People in Dorset are benefitting from faster land searches when buying a new property.

West Dorset District Council (WDDC) has been working to improve the time it takes to complete land searches, and an improvement plan has been in place since 2016 to deal with a backlog of applications for land search.

There were a number of reasons why this happened, including a high volume of requests. But it meant that at times some searches were taking about 10 weeks to process.

After carrying out most of the improvement plan, the council is now completing all searches within its target of an average of 15 days.

Searches for North Dorset District Council and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council are all also being processed within target.

A new IT system is being introduced which should help improve the way land searches are processed by WDDC. This will further improve the speed of carrying out searches.

The improvement plan included recruiting additional people to process applications and improving the way relevant information was held. The council aimed to achieve this by April 2019.

Councillor Peter Barrowcliff, portfolio holder for corporate services at West Dorset District Council, said: “We’d like to thank people for their patience while we worked to reduce the length of time it took to complete searches.

“We always knew it would take time for the improvement plan to take effect. We are pleased to have achieved this well within our target date of April 2019.

“I’d like to thank all the staff who have worked hard to turn this around.

“We now have an efficient process in place with further plans to improve our service in the coming months.

“This will help ensure our customers continue to receive a fast turnaround, which I’m sure will be welcome in speeding up the overall process of buying a house.”