6 votes The holes in the map: England's unregistered land Posted January 12, 2019 by rkcr Tags: england, governance, data visualization, property, public records, united kingdom https://whoownsengland.org/2019/01/11/the-holes-in-the-map-englands-unregistered-land/ Link information This data is scraped automatically and may be incorrect. Authors Anna Powell-Smith Published Jan 11 2019 Word count 1273 words 3 comments Collapse replies Expand all Comments sorted by most votes newest first order posted relevance OK nacho January 12, 2019 Link I don't doubt that unregistered land is an issue in the UK that deserves to be taken seriously. That's why I'm so critical to Who Owns England and their overblown analysis suggesting this is a... I don't doubt that unregistered land is an issue in the UK that deserves to be taken seriously. That's why I'm so critical to Who Owns England and their overblown analysis suggesting this is a huge issue that should be tackled immediately. I looked at the map and zoomed in to London and Westminster just for fun. Apparently we don't know who owns the eastern half of Westminster Bridge. Right across the Thames we see that 10 Downing street, the Prime minister's office, has no registered owner and just south of that that the Imperial war museums and Churchill war rooms don't either. Surely if this were an issue to be taken very seriously, symbolic areas like these would long since have been registered. Where I live, I can look at our national online property registry. I can log in to look up ownership information and legally recorded information about the various properties by simply clicking on the map. To me, it sounds like a big deal that it costs £3 to check ownership online in the UK. There are other ways for limiting look-up volumes so records have to be manually accessed rather than exported programatically (I have to re-log in with a 2-factor auth code for every 10 detailed look-ups of individual properties where I live). But knowing how complete property registries work online, having tried them and been curious, I know that this doesn't solve the issue of figuring out who actually owns land. Corporate entities own almost all interesting properties. To find out who actually owns the land you need fully open registries of who owns different businesses and their different corporate structures. Even a local shopping center in a small place can have 70 owners who have tiny proportions each. Even with these fully open national registries of company information available to me, there's a lot of businesses where I simply can't find who the shareholders are due to corporate structure. That's a global-size issue because the trails generally go cold when something is rerouted to a jurisdiction (read tax haven) that doesn't require ownership to be registered much less publicly available (even on request). If this 15% of the UK not having publicly registered owners really is a large tax issue, or otherwise poses large societal issues in any way, something would be done. The effectiveness of a complete, interactive and freely available map of all property owners is much less useful than one might think anyway. 2 votes patience_limited January 12, 2019 (edited January 12, 2019) Link This is a marvelous data visualization! Though the term isn't made explicit, it's an amazing map of historical aristocratic privilege, literally a special right of landowners to avoid public... This is a marvelous data visualization! Though the term isn't made explicit, it's an amazing map of historical aristocratic privilege, literally a special right of landowners to avoid public registry. It's not enough to have access to a database of 22 million polygons, either - this visualization is perfect for showing the measles-rash of obstacles to fair governance, and the author was modest about the generous contribution of labor. I don't know much about English systems of property taxation, but would assume it's difficult to tax fairly and transparently when the public has no information on who is reaping the value of a given piece of land. I'd be curious to see GIS overlays for public utilities to see whether special allocations or accommodations are being made for the "gap" owners. In David Brin's The Transparent Society, he painted a rosy picture of the Utopian advantages which could be achieved from symmetrical access to information, where the citizens could watch the watchers, where fairness or unfairness were provable through uniform, universal data access. Brin still has some naive ideas about power and privilege, but projects like this show what can be done. 1 vote jlpoole January 12, 2019 Link Is there a property tax in England? Is there a property tax in England?