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What do Land Registry Title plans show me

General Boundaries

Land Registry (LR) Title Plans use the Ordnance Survey (OS) mapping as a base for their ‘General Boundary' definition and do not ‘determine' the exact position of the boundary. As a result you may incorrectly assume that your property boundary is the line shown on the OS mapping or even the LR Title Plan.

Ordnance Survey map scales & accuracies

Land Registry Title Plans are based on Ordnance Survey mapping which is usually represented at one of the 3 main large scales of GB mapping (1:1250 - urban; 1:2500 - rural; 1:10,000 Mountain & moorland). These scales due to their inherent historical inaccuracies are notorious for being unable to clearly identify legal boundary positions. Measurements taken on the ground cannot be expected to match that scaled off the mapping or Land Registry Title Plan due to numerous reasons which a suitably qualified Chartered Land Surveyor can explain.

The situation is supported by OS statements that they do not survey boundaries, merely ground physical features. The actual property boundary therefore may be several metres from a physical feature on the ground and as shown on the map/Land Registry Title Plan. To get a definitive answer to your particular problem you require expert assessment from a Chartered Land Surveyor so that this opinion may be used in your defence of registered title.

Joint Statements

For your reference extracts of a joint statement by the Ordnance Survey and HM Land Registry are shown below.

Ordnance Survey - Property Boundaries

"Ordnance Survey maps never show legal property boundaries, nor do they show ownership of physical features. Although some property boundaries may be coincident with surveyed map features, no assumptions should be made in these instances and consequently it is not possible to be sure of the position of a legal property boundary from an Ordnance Survey map.

Land Registry uses Ordnance Survey mapping to provide a representation of where a property's boundaries are located."

Land Registry - General Boundaries

England and Wales operates a ‘general boundaries' system of land registration. A title plan with ‘general boundaries' shows the boundary of a property in relation to a given physical feature on the ground such as a wall or hedge as identified on the Ordnance Survey map.

The red edging on a Land Registry title plan is therefore not definitive as to the precise position of the boundaries. For this reason official copies of title plans carry the following warning.

This title plan shows the general position of the boundaries: it does not show the exact line of the boundaries. Measurements scaled from this plan may not match measurements between the same points on the ground.

This is a clear statement that Land Registry is unable to tell you precisely where a property boundary is located."

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DMC Registry Title Plans

The Dispute Mediation Consultancy offers a cadastre plan production service for new developers whereby a site survey, can be produced which shows all boundaries and respective measurements that may then be included as part of the Land Registry documentation.

This service helps determine absolute property boundaries and also any encumbrances or appurtenances making possession far stronger and the likelihood of a future boundary dispute minimal. This also has the benefit of added value to the property and gives confidence of tenure. These types of 'cadastral' plan have been shown to be particularly important as development takes place in the rural areas where Ordnance Survey mapping for Land Registration purposes is too small scale and unreliable, with known relative accuracy errors of rural mapping between  +/- 2.5 and 4.7m at 99% confidence level. Site specific 'Cadastre' surveyor's plans have been recommended by Court of Appeal Lord Justice Mummery's recent 2008 judgment.

For further advice and help please contact us.

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