Land Data
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ELECTRONIC PROPERTY SEARCH DATA – URBAN Vs. COUNTRYSIDE

Homeowners are warned to closely examine property search data supplied during house purchase to avoid costly mistakes, says the Council for National Land and Information Service (C-NLIS). While parking and building restrictions repeatedly cause the most problems for urban homebuyers, those heading for the country are advised to scrutinise search results for plans to build major roads and the potential presence of contaminated land.

C-NLIS manages the National Land Information Service (NLIS), which supplies searches from all Local Authorities in England and Wales. These searches include information on the most common restrictions or problems homebuyers should look for before purchasing a property, wherever they are looking to live whether it be in an urban or countryside setting.

URBAN SEARCH FACTORS

Parking
With parking space scarce in towns and cities, homebuyers should be concerned about their ability to park outside their potential new home. Buyers should ensure their Local Authority has been asked about any pending plans to restrict parking or to introduce residents parking.

Conservation Areas
Many homebuyers are prepared to pay extra to live in conservation areas. However, with the number of urban areas being protected by conservation restrictions increasing, buyers should be aware of designated or proposed conservation areas. Homes located in these areas will have strict planning restrictions attached to them to preserve them externally. This can often prevent any changes to the building, including the construction of extensions and conservatories.

Traffic control schemes
Traffic congestion, which is increasingly a problem in urban areas, means that homeowners could be affected by traffic control schemes. Road humps, one way systems, pedestrian crossings and road closures could all result in inconvenience and potentially affect access to the property.

COUNTRYSIDE SEARCH FACTORS

Roads
New roads are regularly built across the UK countryside to help solve congestion problems. Buyers should always ensure checks are made to see if any plans exist to build a motorway a major road or by-pass near their potential home , as, whilst this may improve access, it could also impact on the tranquility (and potentially the value) of the chosen property. Also, some roads in the country are private, meaning homeowners will have to fund any improvements and the roads won’t ever be swept or gritted by their local authority.

Contaminated land
A significant proportion of land previously used for industrial purposes is affected by contamination. A major concern for buyers is that if land adjacent to or adjoining their potential property has been identified as contaminated, this might affect the property, particularly if any watercourse runs through the land.

Trees
It is well worth checking to see whether any of the trees within and around a property are protected by a Tree Preservation Order. Buyers will not be able to remove the tree or indeed even branches, to either increase the light reaching their potential property or to widen their drive, without the express permission of their local authority.

Jan Boothroyd, Deputy Chief Executive of C-NLIS comments: “Local Authority searches are very comprehensive and can unearth a whole host of issues. Many affect the property irrespective of location but some key ones are particularly relevant when buying a property in either a town or a countryside location. With the introduction of HIPs, sellers should instruct their solicitor / HIP provider to carry out a full local property search. To ensure they find out about any restrictions that may affect the value or desirability of their property upfront, homebuyers should in turn check that a comprehensive search through the local authority has been carried out as part of a HIP.



For further information please contact:
Vicki Fletcher / Louise Marshall
The Wriglesworth Consultancy
Tel: 020 7845 7900
Email: v.fletcher@wriglesworth.com  

Notes to editors
About C-NLIS
C-NLIS manages NLIS, which was set up to support local authorities (LAs) and other property information holders in England and Wales in their move from manual to electronic provision of property information services. Through the NLIS hub, users can access information from 410 Local Authorities, national parks, Land Registry, the Coal Authority and water companies, in an electronic format. C-NLIS became a Community Interest Company in January 2006 in recognition of its commitment to making electronic property search information accessible to the general public and thereby improving the homebuying process.