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BUYING A NEW HOME - Optional Specialist Searches

When you ask us to provide you with a quotation we currently include the searches which are deemed compulsory when you are taking out a mortgage.

There are other searches available, which may be advisable to commission in certain areas - after all the purchase of your property will most likely be one of the biggest purchases you ever make.

These include searches regarding:

Chancel repair liability Planning developments Floods Ground stability British Waterways Cornish mining Dorset ball clay West Midland limestone

Chancel Repair Liability Whilst a Chancel Repair search is optional, we strongly advise our clients to take out insurance against a potential liability for chancel repairs. Please see our Chancel Repair Liability facstsheet for full details.

Planning developments - PlanSearch & PlanSearch Plus. The local authority search is restricted to planning applications on the property itself, with the exception of applications for road and rail which cover a radius of 200m.

We are able to carry out a further search called PlanSearch which contains additional information which will ensure you have all the information required about proposed developments and land use designations near the property you are proposing to purchase which will allow you to make an informed decision before completing.

PlanSearch covers planning applications for a radius of 250m from the property. This means that information which could have a major impact on the enjoyment and value of a home is revealed to the potential homebuyer. So, if for example a new nightclub or supermarket is being proposed, you would know about it before exchange.

Alternatively we can carry out PlanSearch Plus which details not just commercial and residential applications made since 1997, but also the planning decisions on larger applications eg proposed residential developments. It also includes aerial photography and neighbourhood information such as local facilities, schools and crime rates and footpaths and public rights of way. PlanSearch Plus also provides a summary of policies for future development and land use within a 500m radius of the property in addition to deposit and local plans policies.

Flood Search According to the Environment Agency, around 5 million people, in 2 million properties, live in flood risk areas in England and Wales. The environmental search provides limited information on whether the property falls within an indicative floodplain.

An additional search is available to give homebuyers more specific information on whether an individual property is at risk. The Homecheck Professional Flood Report differentiates between properties within a flood plain, identifying, for example, those properties on higher ground which therefore face reduced or no risk.

The Homecheck Professional Flood Report not only provides an overall assessment based on report results of whether the property is likely to be affected by flooding but also includes the following additional information:

Norwich Union Flood Risk and Insurability - A detailed, property-specific assessment of river and coastal flood risk, covering risk of flooding as well as "insurability risk". Insurance Claims - An indication of the insurance claims rating for flooding within the postcode sector, produced by comparison of flood claims to the number of properties. British Geological Survey (BGS) Susceptibility to Groundwater Flooding- Identifies where geological conditions could enable groundwater flooding to occur and where groundwater may come close to the ground surface. BGS Geological Indicators - Indicates those geological deposits which have been associated with flooding in the recent geological past and which therefore may still be vulnerable to flooding. The report also assesses these key issues from Environment Agency data:

Flood Risk - Is the property in or within 250m of an area affected by flooding (Zone 3) or extreme flooding (Zone 2)? Flood Defence - Is the property in or within 250m of flood defences as recorded by the Environment Agency? Flood Defended Area - Is the property in or within 250m of an area benefiting from flood defences?

Ground Stability Report You may wish to commission a ground stability search to avoid the misery of subsidence damage and be aware of any risk of subsidence from man-made causes like coal mining and from natural causes like clay shrinkage and soluble rocks.

Subsidence doesn’t just occur in coal-mining areas; significant problems exist in London and the south-east and in other non-coal mining areas. A Coal Authority ground stability report provides all the coal mining and brine subsidence claim search information, together with property specific information on:

the potential hazards related to natural subsidence throughout Great Britain the impact of mining within the coalfields the risk and occurrence of damage caused by brine extraction.

The report will cover:

Coal mining - Detailed information from the Coal Authority identifying the environmental and stability risk arising from any past, current or proposed underground or surface coal mining activity that affects a property. This includes subsidence claims, reported hazard incidents and mine gas emissions.

Natural ground movement - The British Geological Survey (BGS) provide unique information about natural ground stability within a 50 metre radius of the property, derived from a variety of sources including detailed digital geological mapping, recorded incidents and input from experienced geologists. There are 6 natural hazards which may cause ground movement:

Shrink-swell clays Landslides Soluble rocks Compressible and collapsible ground Running sand Cheshire Brine Subsidence

British Waterways British Waterways care for a 2000 mile network of canals and rivers and most of the structures in their care are well over 200 years old. British Waterways are responsible for granting rights and consent for activities such as mooring, fishing, discharging to or abstraction from waterways in their care.

It is vital to know in advance of any liabilities, rights or responsibilities related to waterways or structures which may impact on the use and enjoyment of your property.

A British Waterways report includes information on:

Any British Waterways works laid on, under or through the property Liability for maintenance, repair or rebuilding of canals, banks or towpaths Permissions for mooring, fishing, discharge to or abstraction from waterways Notices of disrepair served or proposed to be served Defects or requirements for repair to canals, waterways, banks or towpaths Instances of flooding Included with the report is an extract plan indicating British Waterways boundaries in the vicinity of the subjects of search.

Cornish Mining When buying a property in Devon & Cornwall, it is recommended that you obtain a Cornish mining report to determine whether the property may be affected by risk of subsidence from past mining operations.

The geology of Devon & Cornwall is such that mining of a variety of minerals including copper, tin, zinc, lead, iron and silver has been undertaken since before 1000 BC. Industrialised mining in the 19th century has left the County with a great many disused mine shafts and shallow works which may potentially affect ground and structural stability.

In addition, china clay and slate have been mined extensively in the County, and china clay mining continues into the present day.

Cornish mining searches reveal details of:

The underlying geology of a property Any mining history within the area A mining appraisal A summary conclusion of the indicated risks to the property A composite plan indicating the location of known, indicated and suspected mining works in the vicinity of the subjects

Dorset Ball Clay When buying a property in Dorset, it is recommended that you obtain a Dorset Ball Clay report to determine whether the property may be affected by risk of subsidence from past, current or proposed winning or working of china clay or ball clay.

China Clay and Ball Clay are extracted by surface workings (opencast mining).

Dorset Ball Clay searches reveal details of:

Proposals for winning or working of china clay or ball clay within the vicinity of the property Any recorded ownership of minerals beneath the property by member companies of the Kaolin and Ball Clay Association (UK) Known past china clay or ball clay workings which may affect the property Active or dormant planning approvals for future winning or working of china clay or ball clay which may impact the property

West Midland Limestone When buying a property in the Black Country, it is recommended that you obtain a West Midlands Limestone report to determine whether the property may be affected by risk of subsidence from past limestone extraction.

Limestone has been mined in the West Midlands since Roman times, and the limestone mines were a significant part of the economic history of the region until their decline in the mid 20th Century.

As a result of concerns over the risk associated with disused Limestone workings, Local Authorities and the Department of the Environment commissioned a survey in 1983 to identify historic limestone workings in Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall, Wolverhampton and Telford & Wrekin Local Authority areas.

West Midlands Limestone searches reveal details of any historic limestone workings which may have an impact on the property.

HS2 Search

There is a proposed high speed rail link. The rail link is comprised of two phases. The first between London through Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds which could be operational by 2026 and the second between London and Scotland which could be operational by 2032-33 (commonly referred to as 'HS2'). Construction is due to begin in 2017. Construction methods will vary and may result in potential disruption to sites near the proposed route.

The preferred route of phase two running northwards from Birmingham will have five stops at: Manchester; Manchester Airport; Toton in the East Midlands; Sheffield; and Leeds.

There is a possibility that the full scheme will not go ahead or for the plans or routes to be varied but there is potential for property or land to be temporarily affected by the HS2 construction works and the resultant noise pollution or in more serious cases, it may become the subject of a compulsory purchase order.

Properties within a close proximity to the HS2 route may result in a reduction in the value.

The is available for anyone concerned about the impact that the High Speed 2 rail link may have on their property or a property considering to be purchased that will be able to provide information as to whether the property is near the proposed route of High Speed Rail and if it is:

If the route is in a tunnel, cutting, at ground level or on a viaduct What the maximum speed of the train is as it passes the property The report reveals the exact distance and direction of a property from the proposed HS2 rail link, going beyond the information provided in the Local Authority search which currently only reveals whether the property is within a 200-metre radius.

Energy Search

The search will detail existing and upcoming applications for shale gas, oil, gas, wind and power stations, bringing with it potential advantages as well as disadvantages.

The report includes:

Onshore sites currently licensed by DECC for shale gas exploration (fracking), coalbed methane, oil, gas and mine gas; The very latest data on sites that have applied for planning permission to drill for shale gas; Areas currently licensed for oil/gas exploration; Areas which are due to be licensed for oil/gas exploration; Existing wind farms; Planned wind farms; Data on all types of power stations (planned and proposed) Return to list of factsheets.


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