The government intends to press on with major changes to Land Registry of England and Wales, today’s Queen’s Speech to parliament confirmed.

A bill ‘to bolster investment in infrastructure and reform planning law to improve economic competitiveness’ will include statutory backing for new roles widely seen as ‘fattening up’ the body for privatisation. 

According to briefing notes published alongside the Queen’s Speech, a section in the Infrastructure Bill ‘would transfer statutory responsibility for the local land charges register and delivery of local land charges searches to the Land Registry’ as well as ‘supporting the delivery of digital services and extend Land Registry’s powers to enable it to provide information and register services relating to land and other property’.

The changes, which were the subject of two public consultations conducted earlier this year, are highly controversial.

Among critics of the planned take-over of local land charge searches from local authorities is the Law Society, which said the change could lead to a worse service for conveyancers. 

Land Registry's takeover of responsibility to local land charges would require amendments to the Local Land Charges Act 1975.

According to the government, other measures in the Infrastructure Bill will simplify the process for making changes to development consent orders (DCO) by speeding up non-material changes to an order, and allowing simplified processes for material changes.

If passed the bill would allow certain types of planning conditions to be discharged upon application if a local planning authority has not notified the developer of their decision within a prescribed time period.

‘It will also simplify the process of selling off public sector land, including from arm’s-length bodies.