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Council delays hit house moves
MOVING home in Salisbury has become “even more stressful and frustrating” because of the time it is taking Wiltshire Council to conduct vital searches.
Estate agents across the city are teaming up to write a letter of protest to the council complaining it has been taking up to seven weeks for local area searches to come back.
They say the delays are causing property chains to collapse and house moves to fall through, increasing financial pressure on an industry already suffering from the economic downturn.
“The longer it takes for a sale to go through, the more chance there is of something going wrong,” said Matt Glover from Venditum estate agents on Castle Street.
“Not only does it make moving house even more stressful and frustrating, it is having a serious effect on business.
“Sometimes people just can’t wait that long for searches to come back, and sales are lost. Business is tough at the moment and these delays are making it worse.
“It’s scandalous when people are paying £220 for these searches to be carried out.
“The council is failing to provide a proper service.”
Solicitors are also getting increasingly frustrated at the delays.
“It’s very distressing for clients who often have tight timeframes,” said head of conveyancing at Sampson Coward, Vicky Langdown.
“It is always the searches we are waiting for to complete sales and it’s only when the sales are completed that anyone gets paid.
“We’re spending a lot of time chasing the council and often no one picks up the phone.
“However, in other parts of Wiltshire and the Test Valley searches are coming back within three to five days – why not in Salisbury?” A Wiltshire Council spokesman said the average waiting time has already been cut from 24 to 20 working days and the council is working hard to reduce it to 10 working days.
“We are aware of the delays and apologise for any inconvenience they are causing. We are working very hard to catch up on the backlog as soon as possible, this includes using extra staff until it is cleared.
“Unfortunately the delays were caused by a combination of the team having to move locations and then subsequently experiencing technical problems with the IT system. We have addressed these matters and have put measures in place while these short term issues are resolved.
“We are encouraging solicitors or estate agents to advise of us any urgent searches and we are acting on these as a priority.”