HM Land Registry has been hit by a technical setback in its efforts to reform local land charges data. It has been forced to disable local land charge searches for Peterborough City Council, whose data only moved over to a digital, central database last Friday.

Peterborough City Council was the eighth council to migrate its data to the national register. Land Registry said it is investigating a 'technical issue'.

Land Registry said: 'We are working to rectify this as soon as possible. While we do this searches for Peterborough are unavailable. Searches for all other areas live on the service are available as normal. We apologise for any inconvenience.'

Local land charges searches are normally required in the property-buying process. Most local land charges are restrictions or prohibitions on the use of the property such as planning permissions or listed buildings. The local land charges search will reveal whether a property is subject to a charge which then informs a buyer’s decision to buy a property or parcel of land.

In a statement to the Gazette, Land Registry said: 'We have temporarily disabled our LLC service for searches in the Peterborough City Council area. In the process of digitising nearly 40,000 paper records to our online service, a small number were not migrated across successfully. While we’re confident only a small minority of all charges in the Peterborough area have been affected, there is a possibility that some search results delivered to those performing searches between 31 January and 5 February may have been incorrect.

'We recommend that anyone who conducted a search in this period repeat their search when the service resumes. A team has been assigned to correct the issue as quickly as possible.'

Work began in 2018 to migrate local land charges data held by 326 local authorities in England to a central, digital database. Land Registry acknowledged last month that the work is going slower than expected.

Despite the setback, Land Registry announced today that Watford Borough Council has migrated its data to the register.

Helen Fisher, the council's head of place shaping, said: 'We are pleased to be at the forefront of this digital transformation. Our local land charges data was a mixture of computerised and paper records. By updating our local land charges data into a single digital source, we are providing confidence in the accuracy of the data and helping to improve the efficiency of buying and selling property in Watford.'

Update: HM Land Registry has announced that the technical issue with Peterborough data has been resolved.