Readers have until Sunday 9 March to respond to our consultation on widening our powers and providing Local Land Charges searches.

The first part seeks views on extending our powers to provide information and register services relating to land and other property. This would enable us to play a wider role in facilitating the land and property market.

The second part relates to our proposals in one such area: to seek authority to take over the statutory function for holding and maintaining a composite Local Land Charges Register for England and Wales.

This would also involve the provision of Local Land Charges searches and together would enable us to provide a more consistent, standardised Local Land Charges searches system.

The fees for the searches currently provided by 348 local authorities in England and Wales vary from £6 to £96 and the turnaround time from one to 40 days.

Chief Land Registrar and Chief Executive Ed Lester said: “There are huge variations in how Local Land Charges information is held across local authorities, ranging from paper record cards and plans to scanned data and microfiche, resulting in variations in cost, quality and speed.

“We are trying to make a real difference to conveyancing efficiency by providing easy and transparent access to vital land and property information.”

Sefton, Denbighshire, Newark and Sherwood, Swindon, Havant, Watford and Liverpool councils helped trial a prototype service last year.

Liverpool City Council Technical Support Manager Pete Flynn said his local authority had been pleased to be involved. “Together we demonstrated that this could work and that if Land Registry were to roll this out then there could be benefits to the conveyancing process in the UK,” he said.

Land Registry has also explored using open standards for local authorities to publish Con 29 information and will be working with a range of stakeholders and the market to develop a prototype for Con 29 searches.

Public consultation on Land Registry

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is asking for views on proposals to create a new company to take on service delivery functions from Land Registry. The consultation closes on Thursday 20 March.

Gavin Curry
By Gavin Curry,
Digital Communications and Editorial Officer at HM Land Registry