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Letter: registration frustrations

3 May 17

Frustrations are building at practical aspects of policy in relation to the Land Register, which Registers of Scotland seem unwilling to act on

I suspect the article by Donald Reid (Journal, March 2017, 33) may have evoked some response if solicitors are as frustrated as myself at the deterioration in the land registration system.

Two aspects are of particular concern to me.

The first arises from the variation from time to time of the Ordnance Survey Map. While the Land Register bears to be based on this map, it does not appear to take account of it being a fluctuating map. I have experienced difficulties where clients have found that the boundaries on the Ordnance map have moved but no change has been made to their title plans, and nothing has changed on the ground. This has seen a neighbour suddenly being shown as owning part of another’s property, I have known this to be a material and significant portion. The Keeper's response is that the title plan is unvariable, but this seems unsatisfactory when the information on what it is drawn can fluctuate. It is particularly unsatisfactory that a client can find themselves deprived of their property without even any intimation. It is also unsatisfactory that an apparently good title can be adjusted without any reference to the relevant interested parties.

The second aspect suggests that Registers are developing a less rather than a more practical system. I submitted a disposition as a first registration with a plan comprising six A3 sheets. This was accepted and registered. However, the land certificate issued has within it the plan on 135 A4 sheets. Concerned that this created practical difficulties in comparing the plan with the original disposition plan, I raised the matter with Registers, to be advised that “the processing does a calculation and decides if it is feasible or not to create an A0 version. In this case it did not. An A0 plan can be created by our GIS Team as a bespoke service similar to the service mentioned for shape files”.

I find it perplexing that the PAS can produce plans on A3 sheets which we can work with, even if they require to be spread across a floor, but the land certificates are produced in a less intelligible form.

In both these instances what is particularly disappointing is that Registers do not appear to recognise my concerns and we appear to be stuck with a system as it stands without any prospect of improvement.

Iain McDonald, Gillespie Gifford & Brown, Dumfries


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Registers of Scotland

Tuesday May 16, 2017, 14:10

The Land Register cadastral map is based, as Mr McDonald says, on the underlying Ordnance Survey base map. Where updates are made to this map, the Keeper will assess the impact of those amends on the cadastral map and make any consequential changes required. These changes can be broadly grouped into three categories.

First, there are changes internal to the boundaries of the plot, such as where the OS pick up a newly built extension to the property. Updates like this do not impact the boundaries of the plot and so no change is required to the cadastral map.

Secondly, there are changes to the base map which involve underlying features being repositioned within the published tolerances of the base map. Where this requires updates to the title boundaries on the cadastral map, the Keeper will make the changes required.

Thirdly, there are changes to the base map which go beyond the published tolerances. Where changes of this nature impact title boundaries, updates will be made by way of the rectification provisions in the 2012 Act, and proprietors will be informed.     

The Plans Assistance Service (PAS) is a digital service which provides customers with electronic map data created by interpreting title extent information and/or sasine descriptions with customers encouraged to submit this electronic data to RoS as part of their application for registration. Although the focus of the PAS service is to produce digital data, we do have a facility to produce, upon request, paper copies of these plans. 

It should be noted that at present PAS data is created on a system which is separate to our live production systems. This means that there will be occasions where we will be unable to issue paper copies of the registered title plan in the same way. For instance, plans greater in size than a single A0 page at a print scale of 1:10000 cannot be generated as one plan and will instead be made up of multiple A4 size prints. This also applies to plans captured at a print scale of 1:1250 or 1:2500 that cannot be re-scaled to 1:5000. We recognise that, for certain applications, this may lead to inconveniences, which is why we are prioritising the work to replace our legacy mapping systems to allow us to provide greater flexibility and delivery options to our customers.


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