The answer to this is relatively simple. If the local residents don’t want to run it, then don’t. If the local residents want to impose conditions then do so.
My suggestion would be that the local residents tell the owner of the land but if they want to offload the land, they would be willing to take over the management of the land (assuming that they want to do so) and to buy for a peppercorn provided the current owner agrees to do a first registration.
Equitable title means that on paper you would not own it. In my opinion, totally unsatisfactory. Get them to register it. Then they transferred it to you in the normal way.
The reason they are looking doing this we is that they don’t want to have to do the work which is required to do a first registration on the property where the deeds of being lost. They are being lazy. If they don’t register it, tell them you are not interested. That would be my advice.
If I have answered your question for you, at the top of the page, you should see a rating facility. Can you please rate my reply 3 stars or more because that really helps me? Please note you are not rating whether it’s favourable, because sometimes you may not get the answer you want, but basically my knowledge and way of dealing.
The thread does not close and I am happy to answer any questions you may have arising from this.