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Written by Mike Jones

Land Registry has launched a consultation which it says is aimed at making the house buying process easier by bringing efficiencies to the property sector, digitising government services and making public data more easily accessible for the benefit of the wider economy.

After a successful prototype, Land Registry is publicy consulting on providing Local Land Charge searches in addition to keeping and maintaining the Land Register, where more than 23 million titles – the evidence of ownership in England and Wales – are documented.

Local Land Charge searches cover a wide range of property related entries including tree preservation orders and conservation areas. They are currently provided through 348 local authorities. Fees vary from £6 to £96 and the turnaround time varies from one to 40 days.

Ed Lester, Chief Land Registrar and Chief Executive 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.

"Given the importance of the UK property market to our economy we are trying to make a real difference to conveyancing efficiency by providing easy and transparent access to vital land and property information which also supports the Government’s digital by default agenda for public services.”

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