Homebuyers in Bolton are waiting an average of three months for a service essential to the purchase of a property, according to one estate agent.

Nick O'Brien, the branch manager at George Grundy Estates Ltd, said local land charges searches took around three weeks up until now, but in one case took as long as 120 days.

These local land charges searches, a check with the council to see what permissions and restrictions are in place on a property, are a service essential to the purchase of a property.

They are required by those purchasing with a mortgage, and recommended to those purchasing without a mortgage.

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Mr O'Brien, who started at George Grundy Estates Ltd in 2000, said: "When you purchase a property, you need to make sure it's as described. 

"One of the searches you need to do is with the council to make sure they're not going to build a motorway through it."

Mr O'Brien said the impact of waiting an average of three months as opposed to three weeks is significant on estate agents, but also on all those involved in sales, from bankers and lawyers to removals and tradesmen.

He said the issue appears to be limited to Bolton Council, as other authorities in the Greater Manchester region seem to be "OK".

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Mr O'Brien said: "There is an impact on estate agents but also on the community, including all the trades.

"Even the parents who are trying to place their children in local schools.

"This level of service cannot be left to continue unchecked as it will mean lots of local households will suffer both emotionally and financially.

"I am not alone in thinking this and it needs to be addressed as a priority."

A spokesperson for the council said it is working on resources and training in the department responsible for local land charges searches.

They said: "We are aware of the delays and are working to resolve the issue as soon as possible."

This article was written by Jack Tooth. To contact him, email jack.tooth@newsquest.co.uk or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.