Dear Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council,
Please can you provide me with the following information under the Freedom Of Information Act 2000:-
(a) addresses and rateable values of empty Commercial properties that are within the area;
(b) the names of the owners of those properties referred to in (a)
Dear Mr Burrows,
Further to your request for information relating to National Non-Domestic
Rates Accounts I can tell you the following:
In accordance with our obligation to respond to requests made under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI Act) and also our commitment to Open
Data, we intend to publish on our website information relating to Non
Domestic Rates Accounts.
The information will be provided in CSV format and will be published twice
yearly, in March and September.
Under the FOI Act the information is exempt from disclosure under the
provisions of section 21 (information accessible to the applicant by other
We are not required to release the information if it reasonably accessible
to you in another way (such as via the above website).
Regarding the scope of your request, and the dates of publication of our
NNDR information - the information that you have requested relating this
subject is exempt under Section 22 of the FOIA as it is information
intended for future publication.
Section 22 provides that:
1. Information is exempt if –
a) The information is held by a public authority with a view to its
publication, by the authority or any other person, at some future date
(whether determined or not).
b) It is reasonable in all circumstances that the information should be
withheld from disclosure until the date referred to in paragraph a).
Section 22 is a qualified exemption subject to the public interest test.
We have considered the public interest in releasing the information
against the interest in withholding it.
There is a public interest in transparency being demonstrated by releasing
the information with this reply.
However transparency is also achieved by the publishing this information
on our website.
There is a public interest in us providing information we hold that falls
within the scope of an FOI request as quickly as possible.
But this needs to be balanced with the public interest in us ensuring the
maximum cost effectiveness. Providing this information in response to all
FOI requests we receive on this subject is not the most cost effective way
of placing this information in the public domain, when it will be
published in due course on our website.
The exemption under Section 22 of the FOIA recognises that it must be
reasonable to withhold the information until the date of publication.
Given the necessary preparation and administration involved in publishing
the information, which includes liaison with multiple departments within
the council, and collation and submission of the information to managers,
we consider that our publication timetable is reasonable.
We have therefore concluded that the public interest in withholding this
information outweighs the public interest in releasing it.
If your request is also for information relating to NNDR Credits on
accounts, please note that following recent decision notices from the
Information Commissioners Officer Walsall Council has made the decision to
no longer publish information in respect of credit balances on Business
This decision has been made in line with Section 31(a) of the Freedom of
Information Act to ensure the prevention or detection of crime.
Full details of this decision, including public interest test can be
located on the open data website:
This notice, therefore, acts as a refusal notice to your request under
section 17 of the FoIA.
Most of the information that we provide in response to Freedom of
Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004
requests will be subject to copyright protection. In most cases the
copyright will be owned by Walsall Council. The copyright in respect of
other information may be owned by another person or organisation, as
You are free to use any information supplied to you in response to this
request for your own non-commercial research or private study purposes.
The information may also be used for any other purpose allowed by a
limitation or exception in copyright law, such as news reporting.
However, any other type of re-use, for example by publishing the
information in analogue or digital form, including on the internet, will
require the permission of the copyright owner.
I hope that the information provided is useful to you. However, if you are
dissatisfied, you should set out in writing your grounds for complaint and
send to: Lead Assurance Officer, Resources & Transformation, Civic Centre,
Darwall Street, Walsall, WS1 1TP.
If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for a decision.
Please remember that, generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you
have first exhausted the complaints procedure provided by the council. The
Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9
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