How thick is a red line? Dealing with inadvertent ransom strips

It is a sinking feeling that many experienced property developers are familiar with. You line up your title plans with the plan of the adopted highway and there is a gap between the two.

Occasionally, a third party has created a deliberate ransom strip but just as often such a gap arises by mistake. For example, when the property to be purchased was first registered, the Land Registry may have drawn the title plans up to either side of a red line on the original conveyance plan. Left behind is a sliver of unregistered land in between, the thickness of that red line on the conveyance plan.

On the face of it, you have a problem. Your lovely development site doesn’t have access to the public highway and you don’t know who owns the unregistered land in between…

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