Search charges set to tumble

PUBLISHED: 16:15 05 October 2007 | UPDATED: 23:06 28 May 2010

A COUNCIL is to slash the price it charges householders for land searches after competition from the private sector led to a shortfall in income. Fenland District Council is knocking £60 off the amount it charges for land searches in a bid to compete. The

A COUNCIL is to slash the price it charges householders for land searches after competition from the private sector led to a shortfall in income.

Fenland District Council is knocking £60 off the amount it charges for land searches in a bid to compete. The standard fee will drop to £120.

And in an attempt to show local estate agents and solicitors what the council believes are improvements to the service it offers, an open day is planned for next Friday.

The council has also arranged for a national speaker to address the meeting on "the past, the present and the future of land charges".

A local solicitor will also talk about the move from manual to electronic searches "which the district council has signed up to and which will lead to an even quicker service".

The council's cabinet was told that the council was experiencing a shortfall in local search fee income of £26,000 against projected figures.

Councillors were also told the reduction was continuing and it was expected that without some response "the actual levels of fee income represented a drop in potential annual income in excess of £100,000".

Mat Taylor, executive director for finance, said: "Land charges is one of the council's services that face direct competition from the private sector.

"The council has recognised that, in order to compete effectively, it has to be able to process land charges requests quickly."

It is expected Fenland Council will now aim to reduce the time from 10 working days to "a very competitive four days".

Some requests, however, have been processed within three working days.

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