Fear and Loathing in the land of Con29
29 Jun 2016 |
After attending a workshop delivered by David Kaye on behalf of CoPSO on the impending changes to the Con29 in London today, I concluded the following:
It could be worse and the general feeling I came away with is that it fell on the better side of the fence than it might have done.
One of the reasons for this is that a lot of the information on the new Con29 form are immediately registerable. As soon as the notices (which ones) are issued, they should be sent to Land Charges at the same time, meaning that if we don’t find them in a search of the LC register, then we can confidently answer ‘no’.
Another reason is that, for much of the other information, the councils are obliged to maintain public registers to hold it and in relation to some of the answers, they are required to put the information on their websites, which makes it easier for us to obtain the information as there are fewer hoops to jump through.
We discussed the questions that relate to the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). Much of this seems to be straightforward as there are only a small number of councils which have a CIL charging structure in place. For the majority of councils the answer to these questions will be ‘no’, all the way down the list. Potential problems may arise when attempting to obtain answers to questions for which there are no current systems in place at the councils to provide them.
In cases like this research has suggested that councils require EIR/ FOI requests to be made. This in itself will take time as companies wait for a response. An increase in turnaround time across the board for PLAS searches seems to be inevitable at the councils which have a CIL in place. Although clearly we will work our very hardest to ensure these will be kept to a minimum.
However, this is tempered by the fact that these increases will occur across the board, and will also affect the councils’ own Official Searches. We will be monitoring this closely in order to see if councils produce these in a shorter time than that in which we can produce Personal Searches. If this happens, we will address this accordingly.
In short, the majority of the information should be freely and easily available, and the in turnaround time should only increase at those few councils which have a CIL in place.
Our team are already in the process of making enquiries at councils to ascertain exactly what is available and how we obtain it, and it goes without saying that despite the apparent lack of preparation of many councils regarding the changes to the Con29, of which they have had as much notices as we have had, CDS will continue to turn around excellent quality searches in the shortest possible time.
Personal Search Agent Team Leader
The above represents a personal view and does not, in any way reflect the views of Conveyancing Data Services Ltd.