The RTPI welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Business, Innovation and Skills Department consultation: Land Registry: moving operations to the private sector. We are concerned by the fact that the consultation takes quite a narrow view of ‘housing supply, home ownership and economic growth’. It is our view that the management of Land Registry data should be available to underpin public and political discussion on land ownership and national housing policy not simply to assist individual property transactions. There is a powerful need for data on land ownership in aggregate, especially data on the ownership of land needed for development. This is vital in order to properly inform debates on issues such as alleged “land hoarding".
Furthermore, an aspect of increasing interest to the public and the government is the issue of overseas ownership of land. Recent investigations into these aspects of UK land ownership have depended on Freedom of Information requests to obtain data. It is unclear whether a privatised Land Registry would be subject to similar transparency requirements. We regard this as essential.