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Swathes of Norfolk and Waveney land has mystery owners, map reveals

PUBLISHED: 14:44 16 January 2019 | UPDATED: 14:58 16 January 2019

Take a look at the unregistered land in Norfolk. Picture: Anna Powell-Smith

Take a look at the unregistered land in Norfolk. Picture: Anna Powell-Smith

Archant

Do you work and live on land whose owners are a mystery?

In Norfolk, thousands of acres of land of all types sits unregistered, with the public having no way of knowing who is its rightful owner.

An interactive map, created by developer Anna Powell-Smith, shows every inch of the 5.2 million acres of England and Wales that does not have a registered owner.

Take a look at the unregistered land in Norwich. Picture: Anna Powell-SmithTake a look at the unregistered land in Norwich. Picture: Anna Powell-Smith

The map shows large patches of land, coloured red, around the region as unregistered, meaning every day people are working, visiting, and driving through land without a known owner.

Since 1998, land inherited or sold must be registered with the Land Registry, meaning much of the unregistered land has been owned by the same person or group for at least 20 years, potentially much longer.

Take a look at the unregistered land in North Norfolk. Picture: Anna Powell-SmithTake a look at the unregistered land in North Norfolk. Picture: Anna Powell-Smith

Land being unregistered does not mean the land does not have an owner, however it is much harder for the government and the public to track down who does in fact own it.

Much of the land which is marked as unregistered is owned by local authorities and national groups such as Norfolk Highways and National Rail, the church, or by large historic estates owned by the aristocracy.

Take a look at the unregistered land surrounding Dereham. Picture: Anna Powell-SmithTake a look at the unregistered land surrounding Dereham. Picture: Anna Powell-Smith

Easily identifiable unregistered land on the map includes common land, owned and maintained by local councils, such as Barnham Cross Common in Thetford, the North Denes in Great Yarmouth, and the Fir Lane allotments in Lowestoft.

National Parks and nature reserves such as the Norfolk Broads and the Bure Marshes National Nature Reserve also include significant amounts of unregistered land.

Take a look at the unregistered land surrounding Great Yarmouth. Picture: Anna Powell-SmithTake a look at the unregistered land surrounding Great Yarmouth. Picture: Anna Powell-Smith

Businesses such as Diss Golf Club and Bungay and Waveney Golf Club are also not registered, along with thousands of acres of farm land.

It is not illegal to have not registered land, however the Land Registry is targeting to have 100pc of all of England and Wales’ land registered by 2030.

Take a look at the unregistered land surrounding Thetford. Picture: Anna Powell-SmithTake a look at the unregistered land surrounding Thetford. Picture: Anna Powell-Smith

Nationally, 15pc of land in England and Wales is not registered.

In 2005, the area of the country registered was less than 50pc with that figure standing at 85pc today.

Take a look at the unregistered land surrounding Kings Lynn. Picture: Anna Powell-SmithTake a look at the unregistered land surrounding Kings Lynn. Picture: Anna Powell-Smith

The data the map is based on comes from the Land Registry, and the full interactive map can be viewed at http://unregistered.whoownsengland.org/.

Ms Powell-Smith’s blog post explaining the process can be found here:

Take a look at the unregistered land surrounding Wymondham and Attleborough. Picture: Anna Powell-SmithTake a look at the unregistered land surrounding Wymondham and Attleborough. Picture: Anna Powell-Smith

https://whoownsengland.org/2019/01/11/the-holes-in-the-map-englands-unregistered-land/

Take a look at the unregistered land surrounding Swaffham and Watton. Picture: Anna Powell-SmithTake a look at the unregistered land surrounding Swaffham and Watton. Picture: Anna Powell-Smith

Take a look at the unregistered land surrounding Diss and Harleston. Picture: Anna Powell-SmithTake a look at the unregistered land surrounding Diss and Harleston. Picture: Anna Powell-Smith

Take a look at the unregistered land surrounding Fakenham. Picture: Anna Powell-SmithTake a look at the unregistered land surrounding Fakenham. Picture: Anna Powell-Smith

Take a look at the unregistered land surrounding Lowestoft. Picture: Anna Powell-SmithTake a look at the unregistered land surrounding Lowestoft. Picture: Anna Powell-Smith

Take a look at the unregistered land surrounding Brandon. Picture: Anna Powell-SmithTake a look at the unregistered land surrounding Brandon. Picture: Anna Powell-Smith

Take a look at the unregistered land surrounding Beccles and Bungay. Picture: Anna Powell-SmithTake a look at the unregistered land surrounding Beccles and Bungay. Picture: Anna Powell-Smith

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