Open Spaces Society calls for change in land purchasing rules

National conservation body, the Open Spaces Society, has called for public areas on private land to be revealed to prospective buyers.

The society wants any public paths, common land and town and village greens which appear on a property to be clearly outlined.

It has responded to a consultation by the Law Society which is updating forms used by prospective purchasers. But it said that the consultation was limited and has called for more fundamental changes.

General secretary Kate Ashbrook said: "We have argued that questions about the existence of public paths, including claims for public paths, common land and town and village greens should be on the list of compulsory inquiries. 

"Too often purchasers discover later that land that they have bought has public rights over it. It is pretty devastating for a purchaser later to discover that the land falls into one of these categories.

"Such ignorance has led to problems where paths have been blocked and commons built on.  Much private and public money is wasted on these muddles.

"We hope the Law Society will amend the forms so that these questions are compulsory."

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