A third of England and Wales owned by corporates: Search Acumen

Land ownership by corporate and commercial entities equates to 3,106 square metres for every household in England and Wales, according to analysis by Search Acumen.

The property data and technology provider calculated that the land owned by corporates equates to three five-a-side football pitches or 12 tennis courts for every household across England and Wales.

The land-owning entities include limited companies and PLCs; corporate bodies; local authorities; county councils; industrial and provident societies; unlimited companies; registered society companies; and housing associations or societies.

Search Acumen arrived at its conclusions after studying HM Land Registry data and population data from the Office for National Statistics.

It found the south east has the largest area of land owned by domestic corporate and commercial entities – nearly a fifth (19 per cent) of the total across England and Wales. But the highest concentration is in the north east, where corporate and commercial land ownership is equivalent to the size of a football pitch for every household in the region.

The research found there are notable regional differences in the share of land ownership by different types of entities. Limited companies and PLCs are most firmly established in the East Midlands, where they account for three fifths (60 per cent) of domestic corporate and commercial land holdings.

Two fifths (40 per cent) of corporate and commercial land holdings in London are owned by its 33 local authorities: four times the average of 10 per cent across England and Wales. East Anglia’s county councils hold twice the share of corporate and commercial land in the region (6 per cent) as their counterparts across England and Wales as a whole (3 per cent).

Major-league land owners include: HRH The Queen, via the Crown and Duchy of Lancaster; the National Trust; the Church Commissioners for England; the secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs; the secretary of state for defence; the National Assembly for Wales; United Utilities Water, Highways England; Welsh Water; and MRH Minerals.

Search Acumen managing director Andrew Lloyd says: “Increasing access to property data is dramatically improving our understanding of land ownership across the country. The insights it reveals can have important implications and benefits for planning and development in both residential and commercial markets on a local level, from housing to infrastructure projects.

“While the south east holds the lion’s share of domestic corporate and commercially owned land, the importance of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ and ‘Midlands Engine’ is clearly visible in the major land holdings by business interests in these areas. Further south, as the London property market continues to struggle to meet demand, there is likely to be ongoing pressure on its landowners to find more space for new housing as well as commercial developments.”

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