Council owned land and premises FAQ
Hastings Borough Council manages a digital archive of large scale ordnance survey maps showing the boundaries of all land owned by the Council. If the precise location of the land concerned can be accurately described, we should be able to identify whether a particular piece of land is owned by the Council, or privately. To view plans of our ownership please see our 'Assets held by Hastings Borough Council' page.
Contact the Land Registry to obtain the relevant enquiry form. Please note that the Land Registry will be unable to assist you if it turns out that the land concerned is unregistered, in which case you may wish to make enquiries locally with neighbours.
Before we can tell you whether the Council owns a particular property or area of land, we need to know the boundaries of the land in question and if possible the full postal address. The boundaries are often difficult to describe precisely over the telephone without looking together at a detailed map (which can be arranged for personal visitors). We should be able to tell from a telephone enquiry whether the Council owns land nearby, but for a more precise answer, a plan showing the exact boundaries of the land can be submitted by email or post.
Currently, there is no charge for this information.
This is dependent upon demand and also upon the need for a detailed plan to be submitted to the Council. If the level of enquiries remains manageable, and provided all necessary details have been provided to us, then a telephone response can normally be given within one working day. In certain cases, depending on the complexity of land ownership in the area, reference to the Council's deeds may be required in which case the enquiry may take longer.
The following guidance notes should be followed if you wish to purchase land owned by Hastings Borough Council:
1. The first stage of the application process is to contact the Estates Service to ascertain whether the land you wish to purchase is owned by the Council
2. Once it is confirmed that the land you wish to purchase is owned by the Council, fill in the application form . Please complete the form as fully as possible and also include a sketch plan indicating the area of land, and approximate dimensions of the land you wish to acquire. The easiest way to identify a piece of land is by reference to Ordnance Survey maps
3. In order to process your application, we require a non-returnable application fee of £100 (one hundred pounds). This fee is required to meet the Council's administrative costs in dealing with your application. The application fee will be deducted from the overall costs on completion of any agreed sale
4. Send the completed application form, and cheque, to Muriel Matters House marked 'FAO Estates Service'
5. On receipt of your completed application form you will be sent a letter of acknowledgement with details of which officer will be dealing with your case. The officer will then commence a consultation process with other Services in the Council and any other relevant bodies which may include any adjoining land owners. This process will generally take one month but for more complicated cases the consultation period may be longer
6. Once the consultation has finished the officer will write to you outlining the results. If the Council is unable to sell the land to you then the letter will detail the reasons why. If the Council is able to proceed with the sale then the officer will forward proposed sale terms, including the price of the land, to you for your consideration. This may include a covenant restricting the use of the land
7. Should you be in agreement with the terms and conditions then you will be asked to confirm this in writing. Documentation relating to the sale will then be forwarded to our Legal Services team who will prepare contracts for your approval. You do not have to employ a solicitor to deal with the acquisition but the Council recommends that you seek professional advice
8. Please be advised that your potential use of the land may require planning permission for change of use for which an additional fee is payable
9. In addition to the purchase price of the land you will be liable for the payment of the Council's reasonable legal costs and surveyors fees. These fees will be payable upon completion of the purchase. The application fee of £100 will be deducted from these costs and you will be responsible for your own legal costs
Please be advised that the Council has a policy of not selling certain types of land. The most common examples of this are public parks and playing fields.
There are also pieces of land which may appear vacant and unused but are in fact held for strategic reasons eg. highway improvement. It is unlikely that the Council would be able to sell sites of strategic importance. Some areas of land may have title restrictions and this may mean we are unable to dispose of them.
The Council wishes to ensure that it achieves best value for disposal of land at all times where it is appropriate. This usually includes offering the land for sale on the open market. However a private sale without marketing may be justified in the following circumstances:
1. the land to be disposed of is relatively small in size and an adjoining or closely located landowner(s) is (are) the only potential or likely purchaser(s);
2. the nature of the Council's land ownership and that of the surrounding land ownership is such that the land must be sold to adjoining or surrounding landowners if best consideration is to be obtained;
3. the Council's corporate objectives and best consideration can best be achieved by a sale to a particular purchaser;
4. the purchaser has a particular interest in purchasing the land or a particular association with the land and open marketing may cause undue hardship or unrest for that particular purchaser; or
5. The sale of the land to a party other than that particular individual would substantially and detrimentally affect the individual. Should you require any further information at this stage please contact us.
Council owned land and premises FAQ