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FIO request. Documents not expected to be releaed

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Re: FIO request. Documents not expected to be releaed

Postby south1 » Sun Aug 09, 2015 12:16 pm

I do not understand why in this case the public interest will not be at stake. Following an application for a lawful development certificate numerous large new windows with clear glasses were inserted where there have always been only few small windows with obscured glasses. This has caused damage to the historical environment of this conservation area, loss of visual amenity and loss of privacy due to overlooking.

These documents were produced by the applicant of this lawful development certificate to prove that his property was a dwelling house and not anymore a block of flats to get permitted development rights to insert these new windows with clear glasses without a full planning permission despite a planning condition attached to a previous planning application which says that the windows should have obscured glasses to protect against overlooking.

Hence I think that it is in the interest of the public that I try to save this conservation area and to do this I need to examine these documents to convince the planning department that this lawful development certificate was wrongly granted because this property was not a single dwelling and that the site should be restored to its prior condition. It is also a question of natural justice that all parties are allowed to scrutinize all evidence when a conservation area and the privacy of the neighbours are at stake
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Re: FIO request. Documents not expected to be releaed

Postby b1969 » Mon Aug 10, 2015 8:59 am

You have omitted essential wording from your citation of paragraph 5(d) of Schedule 2 of the Data Protection Act 1998. That sub-paragraph provides a lawful basis for the processing of personal data where the processing is necessary for the exercise of any other functions of a public nature exercised in the public interest by any person. It is not your job to check the bona fides of an applicant under planning law: that is a function of the planning authority. Accordingly, disclosure to you under FOI cannot be "necessary". In the absence of any legal basis, disclosure would not be fair and lawful, and would contravene the planning authority's obligations under the DPA.
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Re: FIO request. Documents not expected to be releaed

Postby b1969 » Mon Aug 10, 2015 9:17 am

Coincidentally, just after I posted my previous reply, I saw a recent decision by the Information Tribunal dealing with a very similar sort of request. NB that this correctly identifies that the appropriate regime is actually the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, and not the Freedom of Information Act 2000: http://www.informationtribunal.gov.uk/DBFiles/Decision/i1612/Shaw,%20Jonathan%20EA-2015-0069%20(4.8.15)-.pdf
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Re: FIO request. Documents not expected to be releaed

Postby south1 » Mon Aug 10, 2015 2:04 pm

1.
It could be necessary because I need to have all information in hand to make a complaint if the planning department has not property checks these documents

2.
In the case law to which you make reference I have noted the following comments

“36. While there may be a public interest in the planning process as a whole
that does not mean that there is necessarily a public interest in the
publication of details of anyone who may comment on planning
applications
37. What clearly matters in such situations is the nature and substance of the
comments. These are likely to be clearer and more robust and informative
on the basis that they are published in an anonymized form."


What means that the personal data filed during a planning permission could be revealed to the public if it is in the interest of the public. Hence it is possible that I have not quoted the proper piece of legislation or not all the relevant pieces of legislation. I may need your help to find it.

3.
These comments show also that this case is a different case to my case because it is about the disclosure of the names of objectors what could not be relevant to the public interest. However my request concerns different matter because it is a request for the disclosure of documents used as evidence what is in the interest of the public as explained in my previous post
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Re: FIO request. Documents not expected to be releaed

Postby b1969 » Mon Aug 10, 2015 2:44 pm

Oh yes, certainly you can't claim you are exercising functions of a public nature – I thought you were saying that disclosure under FOI would be necessary for the planning authority to exercise its public functions. If you want the only possible Schedule 2 condition, look at paragraph 6, but you won't a) get the planning authority to agree with you, nor b) the Information Commissioner.
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Re: FIO request. Documents not expected to be releaed

Postby south1 » Mon Aug 10, 2015 3:07 pm

Thank you for having pointed to me paragraph 6 I had not noticed it.

As I say in my previous post it is the protection of a conservation area and of the privacy of neighbours which are at stake
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Re: FIO request. Documents not expected to be releaed

Postby south1 » Sat Nov 14, 2015 12:03 pm

The Council has upheld my appeal. It has redacted names in the documents but it has accepted to provide me with the documents that I requested under my FOI request.

However the problem is that the Council has not been able to provide me with all documents requested because it says that normally documents used in applications for lawful development certificates are recorded in the database of the computer of the Council before being destroyed at the end of the application but for unknown reasons some documents were not recorded.

The Council told me that the planning officer who was in charge of this application does not work anymore for the Council and as a consequence it is not possible to ask him why he has not recorded also these documents.

Most of documents that I requested concern documents used by this neighbour to prove that he was using his property as a block of flats for example previous utilities bills addressed to one of the two flats and new utilities bills addressed only to address of the building without stated Flat 1 or Flat 2 etc..However very strangely the missing documents are the new utility bills i.e. those who maybe suggest that this property could have been transformed into a single dwelling

I think that the fact that his property has always had only one letter box means that it is irrelevant whether or not the letters where addressed to one of the two flats or to the address of the building because as long as the name of my neighbour was in the envelop he was sure to receive the letters irrespectively of whether his property was used as a block of flats or a single dwelling. However these documents were the only small documentary evidence which suggest that maybe this property was used as a single dwelling house and very strangely they are missing

The questions are the following:

Strangely the planning officer who dealt with this application left the Council at the end of the new application for planning permission to split again my neighbour’s property into flats i.e. when my neighbour got what he wanted i.e. a block of flats with windows with clear glasses. Could there be undue influence or other kind of dishonest behaviour? Could this explain also why these large windows with clear glasses were allowed even though they did not have a similar appearance to the existing one contrary to Condition A3(a) of Schedule 2, Part 1, Class A of the GPDO 2008?

The question is also how can I use in my favour this defect in the processing of the LDC? I suppose that I can make a complaint to the Council because this LDC has not been properly processed but can I say also that officially if these documents were not recorded in the database of the computer of the Council they have never existed even thought the Council makes reference to them in its report to grant the LDC? Moreover it is entirely impossible to check the genuineness of these documents because they are missing

Which kind of complaint can I made to the Information Commissioner? Can I make a complaint because the data concerning this LDC have not been processed fairly?
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