There is a planning application for a housing development that will block a well-used path. Local people think that it is a right of way. What can be done?

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You can object to the planning application on the grounds that it will affect the right of way.  Planning permission can still be granted, even if there is a right of way, provided that the right of way is protected in the development. This may mean that a country path will become a pavement, but this is not a legal ground for objection.