HM Land Registry is hoping to complete building work on a digital register for local land charges (LLC) by 2023 after confirming that City of London Corporation has begun migrating its data to the central system, conveyancers heard yesterday. 

Local land charges data in England is currently held by 326 local authorities: 10 handle paper data only; 99 handle paper and digital data; 217 are fully digital. Land Registry hopes its 'one-stop shop' digital LLC search service will eliminate local variations provide data a lot earlier in the homebuying process. At present, search fees vary between £3 and £96 and turnaround times between one and 38 days.

Allison Bradbury, deputy programme director of Land Registry’s LLC programme, acknowledged that the project represents a 'big transition' for local authorities to make. Bradbury told the Conveyancing Association's annual conference in London yesterday that several councils have begun preparing their data.

City of London Corporation's data has begun migrating into the new register in a 'closed environment'. Land Registry will then test the data with conveyancers and search companies to ensure the register produces the correct results, such as information relating to tree preservation orders. However, City of London Corporation will not necessarily be the first one 'to go live', Bradbury said.

Land Registry announced its plans to take over th management of the local land charges register three years ago, despite overwhelming opposition in a public consultation.

Land Registry's latest annual report, published in July, stated that two development costs had been identified, a database to hold the information, and the data itself 'which needs to be cleansed, digitalised and migrated'.