Your privacy and research rights ("our site" or "this site") is owned and operated by Whythawk, a data science consultancy specialising in open data and open access research.

Whythawk works in the field of economic development, transparency and accountability. We care very much about the privacy and security of our users, and believe that personal privacy is critical for trust between ourselves and those who use our services. We expect similar consideration from the users of our site.

Please read these site terms of use and privacy policy carefully before using our site. By using our site, you automatically agree to all of these terms. Whythawk may revise these terms from time to time. If you continue to use our site after we post changes to these terms, it will mean that you accept those changes.

We hope these terms cover everything you need to know, but if you still have any questions please feel free to contact us.

Businesses, ratepayers and transparency

Our data includes commercial trading names, registered company names, and - very occassionally - the names of individual commercial ratepayers. All these data are sourced from public, and openly-licenced, data. In the case of data sourced from Freedom of Information requests, the nature of what we may publish has been subject to direct legal review, including decision notices at the Information Commissioner's Office, and court judgements from the Information Tribunal.

We will continue to fight for the public's right to know what commercial activities are undertaken in the public realm.

Use of materials on this site

Whythawk maintains this site for your personal information, education, and communication. Please feel free to browse our site. All materials on our site, including but not limited to artwork, photographs, graphics, data collections, methods of analysis, ratings, text and trademarks, are the property of Whythawk or its licensors. The exclusive rights to all materials on this site are protected by international laws of copyright, trademark and unfair competition.

You may not copy, reproduce, distribute, modify, display, prepare derivative works based on, republish, transmit, repost or otherwise use Whythawk or openLocal trademarks or symbols without prior written authorization from Whythawk.

With that stated, all content developed by Whythawk and presented on this site is made available to you under an Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. You are allowed to:

  • Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format,
  • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially.

In return, you must:

  • Provide attribution — You must give appropriate credit to us and our data sources, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests this site, or Whythawk, endorses you or your use of our content or this site.
  • Not add any restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything this license permits.

This is a summary of the full Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence and is not a substitute for it.

Where possible, all references to our source data are provided on the individual report pages, and listed as publishers or sources. Please ensure you extend the courtesy of citing these references in any subsequent reuse of their data, and comply with their terms. Each source has different licence conditions which may differ from those offered by Whythawk.

You should cite openLocal as follows (updating the dates, as appropriate):

Chait, Gavin (<year of reference>): commercial location data for England and Wales as of <date of data reference>. Whythawk.

Use of data and analysis on this site

Risk is fundamental to research, and entrepreneurship, but you must be aware that your risks are yours to bear and it is up to you to understand the nature and degree of risk you are taking.

You should not invest in any business unless you have conducted your own thorough due diligence and you are prepared to sustain a total loss of the money you have invested, plus any interest or other transaction charges. Before using these data to produce research you need to understand uncertainty in these data.

Purely by way of example, and not as an exhaustive list, here are some potential sources of uncertainty:

  • Rental valuation — based on Valuations Office Agency National Non-Domestic Rates assessment (i.e. the official, but not necessarily market-related, valuation) and may differ substantially from that offered by a landlord,
  • Rates valuation — based on the standard business rates multipliers (i.e. before any exemptions or reliefs for which the business may qualify),
  • Staff costs and numbers — based on data from the Office of National Statistics on regional salaries. This assumes a particular salary point and number of staff that may vary significantly from the experiences of a particular business,
  • Occupation status — based on individual responses from rates authorities declaring whether properties are occupied and is, in many cases, extremely lagging - meaning that properties listed as empty may already have tenants, and vice versa. Not all authorities are prepared to publish such data, and not all such data are of high quality.

In all cases, use your discretion and common sense when working with our data.

Your email address

As with any other email, any and all email addresses sent to us as a result of correspondence, or saved as a consequence of you creating an account, results in us holding your email address and, if provided, your name, along with the content of your message.

Your email address will not be used or collected for the purposes of reselling to a third party and will not be added to a bulk emailing list.

Should you sign up to — and you do not need to do so to access our services — we will only send you emails relating to an alert you have signed up for, or for other reasons that you specifically authorise.

Should you create an account on this site, you do not need to provide a valid email address. However, should you lose access to your account then recognise that there is no way for you to regain access to it if you have not provided a valid email address as well. Ordinarily, this would only be a problem if you have purchased a membership associated with that account.

We will never give or sell your email addresses to anyone else, unless we are obliged to by law.

Your IP address

The IP address associated with your use of this site (which may or may not be sufficient to identify you, depending on circumstances), is recorded automatically to our logs. It will not normally be seen by anyone.

In addition to the information you may give us about yourself in order to use the site (such as your name and email address), we collect and log some additional information in order to analyse and fix problems with the site.

Our webserver logs maintain a history of page requests. This includes information about requests, including the client IP address, data submitted (which might include your email address when you log on to the site), request date and time, page requested, browser version and referrer. We routinely keep this information for 60 days. Note that in normal circumstances, this data is infrequently accessed by a human, and when it is, they are likely to be assessing it in bulk, in order to understand an issue with the site, rather than at a granular level of individual users.

We do not share IP addresses with anyone else unless required to by law (for example in the course of a police investigation for which a court order has been received).

We anonymise all IP addresses prior to saving any user activity logged for the express purpose of understanding and analysing your interaction with our content, and to share with stakeholders and potential advertisers.

By way of example, if your IP address were '', we first assess the location for that IP at the country level. After identifying this geography, we immediately redact the last octet to '' and hash the result, yielding a random 24 digit code, such as 'T2V1kPkdNLQS5L9Ha2jIzvL3'.

This hashed code is then used to track user activity. Note: this IP hashing approach applies also to logged-in users. Your individual activity is never tracked.

What we track

We track three things:

  • The country where your IP address is based,
  • The specific pages on this site which you visit.

Your IP address is only logged when making a payment as part of our tax compliance obligations. Our objective is to understand the research interests and experiences of our users so that we may improve the quality of our service.

Cookies and Advertising

We do not present advertising on this site and all content is served directly by our servers and is not referred via any third-parties. For this reason, we only need to store a very limited number of cookies. Each cookie is really just a random string of characters, and none are required unless you are a subscriber and need access to subscription-limited data.

In that case, the cookies are there to protect your safety from fraudulent cross-site attacks (sometimes called 'man-in-the-middle' attacks). These cookies hold the token, and refresh token, required to validate your identity.

Should you choose to bookmark reports, these are stored locally in your browser's dedicated database. No data about these bookmarks are transfered to openLocal.

No other cookies are presented by this site, and we do not host third-party trackers or advertisers.

Your site membership

You are under no obligation to create an account or pay anything towards the upkeep and maintenance of this service. Should you choose to do so, and should you provide additional information about yourself, our access to that information will be subject to your ongoing consent.

You may withdraw your consent at any time and delete your account.

If you purchase any service or provide a financial contribution to this site then, as part of our company and fiduciary responsibilities, we will store details of your payment and indirectly associate this with your account. Such data will include your email address and actual IP address.

If you choose to withdraw consent and delete your account, note that you are also ending your membership and forfeiting any fees paid and benefits of that membership.

Deleting your account is irreversible.


We use a third-party processor — Stripe — to support payments on this site. The processing of payments will be subject to the terms, conditions and privacy policies of the payment processor in addition to our site terms.

We are not responsible for any error by the payment processor. By choosing to use paid services, you agree to pay us, through the payment processor, all charges at the prices then in effect for any use of our paid services in accordance with the applicable payment terms and you authorise us, through the payment processor, to charge your chosen payment provider.

You agree to make payment using that selected payment method. We reserve the right to correct any errors or mistakes that it makes even if it has already requested or received payment.

No card payment details are stored in our database. Our payment processor provides a one-time token which we use to process payment. On conclusion of the transaction, that token cannot be used again. Any repeated payments (such as for an annual membership) require your direct authentication and authorisation.

In choosing to make use of this site, you are consenting to your data being processed as described on this page. The legal basis for processing your data, as a user of this site, is your consent as laid out in 6(1)(a) of the GDPR, in force from 25 May 2018.

Your rights

You have the right to delete your account at any time. Doing so will automatically delete everything we know about you.

You have the right to know what personal data we hold about you. If you have an account and are logged in, everything we know will always be presented on your profile page. If you do not have an account, we do not know anything about you as an individual and hold no personal data on you.

You have the right to complain if you believe that we have mishandled your personal data. The relevant supervisory body is the Information Commissioner's Office. You can report a concern directly, but please contact us first, so that we may try and resolve your concern.

Limitations on Whythawk's liability

The materials on this site are provided solely for informational purposes and should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any commercial services. Your use and browsing of this site is at your own risk.

While unlikely, the materials could include technical inaccuracies or other errors. They are provided to you "as is" without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including but not limited to, warranties of merchantability, non-infringement of intellectual property, and fitness for a particular purpose.

Whythawk does not warrant that the functions contained in this site's materials will be uninterrupted or error-free, that defects will be corrected, or that our site or the server that makes it available are free of viruses or other harmful components. Whythawk does not warrant or make any representations regarding the use or the results of the use of the materials on our site in terms of their correctness, accuracy, reliability, or otherwise. You (and not Whythawk) assume the entire cost of all necessary servicing, repair or correction.

Applicable law may not allow the exclusion of implied warranties, so the above exclusion may not apply to you. Under no circumstances, including, but not limited to, negligence, shall Whythawk be liable for any damages whatsoever (including, without limitation, damages for loss of profits, business interruption, loss of information) arising out of or in connection with the use of, or inability to use, the materials on our site, even if Whythawk or a Whythawk-authorized representative has been advised of the possibility of such damages. Applicable law may not allow the limitation or exclusion of liability or incidental or consequential damages, so the above limitation may not apply to you. In no event shall Whythawk's total liability to you for all damages, losses, and causes of action, including but not limited to negligence, arising out of or in connection with your use of this site, exceed the amount paid by you, if any, for accessing this site.


This site has security measures in place to protect against the loss, misuse and alteration of the information under our control. However, your confidential use of this site cannot be guaranteed by Whythawk. Whythawk shall not be responsible for any harm that you or any person may suffer as the result of a breach of confidentiality with respect to information you transmitted to the site.

Whythawk has not reviewed all of the sites linked to this site and is not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of any off-site pages or any other sites linked to this site, whether or not they are affiliated with Whythawk. Such linked sites are for your convenience only and you access them at your own risk. Whythawk makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or functioning of any such link. That another web site is linked to our site does not constitute endorsement by Whythawk of the owner of the other site, the content of its site, or its products or services.

General provisions

The materials on are presented solely for educational and research purposes. Whythawk may make changes to this site at any time without notice. Whythawk does not warrant or represent that materials on our site are appropriate or available for use outside England and Wales. If you choose to access our site from other locations, you do so at your own initiative and you are responsible for complying with local laws, if and to the extent local laws are applicable. Whythawk reserves the right to deny access to the site to anyone at any time. These terms shall be governed by and construed according to the laws of the UK, as they are applied to agreements entered into and to be performed entirely within the UK. Any claim or cause of action arising out of or relating to these terms shall be barred unless such claim or cause of action is brought within one year after it arises; any such claim or cause of action shall be brought only in courts in the UK, and you consent to jurisdiction of such courts for the purpose of litigating such actions. Whenever possible, each provision of these terms shall be interpreted in such manner as to be effective and valid under applicable law, but if any provision is deemed prohibited or invalid under applicable law, such provision shall be ineffective to the extent of such prohibition or invalidity without invalidating the remainder of such provisions or the remaining provisions of these terms.

This is the entire agreement between us relating to your use of this site. These terms may not be modified by you, in writing or otherwise, unless agreed to in a written document signed by Whythawk. You represent and warrant to Whythawk that you are at least eighteen (18) years old and that you possess the legal right and ability to enter into this agreement and to use the site in accordance with this agreement.

Acknowledgements and references

  • "404" page image courtesy of Jamison Riley via Unsplash