I know my boundaries! – they’re on the Land Registry Plan
There is a common misconception that the boundaries are clearly defined on the Land Registry Title plan. Unfortunately this is not ordinarily the case.
A standard Land Registry title plan shows ‘general boundaries’ for a registered piece of land. So, if the land has not been registered this creates the first hurdle.
And for registered land, a red line will be drawn around the site, roughly identifying the outline. However, this may not represent the actual shape or size of the site. All that is really shown is how the plot relates to the surroundings (e.g. number 3 is next door to number 1 on the left and number 5 on the right, with number 64 at the rear).
Land registry plans are drawn at a scale of 1:1250 or 1:2500 for larger areas. This in itself presents scaling issues, where if the red line was assumed to be accurate, when scaled up, the line thickness could be over 1m wide, with no indication of exactly where within the line thickness the boundary line lies. These plans are produced from Ordnance Survey (OS) map data, which due to scaling will not display fine detail and will conjoin or alter features slightly for cartographic purposes, to allow for easier reading. The OS maps are produced based on ‘features on the ground’ and more often by tracing over aerial imagery. If a thick hedgerow was planted in front of a boundary wall, which feature would be the most distinctive? – and on which side of the feature would the line be drawn?
The Land Registry title plans can be of some use for context, but should not be relied upon as the only source of information!
In some instances, perhaps due to a previous dispute, or just to confirm agreement of a boundary position, a ‘determined boundary’ is registered. Where this occurs, the exact position of the boundary between two sites will be recorded with Land Registry, and this can therefore be relied upon.