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Thread: Locating & Contacting Landowners

  1. #1
    mjtickner Guest

    Default Locating & Contacting Landowners

    I'm thinking about placing a cache of my own down. But I'm having problems identifying and locating the landowner who would be affected.

    Since the area that I am considering is a public right of way, I did contact the public rights of way department at my local council - but got the advice to try the land registry.

    However, using the electronic "find a property" service (costs about £4 per search) it doesn't seem to be able to find anything for the location I'm looking at. There is a title search available which doesn't require a postcode, but that's out of my budget at £37!

    Are there any other ways of identifying an owner when it isn't signposted? Specifically the footpath I'm looking at is a narrow tract of woodland running between two commercial business parks. Therefore I assume the land could belong to the developers/tenants on either side.

    One other footpath I'm looking at is running through a village green. I would assume that the council might own that now. But I could be wrong of course.

    I'd appreciate any helpful advice pointing me in the right direction

  2. #2

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    It sounds like you've tried all the obvious ways to find out. You could try to contact the management company for the business parks either side but you're probably into diminishing returns now.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by mjtickner View Post
    Specifically the footpath I'm looking at is a narrow tract of woodland running between two commercial business parks. Therefore I assume the land could belong to the developers/tenants on either side.
    I would expect the business parks will not be owned by the comanies that are there, they're probably owned by a 3rd party, why not pop into reception in one or two of the businesses and ask if they have a contact number for the business park management agents?

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by mjtickner View Post
    Since the area that I am considering is a public right of way, I did contact the public rights of way department at my local council - but got the advice to try the land registry.
    If it's an adopted footpath (ie the council maintain it) the land beneath the path will be owned by one person, but the responsibility for the upkeep of the path (ie resurfacing) will be the council's. Neither of which really helps as you're looking at two sets of owners...! For cache placement you're probably going to deal with the council (if the path is adopted). If it's just a public footpath (ie unmade) it would be the landowner's permission you'd need. That said I have seen comments about being able to place caches on public right of ways and whether you need permission, with the conclusion that it shouldn't be a problem. I guess if you've made all reasonable endeavours and have still drawn a blank, and the cache location is fairly non-invasive (ie you're not drilling into a post, just hiding something under or in something) you should be OK.

    Quote Originally Posted by mjtickner View Post
    However, using the electronic "find a property" service (costs about £4 per search) it doesn't seem to be able to find anything for the location I'm looking at. There is a title search available which doesn't require a postcode, but that's out of my budget at £37!
    I do a fair amount of title searches at work and yes, it can mount up! There is a Search of the Index Map feature (used to be free, now £5 minimum ) which allows you to submit a plan with the area you're interested in highlighted and the Land Reg will try and find the owner. The plan needs to be fairly clear, else they will just reject the search, they're fun like that :

    Quote Originally Posted by mjtickner View Post
    Are there any other ways of identifying an owner when it isn't signposted? Specifically the footpath I'm looking at is a narrow tract of woodland running between two commercial business parks. Therefore I assume the land could belong to the developers/tenants on either side.
    The remaining strip of land could either belong to either of the business park developers, it could have been retained by the previous land owners, or it could even be unregistered! The search of the index map will tell you if it is registered, but often if it hasn't changed hands in recent years (say since the 1980's or so) it may be owned, but not registered with the Land Reg.

    Quote Originally Posted by mjtickner View Post
    One other footpath I'm looking at is running through a village green. I would assume that the council might own that now. But I could be wrong of course.
    A village green could be council owned (either district, town/village or parish) or it could be privately owned but publicly used. If it's been in the same ownership for a long time, it may be unregistered, or in fact no-one might own it! Best place to start is the parish/town council and work up from there.

    Land ownership is a messy business - I'm just glad I'm not a solicitor trying to sort it all out!!

    Quote Originally Posted by mjtickner View Post
    I'd appreciate any helpful advice pointing me in the right direction
    I'm sincerely hoping I haven't confused the issue further! More than happy to help with searches if you need it, I quite enjoy the forensic part of trying to work out who owns what! I know, I need to get out more...

    Regards, Matt

  5. #5
    mjtickner Guest

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    Thanks for that Matt,

    I didn't know about that tile search facility, the Land Registry don't make it easy to find things. I suspect that the index search might not work for me since on my OS 1:25000 map the target area is 2mm x 2mm

    I can't be 100% sure, but the old maps of the area seem to indicate that my footpath has been present since the 1880's at least (probably earlier). It's actually part of a local intermediate distance footpath that circles my town. So it's most likely to be unregistered. I might risk assuming permission - I mean the worst that happens is GC archives the cache.

    Ironically, my company are apparently about to rent a parcel of land in the same industrial park and adjacent to another stretch of footpath, but not at a spot that is really suitable to the placement of caches. Unfortunately the land owner for the segment they are going to rent doesn't look to be the same as the bit I'm interested in.

    The village green area falls under the control of the local council parks and gardens department - the only problem is that all the seats are of a design that don't aid hiding a micro, children play in the tree line and the only area that has good (non-spikey) dense bushes is right next to the childrens play area. So it's really muggle territory and nothing obviously suitable for cache placement. I did have the bright idea of hiding a magnetic micro on a double sided sign, but it's 7ft up!

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by mjtickner View Post
    I did have the bright idea of hiding a magnetic micro on a double sided sign, but it's 7ft up!
    I've found a few like that.
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by mjtickner View Post
    I did have the bright idea of hiding a magnetic micro on a double sided sign, but it's 7ft up!
    Ha! 7' is nothing, but I am 6'3" so have a slight advantage on that front...!

    If you wanted to use the search facility on LR you can buy 1:500 maps from a number of sources, or the alternative is to get the title plan for the adjacent plot and use that, as it will by definition be one they can use! The form can be found by going to the LR site and using their search facility for "Search of the Index Map", this returns the SIM form as one of the results.

    Glad to have helped a little.

    Matt

  8. #8
    mjtickner Guest

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    Well, it seems that a few things have become clearer.

    For the first location;

    It seems that all the land in the area was held by the local county council, patches of the land have been sold off to a developer who then sells it to a holding company that rents it to the tenants. The land under my office is ultimately held by an insurance company. The council have tended to sell the public rights of way with the land parcels.

    Therefore itís probably that if I did do a search at the land registry, it would find the exact plot of land is owner by a holding company who ultimately will probably be owned by an insurance/investment company.

    For the second location;

    Iím not keen on a 7 ft sign Ė mostly because I wonít be able to reach it to place it! Although, that would keep it out of the reach of most muggles! How unfriendly would it be considered to put a cache in a thorn bush?

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by mjtickner View Post
    How unfriendly would it be considered to put a cache in a thorn bush?
    Don't see a problem with that, I've found loads, and have placed one, in prickly bushes.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by mjtickner View Post
    How unfriendly would it be considered to put a cache in a thorn bush?
    I found one once that was in the middle of one of the largest holly bushes I've ever seen!
    ​​Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light. (Dylan Thomas)​


  11. #11

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    Gorse bushes are a very popular place to hide caches down in Cornwall

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by mjtickner View Post
    Well, it seems that a few things have become clearer.

    For the first location;

    It seems that all the land in the area was held by the local county council, patches of the land have been sold off to a developer who then sells it to a holding company that rents it to the tenants. The land under my office is ultimately held by an insurance company. The council have tended to sell the public rights of way with the land parcels.

    Therefore itís probably that if I did do a search at the land registry, it would find the exact plot of land is owner by a holding company who ultimately will probably be owned by an insurance/investment company.

    For the second location;

    Iím not keen on a 7 ft sign Ė mostly because I wonít be able to reach it to place it! Although, that would keep it out of the reach of most muggles! How unfriendly would it be considered to put a cache in a thorn bush?
    It sounds odd that the right of way has been sold. I didn't think that was possible.

    If the cache is placed sensibly and is easily accessed from the RoW I wouldn't think that in practice any letter from such a landowner would have any meaning, whatever the wording. It's wise to keep cache placing in perspective; using a bit of common sense you're not likely to cause a nuisance to anyone, and if a landowner does complain then you simply remove the cache. Problem solved in a trice.

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