Our Products

PlanVal Products help solicitors, homebuyers, vendors, businesses, surveyors, developers and lenders make more informed decisions on property transactions. We offer a wide range of precise, up-to-date searches including Highways, Planning, Environmental, Flood and Mining using the UK’s most comprehensive contemporary and historic datasets.


Planval Highways Search with Opinion

The UK’s only official Highways Search

A Highways Search is one of the most important searches that solicitors, homebuyers, vendors, businesses, surveyors, developers and lenders require to make an informed decision about a property transaction and its suitability as lending security. click for samples
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To provide legal certainty, it is essential that the underlying Highways data is fully up-to-date.

Old and out-of-date information is potentially invalid and could lead to serious repercussions with trunk roads, ransom strips, schemes, auctions and developers.

PlanVal Highways Searches contain the only definitive report data – definitive answers to highways questions can only be provided by the Highways Departments which are based in the relevant County Council, City Council, Borough Council, Metropolitan Borough Council, Unitary Status Council, and The Corporation of London.

Highways Lite covers TWO standard questions, Highways Standard covers FIVE standard questions and Highways Standard with Opinion for Commercial covers FIVE standard questions and contains an integral Professional opinion backed by £10m Professional Indemnity Insurance, designed to ensure accurate interpretation.

Highways Departments do not recommend the storing in a database or reuse of Highways Search Information as the data may change on a daily basis and could therefore be out-of-date.


Highways Departments have no responsibility or liability for non-official searches or data.

What about Publicly Available Information?

The limited information available freely to the public is adoption schemes only (some additional information may be available depending on council policy). In many cases it is out of date, by as much as six months. The information available to the public is frequently incomplete and does not enable an accurate or comprehensive view to be taken.

Enhanced Professional Insight

The local knowledge that is also applied and used in PlanVal Highways Searches is often not held on file or computer but has been learnt over years of highways experience by the technical officers that compile the search reports.

Even if an area falls outside the standard 200-meter boundary normally used on a Highways Search, technical officers often include schemes outside the area to give a better overall picture of the area searched.

Highways Searches have the provision to show cycle paths and bridal ways that may or may not be on old railway lines, these are not shown on local development plans.

Highways departments are in possession of original maps that show the adopted highways many dating from 1909 or earlier. Some have been digitalised and certain councils are in the process of overlaying with up-to-date adopted borders. Many Highways Departments, when compiling a search, if they believe there may be an issue or have something on their mind with reference to the Search data will refer to these historical maps.

These maps have unique information regarding common land and where a land change may have taken place, for example the corner of a road now owned and adopted privately, most of these changes on the original maps were initialed by the officer that oversaw and agreed to the changes, some of these initials date back to when the maps were produced, the highways department can tell by these initials which employee agreed to the change. These maps are accessed by the staff of the council and are not on public view.

Official, Database or Personal Search?

It’s a commonly held misconception that Highways Information is aggregated or stored in external databases which can be searched to form an opinion. Highways Departments do not provide data sources to third-party private companies as the data is complex and subject to change on a daily basis country wide.

Equally the data that is made available during a Personal Search, although more enhanced than publically available data, is frequently out-of-date.

Official Data – is it really necessary?

The following real-world examples highlight the vital importance of official data and the responsibility, accountability and liability that Highways Departments have for the provision of accurate data in PlanVal Highways Searches

Enhanced un-documented insight highlights residential property issues

The road outside the property was used by a local resident for selling cars, the council did not have the powers to stop this as the street was not adopted (even if the street were adopted we were advised that actions are very limited but the officer thought they could not stop the activity even if it were an adopted road) so the practice continued.

So a common sense approach was agreed and implemented by the Highways technical officer, planning office and roads maintenance department: a new white line scheme of painted parking bays was completed. This was not recorded as a scheme and the potential new vendor would not have had this information if official highways search data had not been used. If considering purchasing a property this information could have a significant bearing for purchaser and lender.

Accuracy of Information for a new Development

A Welsh official Highways search result some years ago showed all the adopted roads for a new development. When the development had started a resident came forward claiming that one end of the piece of land was owned by him and was not adopted. The access to the development was limited by this piece of land known as a ransom strip.

In order to have full access to the development the the developer paid £1.3M for this land (also known as a ransom strip), the developer then successfully sued the Highways department for the full amount plus costs on the basis of the official Highways data.

The Highways data was not in fact incorrect, been examined at the correct level of magnification, the strip of land being only 30cm was missed, (the local authority was taken to the cleaners). The Highways department in question made changes to their procedures to eradicate this issue reoccurring by using a much greater zoom on the area to be searched, once satisfied the map was zoomed out to the industry standard to compile their report.

Critical timing and the importance of having the most up-to-date information

South Wales trunk road agency (TRA) had agreed the building of a new by-pass, the new road was to pass the village to the south. A farmer had a line of trees that he wanted to preserve so the TRA agreed to change the road to go north of the village to preserve his trees. In the month that this was having the final hearing to agree the re-routing to the north the farmer had a cottage that would need to be demolished if the trunk road was build to the south which he sold during this month. The hearing concluded that the road should be built to the south resulting in the new owners having to compulsory sell their cottage for demolition.


Planval Planning with Opinion

PlanVal Planning risk assessments better inform you and your clients’ with a comprehensive local planning review. With data from Glenigan, the UK’s leading authority on historical planning data, this report details retail and major planning applications, mobile masts, environmentally sensitive areas and much more.

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Commercial


Insight on local development and construction projects can give you and your client a view of the material impact on the value your client places on a property in an area.

Using historical planning data from leading UK provider Glenigan, our report identifies a locality’s character and highlights any potential disruptive risks ahead of exchange.
Data includes:
  • Details of all historical planning applications up to 500m of the site boundary
  • Detailed planning project descriptions and application status updated weekly
  • Residential and commercial planning applications from the last 10 years
  • Telecommunication masts and mobile transmitter data
  • HS2 and Crossrail 1 location data
  • Environmental and cultural planning restrictions including Green Belt, Conservation Areas and Listed Buildings
  • Potential presence of radon

Residential

Insight on local development and construction projects can give you and your client a view of the material impact on the value your client places on a property in an area.

Using historical planning data from leading UK provider Glenigan, our report identifies a locality’s character and highlights any potential disruptive risks ahead of exchange.

Data includes:
  • Details of all historical planning applications up to 500m of the site boundary
  • Detailed planning project descriptions and application status updated weekly
  • Residential and commercial planning applications from the last 10 years
  • Telecommunication masts and mobile transmitter data
  • Local authority information including tax banding, planning statistics and contact details
  • Environmental planning restrictions, including Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Green Belt and Sites of Special Scientific Interest
  • Points of local interest including hospitals, amenities and transport
  • Primary and Secondary schools league tables
  • Crime statistics
  • Electricity pylons and overhead transmission lines
  • Potential presence of radon

Planval Environmental Search with Opinion

Planval Environmental Search with Opinion allows solicitors to comply with the requirements of the Law Society Practice Note on Contaminated Land and considers the risk of the property being designated under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, together with other key natural and man-made hazards.

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This fully interpreted, risk-rated screening report now uses Land Registry polygons, with enhanced energy, transportation and planning application & restrictions screenings.

Data includes:
  • Enhanced transportation summary – detailing HS2 (route, safeguarding, stations & depots); Crossrail 1 (route, stations, worksites); Railways (active railways, stations)
  • Enhanced view on potential and planned energy installations and transport infrastructure
  • Enhanced screening on planning applications
  • Uses Groundsure’s Historical Land Use Database – one of the most comprehensive resources available
  • The most accurate database for storage tanks, energy features and military installations
  • Contaminated land assessment based on Groundsure’s unique historical land use database
  • Potentially in-filled land
  • Up-to-date environmental permit, incidents and registers data
  • Historical and active landfill sites
  • Ground stability assessment including non-coal mining, cavities and subsidence risks
  • Coal mining screening
  • JBA Risk Management river, coastal and surface water flood screen
  • Energy alert highlighting existing or planned energy installations, such as wind turbines or fracking
  • Unique “London Rail Networks” alert identifying the presence of the London Underground, DLR, active railways and abandoned railways and tunnels

Planval Flood Search with Opinion

Planval Flood Search with Opinion uses a detailed water and drainage risk model devised by industry experts, and provides detail on all potential flood hazards – not just river and tidal. The report includes unique risk analysis as well as a view on flood risk insurability and offers access to IEMA qualified environmental consultants for further advice and support.

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Planval Flood Search with Opinion now includes JBA 5m groundwater data in addition to all other flooding sources and uses Land Registry polygons to ensure a comprehensive accurate assessment of all flood risks, reducing the need for further searches.

The report includes unique risk analysis as well as a view on flood risk insurability and offers access to IEMA qualified environmental consultants for further advice and support.

Data includes:
  • River and Coastal flood risk data from the Environment Agency including RoFRaS, Flood Defences and Proposed Flood Defence Schemes
  • Surface water (pluvial) flood risk data from JBA Risk Management
  • Flooding susceptibility data from the British Geological Survey
  • Recorded Historic Flood Events Flood risk insurability likelihood provided by JBA Risk Management
  • JBA Floodability Rating & Flood Re statement
  • Professional Opinion provided by Groundsure

Planval Mining Check

PlanVal Mining Check accurately identifies Mining Risk areas using individual characteristics and attributes combined with official data from The Coal Authority (TCA) and independent data drawn from 39 years of independent assessments and inspections. Our unique data and professional opinion considers 64 mineral types and the mining and/or quarrying, depth, area and extent of the area of risk.

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The standardised format of the report puts a clear recommendation at the front to facilitate fast and assured decision making.

This Mining Check uses enhanced datasets to detect mine related activity at a given location.

The result returns a Mining Check Recommendation with the rating: “Passed” with Mining Check Certificate, or “Further Assessment” where a PlanVal Coal Mining Search and/or PlanVal Non-Coal Mining Search is recommended.

Both results include a Location Plan to confirm the area being checked

Planval Regulated Coal Mining Search with Opinion

Mining Searches are required by the Council of Mortgage Lenders and The Law Society for properties located in a former mining area.

Like all PlanVal Searches, our Coal Mining Search includes a comprehensive Professional Opinion with £10m Professional Indemnity Insurance, enabling professionals to quickly assess risk and make decisions with confidence.

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Why is Mining Data Important?
  • Mining and extraction has taken place in every county in England and Wales
  • Over 34% of properties in England and Wales are within a mining risk activity area
  • There are in excess of 200,000 recorded mine shafts and adit/tunnel portals in England and Wales
  • Mining Risks also apply to towns and cities, for example parts of London, Norwich, Newcastle, Birmingham, Bristol and Swansea are in a mining risk area
  • If a property is affected by settlement or subsidence associated with mining activity, the cost to make safe can be significant

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Ensuring Accuracy with Ordnance Survey

All PlanVal Searches include Ordnance Survey Master Map data, ensuring that the original property identification and our assessment of its location and associated risk is as accurate as possible.

Features:
  • Official Coal Authority Data (TCA)
  • Independent Mining Assessment Data
  • Comprehensive Professional Opinion
  • 39 years of successful Mining Assessment experience
  • High quality location mapping from OS MasterMap
  • Clear Pass, Further Action or Advisory Information Result




Benefits:
  • Professional Opinion based on definitive official data from The Coal Authority
  • Clear, colour coded ‘Passed’, ‘Further Action Required’ or ‘Advisory Information’ result on front page
  • Superior mapping from OS MasterMap brings enhanced clarity and accuracy
  • 5 day turnaround (average)

Planval Regulated Non-Coal Mining Search with Opinion

Mining Searches are required by the Council of Mortgage Lenders and The Law Society for properties located in a former mining area.

Like all PlanVal Searches, our Non-Coal Mining Search includes a comprehensive Professional Opinion with £10m Professional Indemnity Insurance, enabling professionals to quickly assess risk and make decisions with confidence.

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Why is Mining Data Important?
  • Mining and extraction has taken place in every county in England and Wales
  • Over 34% of properties in England and Wales are within a mining risk activity area
  • There are in excess of 200,000 recorded mine shafts and adit/tunnel portals in England and Wales
  • Mining Risks also apply to towns and cities, for example parts of London, Norwich, Newcastle, Birmingham, Bristol and Swansea are in a mining risk area
  • If a property is affected by settlement or subsidence associated with mining activity, the cost to make safe can be significant

   Click here for Case Studies

Features:
  • High Quality Data for 64 minerals including:
    • Iron, Copper, Lead, Silver, Tin, Cobalt, Zinc, Barite, Bath Stone, Chalk, China Clay, Coprolite, Cotswold stone, Dolomite, Flint, Ganister, Marble, Sandstone, Slate, Umber, Whetstone, West Midlands Limestone, Anhydrite, Cheshire Brine, Gypsum, Jet, Peat, Oil and Gas
  • Reports also consider:
    • mine entries, surface mine features, mineralised veins, geological faults, underground workings, pits, quarries, pumps wells and dumps, extensive mining archive of current and historical mining databases going back to the 1700’s including the non-coal mining records office collection, geological survey editions, Ordnance Survey, plans from private collection
  • Professional Opinion – A comprehensive interpretation of the data into a clear and concise professional report
    • 39 years of successful Mining Assessment experience
    • Broad base of professionals including – Geologists, mining engineers, mining historians, geographers and archaeologists
    • An award winning team leading and innovating in the mining risk assessment
  • £10m Indemnity Insurance
  • Clear Pass or Further Action Result
  • Additional services when required, such as inspections, site investigations, and remediation.
  • Automated pricing policy based on plot areas: 0-5ha, 5-15ha, 15-50ha, 50-100ha. Areas over 100ha are priced on request.
  • Standard – 5 working days turn around nationwide.
  • Reports evidence clients’ due diligence
  • Accepted by banks and building societies
  • COPSO and PCCB registered


Benefits:
  • Provides peace of mind that an extremely comprehensive range of: stone, metalliferous, evaporite and hydrocarbon mining activity has been assessed by industry recognised mining professionals
  • Clients are assured that we comprehensively consider and interpret potential mining related settlement and subsidence risk for buildings as well as the accompanying property surrounds
  • Clients are assured that they have been provided with the best advice which is solutions based and not just a list of facts and figures
  • Our team professionals have provided relevant interpretive reports throughout England and Wales for over 39 years
  • Improved interpretation with deeper insight. The result is a streamlined process and time saved for our clients
  • Relevant information delivering clarity of outcome which may include further action points where appropriate. Our clear communication aids and simplifies legal teams in their advice to clients
  • Quick and easy solutions designed to speed up the process when further action is required. Designed to meet any further action recommended in a report and to remove our clients concerns
  • With an automated pricing structure for the vast majority of searches, our clients benefit from a single disbursement price
  • Reliable turnaround times to maintain efficiency of service, keeping our clients informed in a timely manner and ensuring a streamlined client process
  • Covering multi-disciplinary aspects to create a comprehensive risk assessment. Law practices are assured in the knowledge our team provides them as well as comfort that their clients are receiving best advice
  • Clients trust in the added value our experienced team provides
  • With £10m Professional Indemnity cover we undertake both residential and commercial assessments and Clients are assured that sufficient cover is provided
  • Our data sources are compared and contrasted, bringing added value to the overall interpretative assessment and therefore reaching a more comprehensive outcome in our reports
  • Ensures your legal team maintains its compliance
  • Accepted by all major banks and lenders
  • COPSO and PCCB registration provides comfort to our clients that the company maintains national standards set out in the search code