilitarian access (to shops, bus stops, schools and local services)
  • Access to inland water or the coast
  • Telling us if the strategies and policies currently in place suit different types of users and whether they reflect the needs of local people and businesses
  • Commenting on Planning applications/Local Development Frameworks
  • National policy development
  • Looking for ways to encourage landowners to make more areas available for the public to use
  • Finding new ways of getting money so we can make improvements
  • Commenting on new large-scale developments so that peoples' use and enjoyment can be made better

How can I find out more about the Plymouth Local Access Forum?

The Plymouth forum has a dedicated Secretary who will be happy to answer your questions. You can contact the secretary on 01752 307990 or email All forum meetings are open to the public and you can find out where and when the next meeting is on the agendas, meetings and minutes page along with copies of meeting minutes. The Forum also publishes an annual report which summarises what they have done that year which is available below.