Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: FOI request goes to tribunal: more background information: Thursday 28th August
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: the Information Commissioner's decision notice on another Freedom of Information request: "The council’s approach was neither in the spirit nor the letter of the legislation."
Following on from the Information Commissioner's insistence that it publish documentation on its dealings with the developer at Knowle
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: BREAKING NEWS >> >>> Information Commissioner tells East Devon District Council to publish documentation
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: >>> Information Commissioner tells East Devon District Council to publish documentation >>> Decision Notices now available on-line
It is now prepared to risk its name – all to keep vital documents out of the public eye and away from the Council’s own planning committee days before it decides on the Knowle planning application.
PRESS RELEASE 28th November 2016
EDDC TO DEFY INFORMATION COMMISSIONER – AND TO TAKE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUESTS ON KNOWLE TO TRIBUNAL
East Devon District Council have formally announced that they will only be complying with one of three Decision Notices issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office on 25th October.
They have formally released the already widely-known information that the price for the Knowle site to developers PegasusLife is £7.5 million – on condition that they receive planning permission. (Decision Notice on Case: FER0608237)
However, the Council do not wish to divulge the “minutes of meetings and correspondence on the subject the decision to award the contract to PegasusLife” (Decision Notice on Case: FER0623403) or give “a copy of an agreement between East Devon District Council and a developer, Pegasus Life, in relation to a site at Knowle” (Decision Notice on Case: FER0626901)
It is clear that the Council do not want any information to be revealed about the contractual arrangements it has with the developer. And in particular, they do not want this to happen before a crucial vote by their planning committee on 6th December – when the Development Management Committee will consider the controversial planning application 16/0872/MFUL from PegasusLife.
This timing seriously puts into question the extent to which the DMC’s decision-making is thereby being compromised, in that any information touching on the planning application should be made available to DMC Members – and the developer’s contract clearly refers to the planning application.
It is now obvious, therefore, that the Council would rather incur further embarrassment and potential damage to their reputation by appearing at the Information Tribunal – as this is the second time it will be appealing against the Information Commissioner.
The obvious question which has to be asked is: What are they so desperate to hide?
Moreover, the Council is clearly prepared to spend yet further on defending itself, no doubt with the use of expensive legal representation – and yet it complains regularly about the expense of having to deal with FOI requests.
Why, then, is the Council so determined to avoid being held properly accountable, let alone transparent to its rate-paying electorate?
It will be interesting to see how the Council deals with the legal process which will now ensue.
Will it drag matters out as it did two years ago, during the first time it appeared at the Tribunal?
And how will the Council’s representatives conduct themselves on this occasion?