Who owns Yorkshire? New study reveals how much land corporate bodies hold

A view looking across Ribblesdale, towards Park Fell. 'Picture James Hardisty.
A view looking across Ribblesdale, towards Park Fell. 'Picture James Hardisty.
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Almost a third of Yorkshire is owned by corporate and commercial bodies, according to new analysis published today.

Such owners hold 1.1m acres, accounting for 30 per cent of land in the region, property data provider Search Acumen found.

The figure amounts to 28,352 sq ft for every household in Yorkshire.

Owners 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.

Findings from HM Land Registry data covering nearly 500,000 registrations and over 11.5m acres of land in the UK show limited companies and PLCs own the majority of domestic commercial land in Yorkshire - 620,949 acres or 16 per cent, while corporate bodies account for 326,999 acres - 8.6 per cent.

Yorkshire’s top three corporate and commercial landowners are the Queen, Yorkshire Water, and The Church Commissioners for England, which own a combined 3.8m acres of land, accounting for 5.7 per cent of all land across Yorkshire.

The region’s figures mirror the national average with nearly a third (31 per cent) of England and Wales held by domestic corporate and commercial owners.

Limited companies and PLCs hold 48 per cent of this land across England and Wales, while corporate bodies own 37 per cent, local authorities own 10 per cent and county councils own three per cent. The remainder is divided between industrial and provident societies, unlimited companies, registered society companies, and housing associations or societies.

The top 10 corporate and commercial landowners own nearly a tenth of England and Wales.

The South East has the largest area of land under domestic corporate and commercial ownership, whereas the North East features the highest concentration of domestic corporate/commercial land.

Limited companies and PLCs account for 60 per cent of corporate and commercial land in the East Midlands, the largest share of any region.

Andrew Lloyd, managing director of Search Acumen, said: “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.

He added: “Access to this kind of data is the latest sign of a sea-change that heralds an exciting and innovative future, where the mechanics of the property market are no longer held back by the limits of thinking and technology from yester-year.”