Search Acumen gives lawyers instant access to Public Rights of Way

Michael Lloyd

February 19, 2019

Search Acumen, the property data insight and technology provider, has upgraded its commercial real estate platform ForeSite to give lawyers and property professionals instant access to Public Rights of Way (PRoW) data held by all 326 Local Authorities in England and Wales.

The enhancement means that for the first time, conveyancers and commercial property lawyers can now examine comprehensive PRoW digital data at the outset of the due diligence process.

Andrew Lloyd, managing director at Search Acumen, said: “Public rights of way are a national institution enjoyed by millions of people, but they can also be a deal breaker for property developers and seriously impact the suitability of a property or piece of land they’re looking to purchase.

“When large investments are potentially at stake, clients cannot afford to take the long road to assessing risk.

“By offering them a quicker path to full and instant disclosure of this information through our ForeSite platform, we’re equipping professionals with critical insights at the earliest opportunity – potentially even before a transaction has begun to progress.

“The combination of data and human insight enables faster, better decision-making which will ultimately improve the transaction process for all concerned.

“Data now a critical tool for the legal profession to properly advise on complex property deals. In a competitive market, clients will increasingly opt for firms who can harness and present the latest insights most effectively.

“With the addition of its 23rd dataset, we’re building on ForeSite’s market-leading capabilities as the most comprehensive property data platform available so the legal sector can fulfil its due diligence responsibilities in record time.”

It acts as an early warning system to notify clients, including investors and developers, of potential risks to a property transaction before they commit to a purchase.

England and Wales boast more than 133,000 miles (214,882km) of public roads, pathways and footpaths in total, which are a frequent risk encountered by property lawyers acting on both residential and commercial transactions.

Until now they could have expected to wait for weeks to learn whether land or property was affected by or in proximity to a PRoW – potentially delaying the discovery of issues which can ultimately jeopardise a successful deal.

Search Acumen’s ForeSite platform now allows property lawyers to access this data instantly and visualise it on a detailed map.

The upgrade will save lawyers valuable time in the transaction process and equip them with crucial information at the outset to give informed advice and make earlier recommendations to clients.

The PRoW dataset covers all available data in England and Wales and will be updated every month. The data covers footpaths, byways open to all traffic, restricted byways, not for mechanically propelled vehicles, and bridleways that by law are open to the British public, even if they cross private land.

The PRoW data layer is the 23rd dataset to be integrated into the ForeSite platform, alongside real-time planning applications, commercial and corporate ownership records, and registered common land, greenbelt and conservation areas.

ForeSite is the UK’s first integrated due diligence tool for managing property transactions. It gives lawyers instant access to a comprehensive range of data that would otherwise take weeks to source from multiple unconnected sources.

This enables them to save time, make faster risk assessments and act earlier on behalf of clients.

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