I would like to buy a strip of derelict land attached to the bottom of our garden. It was once part of the garden of a Rectory which has been empty for more than two decades. The land has not been used in all of that time and has no other access. How shall I go about trying to buy it?
Your solicitor will need to make enquiries of the Church, or Church Commissioners to establish the exact ownership of the land. Searches of the Land Registry are unlikely to be of help as the property appears to have been derelict for two decades and has presumably remained in the same ownership for many years.
A Land Registry Index Map Search will confirm whether or not the Title is registered. On the basis that it remains unregistered due to the fact that it has not changed hands for more than 40 years initial enquiries should be directed to the Church in Wales or, failing that, the National Archive.
The Church may well agree to sell but this could take some time and the sale is also likely to be subject to restrictions or covenants preventing you from developing the land and using it only as a garden ancillary to a private dwelling house or alternatively it could be the subject of Overage provisions whereby any subsequent sale with the benefit of planning permission for development will result in additional payments having to be made to the Church.