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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-land-charges-local-authority-pre-digitisation-and-migration-guide/local-land-charges-local-authority-pre-digitisation-and-migration-guide
Local authorities may need to complete a number of tasks to ensure the data in their local land charges (LLC) register is ready for digitisation and an efficient transfer with minimal referrals and queries. This document describes the tasks and the ideal position of a local authority’s data before the transfer starts.
HM Land Registry (HMLR) recognises that for some authorities transferring the existing local land charges registers, held in a range of formats, into a digital register is a complex task. We will work with the local authority to define the processes. This may be a combination of automatic methods and manual processing.
Any processes or changes agreed between HMLR and the local authority will be documented within the local business rules, a document created for each local authority by HMLR after analysis of the Local Land Charges data.
For queries about this guide, please contact email@example.com.
4. Pre-digitisation and transformation requirements
This section details the requirements to be met in order for migration to begin and are divided into those that:
- apply irrespective of how the LLC records are held (common requirements)
- are specific to how the LLC records or components are held (paper, electronic, digital)
- are specific to certain charge types
4.1 Common requirements
4.1.1 Register sources
The local authority must prepare an inventory identifying all the components of the register and supply it to HMLR.
Where the register is not a single entity then all sources that comprise the register or are used to produce a search result must be identified.
4.1.2 Missing data items
The LLC register must be complete and each LLC record must include the data items for each charge as described in Appendix 1: Minimum data items.
This also includes adding those mandatory data items that are currently missing. For the data items that are not currently recorded, HMLR will work with the local authority to identify and agree on a value for the missing items or means to populate them.
Appendix 1 lists the most common charge types.
Where a charge type does not appear in Appendix 1, the records must include those data items marked in ‘Other charge type’.
The supplier will need to know the location of the data items to be captured. Therefore HMLR will work with the local authority to identify the location of the data items within the existing LLC register and provide this to the supplier.
4.1.3 Expired charges
The local authority needs to make sure the following charges are removed from the records supplied to HMLR.
Where charges that have expired due to the repeal of the act under which they were created, they must be removed from the records. For example: Fenland Way charges, Part 3a Planning charges, Conditional Planning charges prior to 01/08/1977.
General financial charges
Where a general financial charge and a specific financial charge currently exists for the same interest, the General Financial charge must be removed from the records.
Where existing charges have a recorded expiry date, these will be captured by the supplier. A later process will then identify those where the expiry date has already passed and these will be referred back to the local authority for action.
Where LLC arising from planning are intermixed with other planning records, HMLR will assist in identifying methods and process to make sure only those that create an LLC are provided to the supplier.
4.1.5 Duplicate charges
Duplicate charges will be captured by the supplier but a subsequent process will be used to identify such charges. Any duplicate charges found will be referred back to the local authority for action.
Where a charge has been registered as a single charge against a street and also separately as a charge against each property within the street, then it must be treated as a multi-polygon charge. For example, an Article 4 notice where a registration has been created for Smith Street and also as separate registrations for every property in that street.
4.1.6 Spatial extent
Each charge should be accompanied by sufficient information to enable the digitisation and transformation supplier to create an accurate spatial extent for the charge. Where spatial extents currently exist within a Geographic Information System (GIS) then those extents fulfil this requirement provided those extents comply with this guide.
The methods for providing spatial information include the following.
Provide the charge affects the whole of an addressable property fully defined on the Ordnance Survey map as described in Data Entry Conventions and also in Best Practice for Basic Land and Property Unit (BLPU) Polygons then no further action is required. However, if the digitisation and transformation supplier is unable to reconcile the description with the current Ordnance Survey map these will be referred back for the extent to be defined.
If the charge is currently described in relation to a property that no longer exists or affects only part of an addressable property then a plan must be provided that identifies the land affected.
Where the charge affects land and/or property that is not addressable, the local authority must provide a plan (geographical representation) that identifies either:
- the extent of the land affected where the charge affects an area
- the position of the land affected where no area exists (for example, a Tree Preservation Order affecting a single tree). The plan must be reconcilable with the current large scale Ordnance Survey map (produced at 1/1250 or 1/2500 scale)
Any plan provided must:
- show its orientation (for example, a north point)
- show sufficient detail to be identified on the Ordnance Survey map
- clarify its general location by showing roads, road junctions or other landmarks
If the source documentation contains a suitable plan then it is acceptable to provide a copy of this plan.
Appendix 2 provides some examples of how to apply the above rules.
In order to provide a plan, the local authority can do one of the following. They can:
- digitise the extent of the charge into their existing system, providing the extent is linked to the appropriate charge (this assumes a digital system is already in place)
- clearly show the extent of the charge on a paper plan
- provide the plan (or copy) from the source documentation that clearly shows the extent of the charge
In addition, a description of the land and/or property affected must be provided that meets one of the following rules (in order of preference).
(a) Postal description
- 3 Smith Street, Mansfield, NG1 1XN
- First floor flat 3a, St Mary’s Flats, High Street, Peterborough, PE1 1XN
- Unit 15b Queensgate Centre, Peterborough, PE1 1XN
(b) By reference to an established geographic feature, including a description of the affected property/land
Land on the north side of Smith Street, Mansfield or Pumping Station on the north side of Smith Street, Mansfield
(c) By reference to an area, including a description of the charge
Smoke Control Zone 4, Mansfield or Conservation Area No 1, Mansfield. It is expected that this type of geographic description will be used where a charge affects a large area within the local authority.
Where errors in the LLC records are known to exist, which result in search results being amended before issue or come to light during normal operational processes, these should be corrected prior to the handover of records to the supplier.
Where the error is known to affect many records and the affected records can be identified, the local authority may arrange for a bulk update to be applied at the time of transfer by supplying the correct data to the digitisation and transformation supplier through the local business rules.
For the avoidance of doubt, the local authority does not need to update charges where they still refer to an originating authority that has either been superseded or changed its name. These are not considered to be errors and will not be amended to refer to the new name.
4.1.8 Place of inspection
The local authority will be asked to confirm or provide the appropriate place where further information can be found in respect of a charge. This can be either a physical or a virtual address; for example, an internet presence or email address or a combination of these.
Where changes to the place of inspection currently recorded is required then these changes must be agreed using the local business rules.
4.1.9 Authority file reference
The authority file reference must be a reference within the local authority, that allows the local authority, or someone seeking further information on a charge revealed on a search, to locate the source documentation (or a copy). A good example of this is a planning reference.
Multiple references will be allowed but it must be clear to which place of inspection they relate if appropriate.
The local authority must confirm in the local business rules the format in which the date is held.
Where this differs between different register sources the format applying to each source must be clearly identified to the digitisation and transformation supplier.
Note: for digital systems it is the way the date is held in the database that is required not the way it is displayed.
Format means the structure in which the date is held or written. Examples include:
4.2 Physical records
Physical records will need to be legible. Where the supplier is unable to determine the text, the record will be referred back to the local authority for advice.
4.2.2 Physical quality
Make sure the records are sturdy enough to enable scanning to happen.
4.3 Electronic records
Electronic records that consist of scanned images will need to be legible. Where the supplier is unable to determine the text, the record will be referred back to the local authority for advice.
The local authority must provide copies of the electronic charges to HMLR. The copy must be in an open and non-supplier specific format. The copy must include both the textual information and (where available) spatial information.
4.4 Digital records
HMLR is working with existing LLC software suppliers to understand how their systems currently hold data and we will work with the local authority to understand how the software system is used within the local authority.
HMLR will use (with local authority agreement) existing LLC software suppliers to extract the LLC data and separate requirements will be provided to the software suppliers.
Where the local authority extracts the data, this must be in an open and non-supplier specific format. The copy must include both the textual information and (where available) spatial information.
4.4.3 Expiry dates
There are examples where systems automatically enter an expiry date (for example 31/12/2099) that is not relevant for the charge in question. This seems to be a feature of the system.
Where an authority uses a system with such a feature then this must be identified in the local business rules as one not to be transferred by the supplier(s).
4.4.4 Unique property reference numbers
Where the charge is attached to a GeoPlace allocated/managed unique property reference number (UPRN), the current UPRN must be provided.
UPRN linked to spatial extent
Every local land charge in HMLR’s register will have a spatial extent. Where a UPRN is linked to a spatial extent, the spatial extent needs to be provided.
Where a UPRN is not linked to a spatial extent, the local authority must provide a spatial extent or a business rule whether the property can be mapped according to Ordnance Survey Mastermap or INSPIRE Index polygon.
4.4.5 Multi polygon charges
Where a single charge affecting multiple properties has had separate spatial extents created for each property affected then the authority will be asked to decide among three options on the action to be taken. They are to provide one of the following:
- the spatial extents from the existing system and ask the supplier to take no further action
- the spatial extents from the existing system and ask the supplier to merge adjoining extents into one
- the source documentation and ask the supplier to ignore the existing spatial extents and digitise from the source documentation
The decision taken must be recorded in the local business rules.
An example of this is where a smoke control zone has a polygon created for each affected property, resulting in many thousands of polygons rather than a single polygon for the whole extent affected by the smoke control zone.
4.5 Specific charge types
4.5.1 Listed building charge
The reference number for listed building charges should refer to the list entry number on the National Heritage List for England (known as ‘the List’) provided by Historic England.
Where possible the current List Entry Number provided by Historic England should be used as the reference number in the charge entry. If this is not available then the existing recorded list number is acceptable.
Each listed building entry requires a spatial representation of the real world object as listed.
- where the listing is of an actual building or buildings, then a polygon showing the extent of the land or property affected by the charge must be provided
- where the listing is of an object such as a milestone, boundary marker or gravestone, then point data is expected
- where the listing is of a linear feature such as a harbour wall then a line is expected
- since 2011 Historic England listings include in most instances the spatial representation according to the above specification (However before 2011, Historic England often provided the listing only as point data)
In order to meet the requirements of HMLR, the local authority must provide a spatial extent as described above.
Where (and in exceptional circumstances) an exact spatial extent cannot be clearly identified from the listing, the authority should provide a spatial extent that:
- is sufficiently large to minimise the risk of not identifying land that may be affected by the charge, which could lead to liability issues
- is not so large as to include land that is clearly not subject to the charge, which may lead to additional and unnecessary enquiries to the local authority
Where the spatial extent cannot be exactly defined, the authority should add the following note to the register entry:
“Refer to [name of relevant local authority] for details of the particular buildings, objects or structures constituting the listed building for the purposes of this charge.”
Where this note is added because an exact spatial extent cannot be provided, additional queries are very likely to be made to the local authority. This approach should therefore only be considered when absolutely necessary.
4.5.2 Light obstruction notice
The instrument for a light obstruction notice will be either:
- a temporary land tribunal certificate
- a definitive land tribunal certificate
Where a definitive land tribunal certificate has been issued for the light obstruction notice, then the dates of the temporary certificate are not required.
The extent required is that of the dominant building. See section about spatial extent for details on providing extents.
The date charge created is not required for light obstruction notices because for this type of charge, the charge is not created until it is registered.
4.5.3 General financial charges
While the Local Land Charges Rules 1977 do not require a ‘place of inspection’ for general financial charges the draft rules do require a “Where further information about charge can be obtained” location for all charges. As such this must be provided. See section on place of inspection for details of the type of location that can be accepted.
5. Appendix 1: Minimum data items
The table in Appendix 1 shows a list of data items by charge type. The ‘most common charge types’ are listed across the top of the table. The data items required for each charge are listed down the left column headed ‘existing particulars’. This column lists the data items that should be available and clearly identified for each charge type as shown.
The mandatory items are pieces of information that must be supplied for the charge type where indicated. The conditional items will be entered on each charge if the information is available. The boxes marked C1 are supported by text in the guide.
Where the charge type does not appear in the appendix then those data items marked in the column ‘other charge type’ are required.
6. Appendix 2: Property descriptions and plans
Appendix 2 provides examples of where a plan would be required and where the property description would be sufficient to determine an extent.
For charges affecting properties within the areas edged in orange there is sufficient detail to confidently define an extent by (if necessary) projecting the side boundaries to meet the road.
For charges affecting properties within the areas edged in blue, there is insufficient detail to confidently define an extent either because of:
- (A) a lack of detail defining any part of the property
- (B) a difficulty in determining the frontage of property
- (C) a lack of clarity about how the properties adjoin
- (D) where the front of the property ends
Authority file reference
This is the reference within the authority that can be used to identify the supporting documentation for the charge (such as the planning reference or file reference).
Consists of structured data items that reside in fixed fields within a record. These items can be extracted by machine without human intervention or the need for software to recognise the items as they are always held in a pre-defined place.
This category includes LLC data that is held in Word documents, scanned paper records, Excel spreadsheets and microfilm images (microfiche). Although held electronically, data items cannot be reliably extracted automatically by machine without either human intervention or the need for additional software to validate the nature of the item (optical character recognition for example).
Consists of a combination of both digital LLC data (see definition for Digital) and non-digital data which is either in electronic or paper format (and may include microfiche).
The document such as order, notice, transfer that created or creates the actual charge.
The LLC data is held in a paper format, no electronic or digital means is used in the process.This category includes paper documents, index cards and any record that must be physically inspected.
The Act (Local or National) under which the charge is created, including the appropriate section; for example: section 106 Town & Country Planning Act 1990.
An organisation contracted by HMLR tp provide services to enable the migration of the LLC register.