Complete Non-Residential / Business Property Rates Data

Gavin Chait made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Middlesbrough Council as part of a batch sent to 27 authorities

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Gwrthodwyd y cais gan Middlesbrough Council.

Dear Middlesbrough Council,

In terms of the Freedom of Information Act of 2000, could you please provide me with a complete and up-to-date list of all business (non-residential) property rates data for your local authority, and including the following fields:

- Billing Authority Code
- Firm's Trading Name (i.e. property occupant)
- Full Property Address (Number, Street, Postal Code, Town)
- Occupied / Vacant
- Date of Occupation / Vacancy
- Actual annual rates charged (in Pounds)

While such data series are often published by local authorities, I have undertaken a thorough search of your website and have not found these. If they are available, as requested, then please - in terms of Section 21 of the act - could you provide a link to the page where the data are published, as well as guidance on the update frequency.

I appreciate that properties owned / rented by individuals are personal information and such personal data (i.e. the Firm's Trading Name) would be excluded from my request in terms of Section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. In such cases, please provide the remaining information with the Firm's Trading Name either blank or listed as 'individual'.

Please provide this as machine-readable as either a CSV or Microsoft Excel file, capable of re-use, and under terms of the Open Government Licence.

I am compiling a comprehensive time-series database of business activity across the UK and will require the dataset updated on a quarterly basis. Some 20% of local authorities already provide this dataset (and a total of 30% of local authorities provide a subset of these data) on a monthly to quarterly basis on a dedicated page on their websites or on an open data service. I would appreciate it if you could do the same.

Yours faithfully,

Gavin Chait

foi, Middlesbrough Council

Dear Gavin

 

REF NO:  009390

 

Thank you for your recent enquiry, received on 11/03/2016, in relation to
business rates.  I can confirm that your enquiry is receiving attention
and a response will be provided within 20 working days following receipt
of your enquiry as allowed under the Freedom of Information Act
legislation.

 

In some circumstances a fee may be payable and if that is the case, I will
let you know the likely charges before proceeding.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact me direct on (01642) 729696/729698 or
email [1][Middlesbrough Council request email] should you require any further advice or
assistance with this or any other matter.

 

Kind regards

Catherine

. . . . . . . . . . .

 

Catherine Hanley

Data Protection Officer

Democratic Services

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Middlesbrough Council request email]

foi, Middlesbrough Council

2 Atodiad

                                       

 

 

 

Dear Mr Chait

 

REF NO: 009390

 

I am writing to confirm that Middlesbrough Council has now completed its
search for the information you requested on 14^th March 2016, in relation
to business rates.

In your request you asked for the following information:

     In terms of the Freedom of Information Act of 2000, could you please
provide me with a complete and up-to-date list of all business
(non-residential) property rates data for your local

     authority, and including the following fields:

    

     - Billing Authority Code

     - Firm's Trading Name (i.e. property occupant)

     - Full Property Address (Number, Street, Postal Code, Town)

     - Occupied / Vacant

     - Date of Occupation / Vacancy

     - Actual annual rates charged (in Pounds)

 

Response: The requested information is contained in the attached
spreadsheet.  Please note that the names of sole traders have been
redacted on the basis of section 40(2) of FOIA.  We consider this
information to be third party personal information.

 

The information you have requested in respect of vacant properties is
exempt under Section 31(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act, and is
therefore being withheld.

 

Having considered the public interest test, the Councils decision is that
the release of the information into the public domain would be likely to
prejudice the prevention of detection of crime.

 

Section 31 is a qualified exemption and therefore the “public interest
test” was applied.

 

Whilst the Council accepts there are indeed some advantages in the release
of the information to the public at large, I am not satisfied that this
outweighs the public interest in withholding the information for the
following reasons:

 

· The risk that publication would prejudice the prevention of crime, as it
could lead to the likely targeting of those empty properties by those
engaged in vandalism, theft or other anti-social behaviour.

 

· The risk that publication would lead to increased anxiety and fear of
crime amongst occupants or adjacent residential and commercial properties,
as a result of the likely targeting of the empty properties by those
engaged in criminal and anti-social behaviour.

 

· The risk that publication could undermine efforts by the Council and
commercial property owners to bring empty properties back into use, in
order to improve local communities and reduce crime and vandalism in the
area around empty properties.

If you have any queries about this response, please do not hesitate to
contact me direct on (01642) 729696/729698 or email
[Middlesbrough Council request email].  Please remember to quote the reference number
shown above in any future communications.

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled you may ask
for an internal review within 40 days of receipt of the response. You
should write to:-

Sylvia Reynolds,
Information Governance Manager,
P.O. Box 503,
Ground Floor,
Town Hall,
Middlesbrough,
TS1 9FX

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for an
independent review.  The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: -

Information Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House,
Water Lane,
Wilmslow,
Cheshire,
SK9 5AF

Yours sincerely

Janette Anderson

Freedom of Information Officer

Democratic Services

Organisation and Governance
P.O. Box 503
Ground Floor
Town Hall
Middlesbrough
TS1 9FX

Tel.  01642 729696

FAX. 01642 729882

Email:   [Middlesbrough Council request email]
 

 

All intellectual property rights are reserved.  Trademarks, brand names,
company names, and logos are the property of Middlesbrough Council, or of
their respective owners.  Reproduction, alterations, modification,
distribution, or re-publication in any format, without prior written
permission from the property owner is forbidden.

 

The Council's copyright and other intellectual property rights are
protected by UK laws and by international treaties.

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Middlesbrough Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Middlesbrough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Complete Non-Residential / Business Property Rates Data'.

On 14 March 2016, I sent an FOI request for a complete and up-to-date list of all business (non-residential) property rates data, and including the following fields:

- Billing Authority Code
- Firm's Trading Name (i.e. property occupant)
- Full Property Address (Number, Street, Postal Code, Town)
- Occupied / Vacant
- Date of Occupation / Vacancy
- Actual annual rates charged (in Pounds)

My request has been refused in terms of Section 31(a). According to the Information Commissioners Office, "Section 31 is a prejudice based exemption and is subject to the public interest test. This means that not only does the information have to prejudice one of the purposes listed, but, before the information can be withheld, the public interest in preventing that prejudice must outweigh the public interest in disclosure."

Section 31(a) deals specifically with "the prevention or detection of crime".

The purpose of our use of the data requested is in informing entrepreneurs and business seekers about opportunities in empty premises when they are advertised for new tenants. We combine local authority premises occupation data with other data (from the Valuations Office and ONS) to develop forward guidance on business potential in each empty business property. Further details on our activities are available at http://pikhaya.com, but our activity is supported by the Open Data Institute and we have received funding from the EU Open Data Incubator to develop this service.

Our combined data are made available via online commercial property leasing intermediaries as a free service to business seekers. These leasing intermediaries combine our data with properties being offered for rent.

In other words, these are properties being clearly advertised as empty whether the local authority data are publicly available or not.

A property being empty may well lead to it being more likely to suffer potential criminal activity, but it does not automatically follow that publishing a list of empty properties in any way changes that potential.

Of the 350 local authorities in England and Wales, over 150 of these either already make empty property data available, or have done so in response to FOI requests from ourselves.

We are mindful, though, that not all authorities wish to release direct information on empty premises. In that case, could we suggest that you provide only a list of occupied properties which we would then reconcile against the master list of properties from the Valuations Office Agency (VOA). VOA data are available via their website, and the complete database by subscription. Empty premises will be known to residents of the community in which they are based.That means that anyone not resident in your community and wanting to find the list of empty properties would have to undertake the costs and technicalities of a similar data reconciliation.

I would ask that you consider that the public interest in economic development and improving opportunities for independent businesses and entrepreneurs far outweighs any concern that the release of data which can identify empty business properties may cause crime.

Unemployment and economic deprivation are often key to reducing the potential for crime. Our intention is to support local economic development initiatives through the use of these data.

I ask that you reconsider your decision and make this data available to us under terms which permit our use thereof.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

Yours faithfully,

Gavin Chait

Catherine Hanley, Middlesbrough Council

Dear  Gavin

 

REQUEST REF NO: 009427

 

I acknowledge that your request  for an internal review/appeal is now
being processed  through the Councils appeals procedure and a response
will be provided within 20 working days. 

 

Please note the officer now dealing with your enquiry is Mrs Sylvia
Reynolds. Should you wish to contact her, you can do so at the following
address:

 

Mrs Sylvia Reynolds

Information Governance Manager

P.O. Box 503

Ground Floor

Town Hall

Middlesbrough

TS1 9FX

 

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me
direct on (01642) 729696 or email [Middlesbrough Council request email]  Please
remember to quote the reference number shown above in any future
communications.

 

Kind regards

Catherine

. . . . . . . . . . .

 

Catherine Hanley

Data Protection Officer

Democratic Services

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

foi, Middlesbrough Council

1 Atodiad

 

 

Dear Mr Chait
APPEAL RESPONSE - REF NO: 009427

I am writing to confirm that Sylvia Reynolds, Members & Statutory Services
Manager, has now conducted your request for an internal review/appeal. A
copy of the response is attached.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me
direct on (01642) 729696/729698 or email [1][Middlesbrough Council request email]
Please remember to quote the reference number shown above in any future
communications.

Yours sincerely

 

Steph Robson

Freedom of Information Officer

 

Democratic Services
Organisation and Governance

Middlesbrough Council

PO Box 503

Town Hall

Middlesbrough
TS1 9FX

 

Tel: 01642 729696

 

E-mail: [2][Middlesbrough Council request email]

 

SAT NAV POST CODE TS1 2RT

 

 

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Middlesbrough Council request email]
2. mailto:[Middlesbrough Council request email]