EHDC planning apps 52501/001 and 52501/002 'Brislands Lane', Four Marks. - HFRS requirements

Stephen Whiteside made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

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

Roedd y cais yn rhannol lwyddiannus.

Stephen Whiteside

Dear Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service,

I am trying to ascertain the Service’s input to these planning applications with regard to your requirements for access to this development [now known as Medstead Farm], particularly but not restricted to the design of the emergency access from Brislands Lane. I am concerned about the impact of this facility on its surroundings and particularly on the rural character of Brislands Lane.

I can find no relevant consultee comments online.

Please provide copies of any information regarding advice, recommendations and/or requirements provided by the Service to either Hampshire County Council [as highway authority] or East Hampshire District Council [as planning authority] about these important matters.

NOTE: Since this a request for environment information, regarding the development of land, I believe that it should be handled in accordance with the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

Yours faithfully,

Stephen Whitesde

Stephen Whiteside

Dear Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service,

I refer to my FOIA/EIR request of 13 August 2016.

A Development Brief for this site was adopted by EHDC in November 2009. At 8.8 the Brief states “… a 3 metre wide combined footpath cycleway will also be provided through the site that connects both the baseline and reserve sites with Brislands Lane ….. This will also function as an emergency access for the site.”

During the consultation for this Brief, a Council officer is recorded as stating that “… The emergency access would be gated and locked with only access to emergency services.”

I was told by the developer's representative, at a public meeting in 2010, that the emergency access had been requested by the emergency services, though the gentleman was not specific as to which. Could you [also] please provide any information regarding such a pre-application request by HFRS. or anything else to do with the formulation of the Development Brief.

Could you please acknowledge receipt of my emails, so that I can be sure they have arrived and that my request is being looked into.

Yours faithfully,

Stephen Whiteside

HFRS DP & FOI, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Whiteside

 

Our Reference: FOI 56 16-17

 

Please find attached our acknowledgement to your recent request for
information.

 

Regards

 

Assurance and Compliance Officer

Knowledge Management

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
Leigh Road
Eastleigh
Hampshire
SO50 9SJ

Tel:  023 8064 4000 ext  2149

e-mail: [1][email address]

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Stephen Whiteside

Dear HFRS DP & FOI,

Your Reference: FOI 56 16-17

Thank you for your acknowledgement email.

I now note that on at least two other EHDC planning applications [55949/001 and 20252/003] the Service’s consultee comments include that “… Access and facilities for Fire Service Appliances and Firefighters should be in accordance with Approved Document B5 of the current Building Regulations. …”

I then see from Approved Document B5, in the notes under ‘Design of access routes and hardstandings’ that “… Fire appliances are not standardised. Some fire and rescue services have appliances of greater weight or different size. In consultation with the Fire and Rescue Authority, the Building Control Body may adopt other dimensions in such circumstances.”

From the above, it seems possible [or even desirable] that the Applicant and/or EHDC Building Control will have corresponded with the Service regarding the design of the routes into this development, including turning/sweep circles, the design/width of any ‘emergency access only’ gates and/or specification of any collapsible posts or bollards.

Could you please therefore include within the information provided, any correspondence about the ‘Brislands Lane’ application in which the Service has been involved with regard to Building Regulation compliance.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Whiteside

HFRS DP & FOI, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Dear Mr Whiteside

 

Our Reference: FOI 56 16-17

 

In order to assist you with your request the team supplying the
information require more detail about the request.

 

We need to establish the exact development being referred to. Therefore
can we please ask you to provide either the full address, or a plan of the
area concerned so we can do a comparison within the system we use to
identify the file (via a mapping function).

 

Thank you.

 

Regards

 

Assurance and Compliance Officer

Knowledge Management

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
Leigh Road
Eastleigh
Hampshire
SO50 9SJ

Tel:  023 8062 6850

e-mail: [1][email address]

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Gadawodd Stephen Whiteside anodiad ()

I emailed HFRS the following information on 31 August.

"... The development, called ‘Medstead Farm’, is located north of Brislands Lane at the western end of Four Marks. The Application Form gives the site co-ordinates as 466452, 134408. The main access to the site is from the A31 (Winchester Road), via either Lapwing Way or Goldcrest Way.
I attach the following:
-- Location Plan submitted with the initial [outline] planning application.
-- Conveyancing Layout, which shows new road names. [Lily Road, Holly Drive, Daisy Close, Beech Grove, Elm Tree Place and Maple Place.
-- Development Brief [adopted Nov 2009], which at 8.8 [pp 9-10] tells us that “… A 3 metre wide combined footpath cycleway will … be provided …. This will also function as an emergency access for the site.” ..."

Stephen Whiteside

Dear HFRS DP & FOI

Your Reference: FOI 56 16-17

By law, the Service should normally have responded promptly and by 12 September 2016 at the latest.
Could you now provide the information, if you hold it, or explain the delay.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Whiteside

HFRS DP & FOI, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Dear Mr Whiteside,

 

Your original FOI request was received by Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service
on Monday 15 August, and therefore the 20th working day following that
date is 13 September (allowing for the August Bank Holiday).  However, we
required further information and clarification from you, and this was sent
to us on 31 August.  The time limit for complying with your request does
not begin until we have received the necessary clarification to allow us
to answer the request, and therefore the final date for us to respond to
your FOI request is 28 September (20 working days following receipt of the
necessary clarification). 

 

Kind regards,

 

Information Governance & Audit Officer  

Knowledge Management Team

 

Tel:  023 8064 4000 ext 3940

Fax:  023 8062 6718

Web:  [1]www.hantsfire.gov.uk

 

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Headquarters

Leigh Road

Eastleigh

Hampshire  SO50 9SJ

 

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dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Stephen Whiteside

Dear HFRS DP & FOI,

Thank you for your email. It's unfortunate I think that you did not explain this extended time limit when you acknowledged receipt of the 'further information and clarification' on 5 September. However, as I understand it, you must now provide the requested information 'as soon as possible' and hopefully this will be before the 28 September deadline.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Whiteside

HFRS DP & FOI, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Whiteside

 

Reference: Freedom of Information 56 16-17

 

Please find attached our response to your request for information.

 

Regards,

 

 

Assurance and Compliance Officer

Knowledge Management

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
Leigh Road
Eastleigh
Hampshire
SO50 9SJ

Tel:  023 8062 6850

e-mail: [1][email address]

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Stephen Whiteside

Dear HFRS DP & FOI,

Your Ref: FOI 56 16-17

Thank you for your email of 21 September, but it appears from what you say that you may have misunderstood my intentions.

For the avoidance of doubt, what I require are copies of any information that shows if/when the Service has had ANY involvement in the proposal to develop this piece of land, from the time of the Development Brief consultation to present. If nothing else, I would expect to see evidence of the Service’s involvement in the provision of adequate fire hydrants and the signing of a Fire Safety Order [for the flats], as well as some sort of official notification of the new street names.

I apologise if my request lacked sufficient clarity.

PLANNING INPUT
You tell me that you “…have carried out a search using the detailed location information [I] provided and there is no record of having received any town and country planning application for this development AT THAT TIME [my emphasis].”
This IMPLIES that HFRS may have restricted its search to information related specifically to the planning applications, between the time each was validated and the times the two permissions were granted by the East Hampshire District Council [EHDC]. Your reply also IMPLIES that HFRS was not consulted on any aspect of either the ‘outline’ or subsequent ‘reserved matters’ planning applications and made no input into those processes at ANY time.
----- Could you please confirm that I have understood that correctly?

Development Brief
The site was originally known as the Reserve Housing Site – Land to the North of Brislands Lane. My email of 17 August, requested information regarding any advice provided by the Service during the formulation of the Development Brief for the site, which was adopted November 2009.
---- Could you please confirm whether you have any record of the Service’s involvement at THAT time? Specifically, do you hold anything that indicates that HFRS requested the provision of an emergency access from Brislands Lane and/or provided any early guidance on such a facility’s design requirements.

Planning Conditions
Condition 21, attached to the outline planning permission [52501/001], states that “Prior to the commencement of development, … details of the proposed permanent pedestrian/cycle/emergency access on Brislands Lane shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. Thereafter all work shall be fully implemented prior to the completion of the development, unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.”
On 4 April 2014, with the agreement of the highway authority [HCCl], EHDC discharged Condition 21 on the basis of submitted drawings which show NO locked gate and NO details that might indicate that the proposed ‘path’ would be suitable for the type of appliance that HFRS may need to tackle a fire or other emergency on this new estate.
---- Could you please confirm whether you have any record of HFRS being involved at THAT [compliance with conditions] stage?

BUILDING REGULATIONS INPUT
You tell me that you “… have also carried out a search using the reference numbers [I] provided and they do not match to any Building Regulations letters that we have received.” Unfortunately, the references I used relate only to the PLANNING applications and I would be very surprised if the ‘building control body’ does not have its own reference for this new development.
---- Could you please confirm [or otherwise] that the building control body has AT NO TIME consulted with the Service about the development now known as ‘Medstead Farm’, consisting of 110 dwellings, with around 13 different house types [including one block of flats with communal areas], set along six new, unadopted roads.
---- If there HAS been consultation [perhaps under a reference separate to that of the planning application], could THAT information please now be provided. Crucially, if the Service HAS advised the building control body, that because the guidance of B5 has not been achieved in this case “…additional measures should be put in place and/or that the occupier should inform their insurance company accordingly…”, could that information be provided just as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Whiteside

HFRS DP & FOI, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Dear Mr Whiteside

 

Our Reference: Freedom of Information

Thank you for your email dated 26 September.

 

The information has been passed to the relevant team.

 

Regards

 

Assurance and Compliance Officer

Knowledge Management

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
Leigh Road
Eastleigh
Hampshire
SO50 9SJ

Tel:  023 8062 850

e-mail: [1][email address]

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Stephen Whiteside

Dear HFRS DP & FOI,

I note that the Service’s initial response was headed “Freedom of Information Act 2000”. However, since the request is clearly about the environment [development of land], I believe that it should in fact be handled under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

For information, in case the Service was not aware, the ‘building control body’ for this development was/is NHBC Building Control Services Limited.

At this stage, I think that I need to reiterate [and stress] that this route has been ‘sold’ as an ‘emergency access’ since the days of the preparation of the Development Brief [i.e pre-2009]. But in reality, it appears to have been constructed only to typical footpath specification, with concrete edgings rather than kerbs and not sufficient to take vehicles the size and weight of a fire appliance. The path also seems significantly narrower than the 3.7 metres required by Approved Document B5 of the current Building Regulations.

Whilst checking on the above, it has also been noted that there appear to be no fire hydrants [or associated marker plates] on the site, and we are becoming increasingly worried about the safety standards being applied [or possibly overlooked] here.

Could I ask that you urge ‘the relevant team’ to respond as soon as possible to my last email.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Whiteside

Dear HFRS DP & FOI,

As you will know, since my last email to you [12 October] there has been correspondence between us about this matter via my personal email address. For the sake of those who didn’t know and are still watching, I have summarised the content of those emails below.

On20 Oct 2016 I emailed your Chief Officer, Dave Curry:
“I am writing to bring to your attention issues that have arisen with regard to the Service's response to my request of 13 August and my follow-up emails of 26 September and 12 October 2016. … There are serious matters outstanding here that have significant implications with regard to both public safety and public liability. I therefore hope that you may be able to persuade 'the relevant team' to provide a substantive response as a matter of urgency.”

Having heard nothing back, I emailed Mr Curry again on 24 October asking that he “… acknowledge the potentially serious implications with regard to the information requested under the EIR and provide an explanation for the worrying delays along with a date by when this important information will finally be disclosed.”

Later that day, Shantha Dickinson [Head of Knowledge Management] responded on behalf of Dave Curry to confirm that ” … Our teams are continuing to work on a response to your questions and I anticipate this being completed in the next few days.”

I replied to Ms Dickinson the same day [copied to Mr Curry et al] saying “… I do hope that the delays encountered are not being used to 'plug holes' in processes/procedures/'agreements' which current evidence suggests are inadequate and failing ... in this case at least. …”

On 26 October, I received an email from Ron Hedger [Station Manager: Business Fire Safety] offering to speak with me directly on the telephone, which he thought might be more “… effective at communicating the situation …”.

I replied to Mr Hedger on 27 October [again copied to various] to decline his offer to speak on the telephone at this stage, but provided further background on the history of the ‘emergency access’. I told him that I thought that my email of 26 September was quite clear with regard to the confirmation/clarification required in this EIR request .
With regard to the lack of identifiable fire hydrants, I told him that I saw this as a separate issue but would be happy to receive any comments he may have via my private email address in the first instance. I explained that “… I am particularly keen to know what procedures and/or agreements are in place to ensure that fire hydrants are properly located, marked and maintained.”

Having heard nothing, on 31 October I emailed Ms Dickinson [copied to Mr Curry et al] asking “…when I should receive the Service's full response to the my EIR request and when Mr Hedger will get back to me on the separate matter of fire hydrant provision, location and maintenance etc?”. Although Ms Dickinson did at least acknowledge receipt, I have still had nothing of substance from HFRS apart from the email from Mr Hedger, which in itself provides no relevant information.

Could you please now finalise your initial response to this request as a matter of urgency.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Whiteside

Gadawodd Stephen Whiteside anodiad ()

Having had NOTHING from HFRS since Ms Dickinson's 'read receipt' on 31 October, I have today written to the Chairman of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority as follows:

"I write to alert you [as Chairman ...] to problems that have arisen with regard to the response to my FOI/EIR request of 13 August 2016 by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service [HFRS], who's policy and service delivery I believe your Authority oversees.

My request relates to the Service's general compliance with the Fire & Rescue Services Act 2004 and to the very serious issues of operational risk, public safety and liability. In the circumstances, the Chief Officer's refusal to even acknowledge my emails combined with the procrastination on the part of the officer[s] supposedly preparing a proper response can only heighten our concerns about the Service's performance in the matters raised.

There is clearly nothing to be gained by submitting a formal complaint to HFRS, since this would have to be addressed to the Knowledge Management Team who are the very people responsible for the unacceptable and potentially irresponsible delays encountered. I therefore ask that the Authority intervenes and ensures that the Service provides the requested confirmation/clarification and any/all relevant information without further delay."

HFRS DP & FOI, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Whiteside

 

Reference: 56 16-17

 

Please find attached our response to your request for information.

 

Regards,

 

Assurance and Compliance Officer

Knowledge Management

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
Leigh Road
Eastleigh
Hampshire
SO50 9SJ

Tel:  023 8062 6850

e-mail: [1][email address]

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Dear Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service,

Your Ref: FOI 56 16-17

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service's handling of my FOI request 'EHDC planning apps 52501/001 and 52501/002 'Brislands Lane', Four Marks. - HFRS requirements'. I am asking for a review because I cannot understand why the Service would hold no relevant information [apart from one ‘empty’ file] given the following:
-- the duties of the Service as laid down in the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 and Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999,
-- the abundance of guidance on how to comply with those duties, including that provided by the DCLG/Home Office and HSE,
-- the requirements of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, Building (Approved Inspectors etc.) Regulations 2010, Hampshire Act 1983 and the statutory duties of the Building Control Body [BCB] to consult with HFRS,
-- the acknowledgement within the relevant access only] outline application that an emergency access was required by the planning authority and would be provided,
-- the concerns expressed by County Council [as Highway Authority] and local County Councillor regarding the unreliability of access from the A31 for large vehicles due to the prevalence of uncontrolled on-street parking on Lapwing/Goldcrest Way,
-- the contemporaneous comment provided by HFRS on other, smaller and less complex planning applications around the same time as the relevant reserved matters application [52501/002],
-- the existence of CFRMIS file number G0586884, and
-- that as part of this request [and separately, direct to your officers], I have provided the Service with considerable detail regarding the current situation on site and expressed SERIOUS CONCERN ABOUT PUBLIC SAFETY AND LIABILITY with regard to an apparent lack of the anticipated firefighting facilities [emergency access and marked fire hydrants].

STATUTORY DUTIES OF HFRS

Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 [the Act]
Section 7(1) of the Act [Firefighting] states that a fire and rescue authority must make provision for the purpose of—
(a) extinguishing fires in its area, and
(b) protecting life and property in the event of fires in its area.
Section 7(2) states that in making that provision, a fire and rescue authority must make arrangements for obtaining information needed for that purpose.

It follows from the above [and from available guidance] that HFRS must establish appropriate systems in order to ensure that it has all the information needed to provide an efficient and safe response to any fire emergency. That must surely include knowledge of the new street names, means of access, types of buildings and any associated hazards/risks.

Section 38(1) of the Act requires that “A fire and rescue authority must take all reasonable measures for securing that an adequate supply of water will be available for the authority’s use in the event of fire”. Section 39 provides that a fire and rescue authority may enter into an agreement with a water undertaker for this purpose.
Section 42 of the Act requires that the location of every fire hydrant should be clearly indicated by a notice or distinguishing mark close by, at a cost borne by the fire and rescue authority.

HFRS would surely require early knowledge of the location, size and layout of this development in order to engage effectively with the water undertaker [and/or self-lay organisation] as required.

Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 [the Regulations]
The Regulations require employers to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to their employees and others (Regulation 3); to provide appropriate procedures (Regulation 8); and to provide employees with information on the assessment of the risks, the preventative and protective measures and the procedures provided (Regulation 10).

The assessments of risk must include an assessment of the hazards that may be encountered in getting to and then fighting a fire and again, to undertake such an assessment HFRS would first require knowledge of the location and details of the development.

AVAILABLE GUIDANCE/RECOMMENDATION

All the documents listed below contain reasons why there SHOULD be relevant information held by HFRS. The list is not exhaustive.
-- Building Regulations and Fire Safety Procedural Guidance [DCLG-July 2007]
-- FRS Operational Guidance – GRA 1.1 Emergency Response and Arrival at the Scene – [DCLG – August 2009]
-- FRS Operational Guidance – GRA 3.1 Fighting Fires in Buildings – [DCLG – March 2011]
-- FRS Operational guidance - Operational Risk Information [DCLG-March 2012]
-- The Management of Health and Safety in the GB Fire and Rescue Service [HSE – 2010]

STATUTORY DUTIES OF BUILDING CONTROL BODY [BCB]

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 [Fire Safety Order]
Your response of 08.11.16 states that “…there is no requirement for the Building Control Body to consult with the Fire Authority for developments of private dwellings as the Fire Safety Order does not apply. …”. However, numbers 9-12 and 14 Maple Place are contained within a small block of flats which share common areas to which I believe the Order [and HFRS responsibility to ‘enforce’] DOES apply.

The Building (Approved Inspectors etc.) Regulations 2010
Section 12(2) lays down that the Approved Inspector [AI] should have consulted HFRS:
(a) before or as soon as practicable after giving an initial notice in relation to the work;
(b) before or as soon as practicable after giving any amendment notice in relation to the work;
(c) before giving any plans certificate (whether or not combined with an initial notice); and
(d) before giving a final certificate.

Additionally, section 12(5) requires that the AI should have consulted HFRS in a manner similar to that required of the local authority by the Hampshire Act 1983 [see below].

Hampshire Act 1983 [as amended]
When the application was made under the Building Regulations, the BCB should have rejected it unless AFTER CONSULTATION WITH THE FIRE AUTHORITY it was satisfied that the plans showed that there would be adequate means of access for the purposes of fighting a fire. [Section 12]

The Supplementary Information attached to the Decision Notice on the outline planning application 52501/001 [23.11.12] advises that “ … this decision does not imply that satisfactory access for the Fire Brigade can be provided, as required by the Hampshire Act 1983”. The Supplementary Information attached to the Decision Notice on the subsequent reserved matters application, 52501/002 [10.09.13], repeats the statement.

As matters stand however, there is no evidence to suggest that the required consultation has taken place in this case OR that any BCB has rejected the developer’s plans.

APPLICANT/DEVELOPER ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

At 6.22, the Applicant’s Design & Access Statement [June 2011] states that “A 3m combined pedestrian and cycle link has been provided through the site as required by the adopted development brief. This would also double as an emergency access, in the event that the main access became blocked and emergency vehicles needed to access the site”.

At 4.3, the Applicant’s Transport Assessment [June 2011] states that “The development will operate as a cul-de-sac although a connection will be provided to Brislands Lane to the south of the site that could be used by emergency vehicles should the need arise. This access arrangement complies with the requirements of the adopted Development Brief for the site”.

The developer’s drawing 212433/112A [13.06.13] shows a “3.7m wide Pedestrian/Cycle/Emergency Link”. Drawing 1311-PS-01 shows that as part of revision B [25.06.13] “Emergency access grasscrete …” was added and the following day, as revision C, “Fire Engine tracking …” was added and the “Emergency access grasscrete amended”.

It is clear that the developer intended this route to be capable of being used by fire appliances in an emergency, although I can find nothing in the documentation available that tells us what type, size or weight of appliance was being catered for at that time.

HAMPSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL INPUT

On 17.04.12, as part of its consultation on the outline planning application, HCC [Highways Development Planning] ‘reluctantly’ accepted the use of Brislands Lane for construction traffic. This was on the basis that since the swept paths of a refuse vehicle with only limited parking was considered ‘tight’, it was ‘physically impossible’ that Lapwing Way/Goldcrest Way could be negotiated by the larger construction vehicles.

The online comments of HCC Highways [28.05.13] on the reserved matters application include that the developer should provide swept path analysis for “a fire tender” throughout the estate INCLUDING the “… emergency link on to Brislands Lane, in order to ensure the proposed layout is adequate to facilitate access to these types of vehicle”.

On 07.5.12 [two days after permission had been granted on outline application 52501/001], the local County Councillor for the Four Marks area [Mark Kemp-Gee] sent an email to a local resident [copied to Alton Herald and Four Marks News], which includes the following:
“… Lapwing and Goldcrest Way are, I believe, `unadopted roads` … Since Highway Officers say they are unfit for the heavy construction traffic required to build out the reserve site, how will they cope with the reserve site traffic, once built, as well since the County declared them unfit for one purpose they are unlikely to be fit for another because of all the carparking needed on those roads but which should have been part of the integral plan of the base site. At a conservative 2 cars per dwelling ( if you include a total of some 300 dwellings on the base and proposed reserve sites ) there will be some 600 cars milling around those two unadopted roads - boy, are there going to be some scraps ! …”

On 11.06.13, the Cllr Kemp-Gee commented as follows on the Reserved Matters application [52501/002]:
“… Hampshire Highways refused to adopt the baseline site roads for good reason; because they were not built to county standards, they were too narrow, there was a real threat of them becoming a carpark, and flooding provision was inadequate. Despite all this, EHDC permitted planning whilst knowing that. It's little wonder, therefore, that the baseline site roads are unfit for construction traffic for the reserve site and probably for the reserve site traffic once it is built. EHDC planners have in my opinion misdirected EHDC councillors and the local community on this point …”

Though it APPEARS that HCC has [at least in part] assumed the role of HFRS with regard to access for fire appliances, its comments [as I understand it] are purely concerned with the safety of highway users and therefore [mainly] unrelated to HFRS duties under the Act or Regulations.

CONTEMPORANEOUS HFRS COMMENT ON PLANNING APPLICATIONS

Although your initial response tells me that HFRS is not a statutory consultee, there ARE examples of where HFRS has provided comments on planning applications, and at around the same time as the EHDC applications 52501/001 and 002 were being processed.

The report to the Regulatory Board of Gosport Borough Council on 16.07.13 regarding planning application 13/00067/FULL includes the following ‘consultation’ with HFRS:
“… The proposal complies with Building Regulation ADB B5 (fire access within the proposed site) and the Hampshire Act 1983 (fire service access to the proposed site). The total length of the access road does not exceed 20m without a turning head. A standard fire vehicle is 8m in length and tracking for the turning of a vehicle of this length has been demonstrated. On the basis of the submitted plans, all of the properties can be adequately accessed in the event of a fire.”

HFRS comments dated 05.06.13, on Eastleigh BC application O/13/72471 [Your reference F6/HB/00824178] are much more ‘advisory’ in nature, which I note appears to have become the norm of late.

Clearly, there must be a reason why HFRS comments on some applications, but not on others … and why any comments made may now contain only ‘standard’ advice, rather than site-specific points based on the submitted documentation.

CFRMIS G0586884

Having first told me that HFRS holds no information regarding the development, you have then said that in fact you have one file entry, for ‘Housing Allocation’ CFRMIS file number G0586884, which is apparently “… located at the centre of the development in question”.

This seems to at least confirm that the Service has been aware of this development and from as far back as when it was referred to simply as a ‘housing allocation’ [i.e. the ‘planning’ stage].

CURRENT SITUATION ON SITE

Uncertainty and concern continue to surround the lack of ‘approved’ detail for what has been considered to be a necessary [or essential] emergency access from Brislands Lane for over 7 years.

Though a 3 metre wide macadam path has been laid, it has NO grasscrete to the side[s] and recently, pairs of FIXED bollards have been added close to each end. After all that was said at the outset [by HCC in particular], where we should now see an emergency access facility we have only a quite steeply sloping footpath [with a patently unsafe junction with Brislands Lane] leading to a new 110-dwelling estate that is devoid of identifiable fire hydrants.

INFORMATION STILL REQUIRED OF HFRS.

1. Please confirm that with regard to this development, you hold nothing to show that HFRS has made contact with or been consulted by any of the following, at any time:
-- the developer [Charles Church/ Persimmon]
-- the Planning Authority [East Hampshire District Council]
-- the Highway Authority [Hampshire County Council],
-- the water authority [SE Water] or a Self-Lay Organisation, or
-- a Building Control Body [EHDC, NHBC or Premier Guarantee].
If you DO hold any information relevant to the above, please now provide copies.

2. Please provide any information to show the following:
a. when, why and by whom was CFRMIS file G0586884 created,
b. to what particular ‘premises’ [if any] does this file refer, and
c. what exactly is meant by the claim,“…no activity recorded on this file.”?

3. Please provide any information that explains the procedure/protocol by which it is determined that HFRS should or should NOT comment on any particular application submitted to a relevant planning authority.

4. Please provide any information that explains why HFRS now only submit ‘advisory’ comments, without any specific recommendation [or objection] based on the applicant’s submission.

5. Please provide copies of any information that explains how HFRS has complied with its statutory duties to ENSURE that any fire on THIS development can be safely extinguished and that life and property there would be protected in the event of fire, without unnecessary risk to Service personnel.

In particular, please provide anything to show how HFRS determined the risk associated with the location, layout and scale of this planned development so that it could ensure that:
a. firefighters could arrive at the scene of a fire within it quickly and safely, and that
b. an appropriate number and design of fire hydrants would be strategically placed [and marked] so that the minimum provision was made, whilst delivering the optimum supply of fire fighting water from the mains system [if available]?

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

Yours faithfully,

Stephen Whiteside

HFRS DP & FOI, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Dear Mr Whiteside

We have passed your request on to the relevant department for an internal review to be carried out. They will respond to you once this has been completed.

Regards

Assurance and Compliance Officer
Knowledge Management
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
Leigh Road
Eastleigh
Hampshire
SO50 9SJ
Tel:  023 8062 6850
e-mail: [email address]
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dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

HFRS Complaints, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Dear Mr Whiteside

 

With reference to your recent request for an internal review of your
Freedom of Information request - EHDC planning apps 52501/001 and
52501/002 'Brislands Lane', Four Marks - may we confirm that this has been
undertaken and the outcome will be notified to you within 48 hours.

 

Can we also take this opportunity to acknowledge receipt of the following
correspondence:

 

·         Email dated 28.11.2016 to Chief Officer Curry and Councillor
Carter (subject: HFRS Reference FOI56 16-17)

·         Letter dated 03.12.2016 to Chief Officer Curry (subject: Fire
Access to Medstead Farm, Four Marks, Alton)

 

Thank you.

 

Regards

 

Complaints Team

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
Leigh Road
Eastleigh
Hampshire
SO50 9SJ

023 8064 4000

e-mail: [1][email address]

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HFRS Complaints, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

1 Atodiad

 

Dear Mr Whiteside

 

An internal review has now been carried out by our Director of
Professional Services. Please see the response letter attached.

 

With reference to your letter to Chief Officer Curry, dated 3 December,
 this will be covered in a separate correspondence.

 

Thank you.

 

Regards

 

Complaints Team

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
Leigh Road
Eastleigh
Hampshire
SO50 9SJ

023 8064 4000

e-mail: [1][email address]

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Dear HFRS Complaints,

Thank you the copy of the letter from the Director of Professional Services [Geoff Howsego]. However, it would appear that there is at least one page missing, from the middle of the document.

The final line on page 1 reads “ … In order to provide context and clarity to this matter, we wish to confirm the process that occurs. ….”, but no confirmation follows.

Could you please provide a copy of the FULL document as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Whiteside

HFRS Complaints, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Dear Mr Whiteside

Thank you for your email. Please accept our apologies, the complete document is now attached.

Thank you.

Regards

Complaints Team

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
Leigh Road
Eastleigh
Hampshire
SO50 9SJ
Tel:  023 8064 4000
e-mail: [email address]
Please consider the environment before printing this email.
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dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

HFRS Complaints, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

HFRS Complaints would like to recall the message, "Internal Review for FOI 56 16-17".

HFRS Complaints, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Whiteside

Thank you for your email. Please accept our apologies, the complete document is now attached.

Thank you.

Regards

Complaints Team

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
Leigh Road
Eastleigh
Hampshire
SO50 9SJ
Tel: 023 8064 4000
e-mail: [email address]
Please consider the environment before printing this email.
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dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear HFRS Complaints

Your Ref: FOI 56 16-17

I refer to the letter from the Director of Professional Services [Geoff Howsego], dated 9 December 2016. Whilst I have still to fully consider the outcome of the internal review, I thought I should respond immediately on one important aspect.

Mr Howsego claims that “… there is no legal requirement to consult with the Service or seek their comments on issues that are the responsibility of the Developer in relation to a Domestic Housing Development. …”. I believe this to be fundamentally wrong.

The Hampshire Act 1983 [“the Act”]

Sections 12(1) and (2) of the Acte state:
“12(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) below, where plans for the erection or extension of a building are deposited with a district council in accordance with building regulations, the district council shall reject the plans unless after consultation with the fire authority they are satisfied that the plans show –
(a) that there will be adequate means of access for the fire brigade to the building …

(2) No requirement concerning means of access to a building ... shall be made under this section in the case of a building to be erected … in pursuance of a planning permission granted upon an application made under the Act of 1971 unless –
(a) notice of the provisions of this section is endorsed on or accompanies the planning permission. …”

There is nothing that I can see to suggest that ‘domestic housing development sites’ are in any way excluded from these requirements, which is as to be expected.

EHDC Planning Applications 52501/001 and 002

The Decision Notices granting permissions at outline and reserved matters stages of this development both include advice to the applicant that “… this decision does not imply that satisfactory access for the Fire Brigade can be provided, as required by the Hampshire Act 1983.”

Building (Approved Inspectors etc.) Regulations 2010 [“the Regulations”]

Section 12(5) of the Regulations states:
“… Where a local enactment would, if plans were deposited in accordance with building regulations, require the local authority to consult the fire and rescue authority before or during the carrying out of any work, the approved inspector shall consult the fire and rescue authority in a manner similar to that required by the enactment. …”

(The Initial Notice [21/08/13] of the current Approved Inspector [Premier Guarantee Surveyors Ltd] acknowledges that ‘Section 12 Hampshire Act 1983 – ACCESS FOR THE FIRE BRIGADE’ is a ‘local enactment relevant to the work’.)

It follows from the above that EHDC Building Control and/or any Approved Inspector acting as the building control body for this development of 110 dwellings DID and/or DOES have a statutory duty to consult with HFRS with regard to means of access for firefighting purposes.

I look forward to receiving Chief Officer Curry's separate response to my letter of 3 December just as soon as possible, since clearly there are important issues here that require urgent attention.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Whiteside

Dear HFRS Complaints,

Further to my email of 13 December, I have now fully reviewed Mr Howsego’s letter of 9 December on which I have the following comments:

In answer to my question 1 [my email 21 November], he confirms that HFRS has not been consulted or provided any comment on the development concerned. Thank you, though as reiterated in my last email the Service SHOULD [at least] have been consulted as required by the Hampshire Act 1983 and the Building (Approved Inspectors etc.) Regulations 2010.

In answer to my question 2, he advises that the CFRMIS file G0586884 was generated automatically on 18 March 2015 and identified as “Brislands Lane ‘Housing Association Development. As I understand it then, the file appears to consist merely of a ‘dot’ on a map and a title, with no further information attached.
This begs the question, how does your ‘robust’ internal process seek to unpack that dot in order to understand what it means in terms of potential future demand on the Service. Since you have previously told us that “There is no activity recorded on this file” we can only assume that HFRS did nothing at all in this case. It is therefore impossible to see how the Service has in any way tried to comply with its statutory duties with regard to this particular Development.

In answer to my questions 3, 4 and 5, Mr Howsego remains silent!
We are therefore none the wiser regarding HFRS inconsistencies in commenting [or not] on planning applications generally and/or how the risks associated with THIS development were assessed so as to ensure the provision of reliable and safe access and an appropriate number, design and location of fire hydrants.

In conclusion, that the HFRS is content to play no part at all in the access to and design of such a large and tightly packed estate is deeply concerning. If this is indeed the ‘process’ generally adopted by this Service, it must surely be alarming to think of the number of similar, unknown and unassessed risks that might already lie scattered across the county.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Whiteside

Dear HFRS Complaints,

Your Ref: FOI 56 16-17

Further to my email of 13 December regarding statutory duties to consult with HFRS [building control bodies], I have now become aware of another important example.

Section 43(1) of the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 states that “A person who proposes to carry out works for the purpose of supplying water to any part of the area of a fire and rescue authority MUST [my emphasis] give at least 6 weeks’ notice in writing to the authority.”

The response to this EIR request appears to show that this statutory notice has [also] NOT been served in this case.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Whiteside

Dear HFRS Complaints,

Your Ref: FOI 56 16-17

I refer to my last email [19 December 2016]

For information, the relevant water company [South East Water] have now provided evidence that HFRS were given notice in July 2013 that they intended to carry out new water main installation works on this site, in accordance with the provisions of Section 43 of the Fire & Rescue Services Act 2004.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w...

HFRS were asked to indicate the location of any new fire hydrants required on the plans provided, but according to the water company you did not respond.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Whiteside

Stephen Whiteside

Dear Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service,

Your Ref: FOI 56 16-17

As part of this Request, on 22 August 2016 I clarified that the response should include “any correspondence about the ‘Brislands Lane’ application in which the Service has been involved with regard to Building Regulation compliance …”.

On 26 September 2016, I further clarified that with regard to the Building Regulations, “ I would be very surprised if the ‘building control body’ does not have its own reference for this new development” adding that “… If there HAS been consultation [about Building Regulations] perhaps under a reference separate to that of the planning application], could THAT information please now be provided.”

On 9 December 2016, as part of his ‘internal review’, Geoff Howsego [as Director of Professional Services] confirmed what the Information Governance & Audit Co-ordinator had already twice told me [21.09.16 and 08.11.16], that “Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service do not hold any information in relation to the Brislands Lane Development”.

On 7 April 2017 however, ACO Shantha Dickinson [as Director Community Safety & Resilience] sent copies of a number of documents regarding the Service’s involvement in Building Regulation compliance of a/the new housing development at “…Brislands Lane, Four Marks, Alton, GU34 5AD”.

CLEARLY, the information now provided by ACO Dickinson SHOULD have been provided in response to THIS request under the EIR.

--- Please arrange for all of this information to be sent to the correct WhatDoTheyKnow ‘thread’ without delay, along with a copy of ACO Dickinson’s covering letter of 7 April 2017 [no reference given]. When doing so, the Service should also consider the following:

All the documents provided by ACO Dickinson have been redacted, without explanation. [The redaction even includes the details of the recipients of letters from the Chief Officer]
--- If the Service insist on redacting the information provided, they should clearly state the exception claimed in doing so.

All the [key] documents are ‘outgoing’. It is unclear to me what prompted the Service’s involvement. Some of the letters, APPARENTLY addressed to building control bodies, include requests for further information “…to allow a comprehensive assessment of the proposals to be made…”, but there is no evidence of ANY information EVER being provided. I find it extremely difficult to see how/why your records will include no ‘incoming’ correspondence/information at all!
--- Please now provide copies of ALL the relevant information held.

Yours faithfully,

Stephen Whiteside

Stephen Whiteside

Dear Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service,

Your Ref: FOI 56 16-17

It is now over 8 [EIGHT] months since I requested this information. Meanwhile, I believe that the as-built and occupied parts of this development have been left in what could be a potentially unsafe condition with regard to access for firefighting as well as for those using the unfinished link to Brislands Lane and the school beyond.

I would be extremely grateful therefore, if ALL the relevant information held by HFRS is now properly disclosed without further delay.

Yours faithfully,

Stephen Whiteside

Stephen Whiteside

Dear HFRS Complaints,

Your Ref: FOI 56 16-17

The further delay in this matter is unreasonable and indefensible.

Unless I receive all the requested information by 4 May, I will ask the Information Commissioner's Office to investigate, though I believe that neither I nor the ICO should be put to this inconvenience.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Whiteside

HFRS DP & FOI, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Dear Mr Whiteside

In response to your email sent on 10/04/17, we have now forwarded documentation to your whatdotheyknow thread - [FOI #351643 email]

In response to your query about the redaction on the documents we have made the redactions under the Data Protection Act 1998 Section 7 Part 4 (A) and (B).

This is known as “Right of access to personal data”. As the data controllers, we redact any information that would be deemed as making individuals identifiable. The only way to justify not redacting the information would be for us to seek consent from the data subjects to the disclosure of the information, and in this particular request we have deemed it unreasonable to obtain consent. This has been sought and clarified by the Information Commissioners Office.

Regards

Information Governance and Audit Coordinator
Knowledge Management
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
Leigh Road Eastleigh
Hampshire
SO50 9SJ
Tel: 023 8062 6850
e-mail: [email address]
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dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

HFRS DP & FOI, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

7 Atodiad

Dear Mr Whiteside

Apologies on last email documentation now attached.

In response to your email sent on 10/04/17, we have now forwarded documentation to your whatdotheyknow thread - [FOI #351643 email]

In response to your query about the redaction on the documents we have made the redactions under the Data Protection Act 1998 Section 7 Part 4 (A) and (B).

This is known as “Right of access to personal data”. As the data controllers, we redact any information that would be deemed as making individuals identifiable. The only way to justify not redacting the information would be for us to seek consent from the data subjects to the disclosure of the information, and in this particular request we have deemed it unreasonable to obtain consent. This has been sought and clarified by the Information Commissioners Office.

Regards

Information Governance and Audit Coordinator
Knowledge Management
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
Leigh Road
Eastleigh
Hampshire
SO50 9SJ
Tel: 023 8062 6850
e-mail: [email address]
Please consider the environment before printing this email.
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dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

HFRS Complaints, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Dear Mr Whiteside

We are currently in the process of finalising the Internal Review.

We have recently located further documentation in support of your request for sight of any "incoming" correspondence received by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) pertaining to the Brislands Lane development.

The reason we were unable to identify this documentation earlier is because, prior to 2014, correspondence relating to Fire Engineering and Building Consultation matters was filed at various HFRS sites across the county and, hence, it has taken some time to locate the specific documents. However, since this time, we have centralised the process and all such documentation is now electronically stored in our CFRMIS system (as outlined in previous communication).

We are currently reviewing this documentation and will be releasing this to your [FOI #351643 email] account by 4th May.

Regards

Information Governance and Audit Coordinator
Knowledge Management
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
Leigh Road
Eastleigh
Hampshire
SO50 9SJ
Tel: 023 8062 6850
e-mail: [email address]
Please consider the environment before printing this email.
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dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Stephen Whiteside

Dear HFRS DP & FOI,

Your Reference: FOI 56 16-17

Thank you for your 3 emails of 28 April and PART and REDACTED provision of the information that you NOW claim to hold.

ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION REGULATIONS 2004 [“the EIR”]

My email of 12 October includes that “since the request is clearly about the environment [development of land], I believe that it should in fact be handled under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004”.

Station Manager Ron Hedger told me in his email of 26 October that his team is [or was] “… responsible for all Building Regulations consultations …” He said that his team “… have access to and add to the records for such exercises in our information database. Although the team did not exist at the time of the planning application in question, they are ideally suited to finding records of any correspondence if we hold them”. He also confirmed that he was “… aware that the Environmental Information Regulations require a written response in all cases …”

It is clear that HFRS acknowledge that this request should be handled under the EIR and where necessary therefore, your response should refer to exceptions within the Regulations, rather than to the Data Protection Act 1998 [though I DO understand that they are linked].

PERSONAL DATA REDACTION

I note that you “have made the redactions under the Data Protection Act 1998 Section 7 Part 4 (A) and (B)” because you deem that the information redacted would make individuals identifiable. You claim “The only way to justify not redacting the information would be for us to seek consent from the data subjects to the disclosure of the information, and in this particular request we have deemed it unreasonable to obtain consent. This has been sought and clarified by the Information Commissioners Office”.

I am not sure as to what exactly was sought from the ICO, but to clarify, DPA s7(4)(b) is about whether “it is reasonable in all the circumstances to comply with the request WITHOUT [my emphasis] the consent of the other individual”, NOT about whether it is reasonable to seek the individual’s consent. I would also remind you that within the Regulations there is a “presumption in favour of disclosure”. Even IF you still deem it reasonable [in all the circumstances] to redact names of individuals, I believe the company/organisation for which they work should NOT be hidden from the public.

As covered in published ICO Guidance, any redaction should be accompanied by a clear explanation as to which subsection of the EIR is engaged, and why.

NOT an Internal Review

I note that you [HFRS Complaints] claim to be “currently in the process of finalising the Internal Review”. Unfortunately, as I reminded you on 10 April, the Authority’s initial response[s] have already been the subject of an INTERNAL REVIEW undertaken by your Director of Professional Services [Geoff Howsego], who concluded that [09.12.16] that “Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service do not hold any information in relation to the Brislands Lane Development”.

For the avoidance of doubt, regardless of WHY you did not discover all or any of the relevant information earlier, I consider the REDACTED information now provided [along with that to be provided by 4 May] to be the Authority’s ‘real’ initial response. I therefore reserve the right, if I remain concerned, to request a ‘real’ internal review of this new response in due course.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Whiteside

Stephen Whiteside

Dear HFRS Complaints,

FOI 56 16-17
EHDC planning apps 52501/001 and 52501/002 'Brislands Lane', Four Marks. - HFRS requirements

I note that you have failed to provide the information promised by 4 May. I also note that internal reviews on two related FOIA/EIR requests [refs FOI 104 16-17 and FOI 113 16 17] are also late.

I will now wait until 12 May 2017, after which I will ask the ICO to investigate this case ALONG WITH any concerns I may still have with other two cases.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Whiteside

HFRS Complaints, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

16 Atodiad

Dear Mr Whiteside

 

Reference: Internal Reviews

 

Please find attached our correspondence in reference to the above.

 

Regards,

 

Complaints Team

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
Leigh Road
Eastleigh
Hampshire
SO50 9SJ

Tel:  023 8064 4000

e-mail: [1][email address]

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Stephen Whiteside

Dear HFRS Complaints,

YOUR REFERENCE: FOI 56 16-17

I refer to the letter of 12 May 2017 from the [new?] Head of Knowledge Management [Nicki Whitehouse], entitled ‘Internal Review’ and posted on THIS correspondence thread.

FOI 1O4 16-17 and FOI 113 16-17 [misplaced/misleading]

The opening paragraph of the letter states “We are writing to advise you on the outcome of the requested internal reviews related to FOI 1O4 16-17 (MOU CFOA SE Region) and FOI 113 16-17 (Fire access to Medstead Lane). It should be obvious form this that the outcome of these ‘internal reviews’ should be SEPARATELY posted on the CORRECT correspondence threads, under the RELEVANT requests for information. [i.e. NOT HERE!]

I will therefore post the relevant extracts from the letter on the relevant threads and respond as required, so that due process can be followed. FOI 1O4 16-17 [CFOA- SE Region. MoU 2012 - 'Local Specific Arrangements'] will be annotated and closed.

THIS REQUEST – Your Ref: FOI 56 16-17

With regard to THIS request [13 August 2016] and TO REPEAT what I explained on 10 April and 2 May 2017, the Authority’s initial responses have already been the subject of an internal review, which was carried out by your Director of Professional Services, Geoff Howsego. [9 September 2016].

At that time the Director claimed that“.. There is no current regulation or compliance requirement for DOMESTIC Housing Developments to comply with FRSO, therefore no contact is usually made. …” and “… there is no legal requirement to consult with the Service or seek their comments on issues that are the responsibility of the Developer in relation to a Domestic Housing Development. …”. On that basis, Mr Howsego told us that “Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service do not hold ANY [my emphasis] information in relation to the Brislands Lane Development”.

My emails of 13 and 19 December 2016 included why I believed that Mr Howsego was mistaken in his views regarding statutory consultation and your recent ‘discovery’ of information directly linked to that consultation in THIS case, suggest that his internal review was NOT properly undertaken.

REDACTED Information provided 28 April 2017

You have yet to provide UNredacted copies of this information and/or a CLEAR explanation as to which subsection of the EIR you have chosen to apply, and why. Please do so without further delay.

Information provided 12 May 207

It is not clear whether there has been any redaction of the information now provided and if there has, you have NOT told me which subsection of the EIR has been applied and/or why. Please confirm as necessary by return.

It would also be helpful to confirm the particular piece[s] of correspondence to which the documents 2124134.pdf, 2124331.pdf and Block Plan 1 500.pdf were attached.

Current Status of THIS Request

TO REPEAT, for the avoidance of doubt, I will be considering the information only recently provided [and that still to be provided, as set out above] as the Authority’s INITIAL RESPONSE and will therefore request another [proper] internal review in due course if l deem it necessary.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Whiteside

Dear HFRS Complaints,

EHDC planning apps 52501/001 and 52501/002 'Brislands Lane', Four Marks. - HFRS requirements
YOUR REFERENCE: FOI 56 16-17

My initial request was dated 13 August 2016.

My related letters to the Chief Fire Officer and Authority Chairman were dated 7 November and 3 December 2016.

My request for an internal review was dated 21 November 2016.

YOU HAVE STILL TO PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING IN RESPONSE TO THIS REQUEST:

--- UNredacted [or at least LESS redacted] copies of the information provided 28 April 2017and/or a CLEAR explanation as to which subsection of the EIR you have chosen to apply in this regard, and why,
--- Confirmation/clarification as to whether there has been any redaction of the information provided 12 May 2017 and if there has, a CLEAR explanation as to which subsection of the EIR you have chosen to apply in this regard, and why, and
--- Confirmation/clarification regarding the particular piece[s] of correspondence to which the documents 2124134.pdf, 2124331.pdf and Block Plan 1 500.pdf were attached.

If I do not receive the above by Monday 24 July I will ask the ICO to investigate the Authority’s handling of this request. Any such complaint to the Commissioner would be accompanied by one about my related request “Fire Access to Medstead Farm ['Brislands Lane'], Four Marks, Alton”, your reference FOI 113 16-17, if I remain dissatisfied with the Authority’s handling of that request also.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Whiteside

Complaints, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Dear Mr Whiteside

 

Thank you for your correspondence received on 21 July.

 

Regards

 

Complaints Team

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
Leigh Road
Eastleigh
Hampshire
SO50 9SJ

023 8064 4000

e-mail: [1][email address]

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Stephen Whiteside

Dear Complaints,

For information, a complaint about the authority's handling of this request [56 16-17] AND an associated request [113 16-17] was submitted to the ICO earlier this morning.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Whiteside

Complaints, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Whiteside,

Our reference: FOI 56 16-17; FOI 113 16-17

Please see the attached correspondence.

Best regards,

Complaints Team

Knowledge Management Team
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
Leigh Road,
Eastleigh,
SO50 9JS

Tel: 02380 626850
Email: [email address]
Web: www.hantsfire.co.uk

Stephen Whiteside

Dear Complaints,

'EHDC planning apps 52501/001 and 52501/002 'Brislands Lane', Four Marks. - HFRS requirements'
Your Ref: FOI 56 16-17

I refer to the letter from “Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service Complaints Team”, dated 18 August 2017. Thank you for your “deepest sympathies”.

Unfortunately, the authority has yet again chosen to conflate its response to separate requests. In doing so the authority has caused unwarranted and unwelcome confusion and evaded key issues.

I will now proceed as follows:
--- ‘extract’ anything relevant to THIS request that can be found in your latest letter,
--- review the [redacted] information provided to date as part of THIS request,
--- comment on the above and post as an annotation HERE, and
--- withdraw my complaint to the Information Commissioner about THIS particular request.

I will ask instead, that the Commissioner’s Office now concentrates on a thorough investigation into the more serious matters contained within the separate request, “Fire Access to Medstead Farm ['Brislands Lane'], Four Marks, Alton”, [HFRS reference FOI 113 16 17]. I believe that the authority’s response on THAT request remains fundamentally incomplete and potentially irresponsible.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Whiteside

Stephen Whiteside

Dear Complaints,

Medstead Farm [aka 'Brislands Lane'], Four Marks - Your Ref: 56 16-17

I have now become aware of a letter regarding the Building Regulations application for this development, from Chief Officer Curry to East Hampshire District Council and dated 10 February 2017, which carries a different HFRS reference number to that used on the information provided previously in response to this request.

The outgoing correspondence provided previously shows the reference as F6/…/00823689, whereas Mr Curry’s letter uses F6/…/00828907.

Please re-check your records/database to determine if there is any further information held under what appears to be a new, more recent reference number given to this site/development and provide copies of any that are within the scope of this request.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Whiteside

DP & FOI, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Whiteside

 

Our reference FOI 74 17-18

 

Please find attached our acknowledgement of your request.

 

Kind regards

 

Information Governance and Audit Assistant

 

Knowledge Management Team

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Leigh Road,

Eastleigh,

SO50 9JS

 

Tel: 02380 626850

Email: [1][email address]

Web: [2]www.hantsfire.co.uk

 

References

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Stephen Whiteside

Dear DP & FOI,

I note that although my latest email has been given a 'new' reference, FOI 74 17-18 , your acknowledgement was posted on the CORRECT correspondence thread of my MUCH earlier request, your reference FOI 56 16-17. Thank you.

To clarify, my request relates DIRECTLY to that earlier request, in that I am asking for information that you may hold under reference F6/…/00828907 that I believe SHOULD already have been provided, as part of FOI 56 16-17.

Given the serious nature of the matters to which the email is connected , I would be grateful if you could confirm that HFRS fully understand its content, scope and purpose.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Whiteside

DP & FOI, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

4 Atodiad

Dear Mr Whiteside,

 

Our reference FOI 74 17-18

 

Please find attached our response to your request for information and
accompanying documents.

 

Kind regards

 

Information Governance and Audit Assistant

 

Knowledge Management Team

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Leigh Road,

Eastleigh,

SO50 9JS

 

Tel: 02380 626850

Email: [1][email address]

Web: [2]www.hantsfire.co.uk

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.hantsfire.co.uk/

Stephen Whiteside

Dear DP & FOI,

Your Ref: FOI 74 17-18

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service's handling of my FOI request 'EHDC planning apps 52501/001 and 52501/002 -Brislands Lane, Four Marks. - HFRS requirements'.

I refer to your letter of 12 October 2017 [Your Ref: 74 17 –18] and the information that was attached.

1. MORE UNEXPLAINED REDACTION

The information provided has [again] been redacted, without any form of explanation or justification. You should be aware that I have already complained to the Information Commissioner about [amongst other things] similar redaction by the Authority of information provided in response to the ‘original’ request [Your Ref: 56 16-17] regarding these matters.

Misleading explanation/justification regarding “56 16-17”

The Authority’s response of 28 April 2017 had included the following:
“… In response to your query about the redaction on the documents we have made the redactions under the Data Protection Act 1998 Section 7 Part 4 (A) and (B).
This is known as “Right of access to personal data”. As the data controllers, we redact any information that would be deemed as making individuals identifiable. The only way to justify not redacting the information would be for us to seek consent from the data subjects to the disclosure of the information, and in this particular request we have deemed it unreasonable to obtain consent. This has been sought and clarified by the Information Commissioners Office. …”

In its letter of 18 August 2017, the Authority then stated:
“…In response to your queries as to why information had been redacted in the attachments provided on 28 April 2017, we refer you back to our original response (also on the 28 April 2017):
In response to your query about the redaction on the documents we have made the redactions under the Data Protection Act 1998 Section 7 Part 4 (A) and (B).
We are satisfied that we have explained our legal duty to uphold the principles of data protection and abide by Section 7 Part 4 (a) and (b) respectively. We cannot and will not compromise our data protection practises and provide you with the individual identity of the person(s) in the letters. …”

IN FACT, section 7 of the Data Protection Act [“the DPA”] creates the “Right of access to personal data”, commonly referred to as subject access, which is most often used by individuals who want to see a copy of the information an organisation holds about THEM. As far as I can see, the Authority’s reference to and reliance on this part of the DPA is irrelevant to the matter at hand, which is a request under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. In the circumstances, the Authority’s explanation/justification for the redaction seems misleading/unfounded.

In particular, the Authority’s statement… ‘As the data controllers, we redact any information that would be deemed as making individuals identifiable’, suggests a ‘blanket approach’. Certainly, the Authority offers no indication of what considerations it has made as regards the following:

A. Whether disclosure is fair taking into account, for example, the individual’s reasonable expectations; and
B. The applicability of Conditions referred to in the First Data Principle and as set out in Schedule 2 of the Data Protection Act. In particular, Section 6 (i.e. ‘…legitimate interests… pursued by the third party’), which I consider clearly applies in this case.

You have previously informed me, regarding the determination not to seek consent from data subjects… “This has been sought and clarified by the Information Commissioners Office…” I am concerned to think that the Information Commissioner would have sanctioned the broader rationale for non-disclosure, IF she had been made aware of the true nature and context of my request.

Despite my repeated prompting, the Authority has declined to provide ANY explanation as to which subsection of the EIR it has engaged, and/or why. It has also failed to apply [properly or at all] the Public Interest Test as required by the relevant legislation, [taking into account relevant factors and weighting them appropriately], when deciding to redact information in the event that Regulation 13(2)(a)(ii) or 13(3) were claimed to be engaged.

2. CORRECT LEGISLATION [EIR v FOIA]

I note that your latest response [12 October 2017] is entitled “Freedom of Information 2004”, which leaves me wondering if you have handled my follow up request under the “Environmental Information Regulations 2004” [EIR], OR have instead, for some reason considered it under the “Freedom of Information Act 2000” [FOIA].

My ORIGINAL request [13 August 2016] reads as follows:

“… I am trying to ascertain the Service’s input to these planning applications with regard to your requirements for access to this development [now known as Medstead Farm], particularly but not restricted to the design of the emergency access from Brislands Lane. I am concerned about the impact of this facility on its surroundings and particularly on the rural character of Brislands Lane.
I can find no relevant consultee comments online.
Please provide copies of any information regarding advice, recommendations and/or requirements provided by the Service to either Hampshire County Council [as highway authority] or East Hampshire District Council [as planning authority] about these important matters.
NOTE: Since this a request for environment information, regarding the development of land, I believe that it should be handled in accordance with the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. …”

My follow up request [20 September 2017] is with regard to the VERY SAME concerns about the VERY SAME housing development and even though the Authority has chosen to give it a different reference number, I believe that it should ALSO be considered under the EIR.

Environmental Information Regulations 2004

In BOTH requests, which relate to HFRS's assessments, opinions and recommendations in relation to the requirement for and design of the emergency fire access from Brislands Lane to the Medstead Farm Development, reasons for deeming this a request for ‘environmental information’ include the following:

A. Information regarding decisions made under the planning system is routinely treated as environmental information because that system deals with the use of (at least two) of the environment factors set out in the environmental legislation – ‘land and landscape’.

The determination of the form and function of the emergency access lane from Brislands Lane is INTEGRAL to the proposed use of LAND and LANDSCAPE comprising the subject development.

B. HFRS assessments, opinions and recommendations are INTEGRAL to determination of the
use of land. This is demonstrated by the fact that the planning permission included for the implementation of an emergency access and that the Council has consulted with HFRS specifically on this matter. Similarly, in determining the adequacy of access TO the site, the Approved Inspector (Building Regulations) is required to consult with HFRS in accordance in relation to ‘Access for fire brigade’ in accordance with the s12(1) Hampshire Act 1983.

C. Furthermore, regulation 2(1)(c) of the EIR defines environmental information as “measures…such as policies, legislation, plans, programmes…and activities affecting or likely to affect” the state of the elements of the environment. The HFRS activities to which my requests relate are clearly ‘likely to affect’.

D. The interpretation of environmental information is intended to be a broad one. From ICO guidance, “What is environmental information? (regulation 2(1))”:

15. ‘Any information’ means environmental information covers any information about, concerning or relating to the various factors, elements and other items stated.
16. Public authorities should interpret ‘any information on’ broadly. Information that would inform the public about matters affecting the environment or enable them to participate in decision making, and help to achieve that purpose is likely to be environmental information, even if the information itself does not directly mention the environment. ….

E. The Authority has itself determined that the matters addressed by the original request fall under the EIR and explicitly responded on that basis. Your letter of 18 August 2017 [Your Ref: FOI 56 16-17; FOI 113 16-17] includes the following:
“… At the time of reading, and indeed in the following 40-day timeline, we failed to inform you of the exception which we were relying upon under The Environmental Information Regulations (2004). …
We did not feel it appropriate in keeping with the public interest test under the Environmental Information Regulations (2004) s12(1)(b) to release this data. ….
Consequently, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service relied upon these sections of the Environmental Information Regulations (2004): S12(4)(a) (as we do not possess a report) and S12(4)(e) as the only additional information we do possess was an internal communication. …”

FOR REVIEW

--- Please confirm that my follow up request [Your Ref: 74 17-18] was handled in accordance with the EIR. If not, please review the Authority’s full response with regard to the EIR.
--- Please confirm that no information has been withheld in full.
--- Please provide all the relevant information held in an UNREDACTED form.
--- If the Authority maintains the view that the information should remain redacted [or withheld in full], please explain exactly WHAT has been redacted [or withheld] and what grounds, with reference to any Regulation[s] applied [exceptions claimed]. Please also set out how the Authority has applied the Public Interest Test in relation to any decision made in these matters.

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

Yours faithfully,

Stephen Whiteside

DP & FOI, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Dear Mr Whiteside

We have passed your request on to the relevant department for an internal review to be carried out. They will respond to you once this has been completed.

Kind regards

Information Governance and Audit Assistant

Knowledge Management Team
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
Leigh Road,
Eastleigh,
SO50 9JS

Tel: 02380 626850
Email: [email address]
Web: www.hantsfire.co.uk

Dear DP & FOI,

Your Ref: 74 17-18 [and 56 16-17]

Please forward this to the relevant department carrying out the internal review.

Unwarranted redaction

When undertaking your review, you should be aware that copies of the REDACTED information provided by HFRS on 12 October, have now been provided [by EHDC] in an UNredacted form, in response to a separate FOIA/EIR request. Full details of that request can be found at the following address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/e...

It seems clear that EHDC consider that the disclosure of the names, addresses and job titles etc of those involved in such consultations on planning and building regulation applications IS fair and lawful and DOES meet at least one of the conditions in Schedule 2 of the DPA.

It also remains clear to me, that the details of the organisations for which an individual works, is not information that should be redacted, since it does not in itself provide information about an ‘individual’ … it is NOT ‘personal data’.

In the circumstances, perhaps the Authority should reconsider its position with regard to redaction of not only the information provided in response to the request given the reference 74 17-18 but ALSO to that eventually provided in response to my original request reference 56 16-17.

Missing, ‘incoming’ correspondence

On further review of your response, it has become apparent that there may/must be information contained within ‘incoming’ correspondence [from East Hampshire District Council] that was NOT disclosed.

The document “Email enclosing [CFO] Letter Redacted.pdf” states “ Please find attached the consultation response for Building Regulations Consultation 52501/002”.
The HFRS letter dated 10 February 2017, addressed to the Building Control Department at EHDC, was clearly in RESPONSE to a CONSULTATION from EHDC.
--- Please ensure that the ALL the EHDC consultation documents [including any attached drawings etc] are now provided as soon as possible.

The document “CFRC2AC Redacted.pdf” states “…The approved scheme had an access lane of 3 metres in width beyond which was a grasscrete strip on either side (see attached plan). The developer has requested that the grasscrete strips be removed but still maintain a 3m wide emergency access lane. I’ve attached the developer’s email and plan.
--- Please ensure that the ALL the consultation documents [including the attached ‘before and after’ drawings and developer’s email] are now provided as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Whiteside

Dear Complaints,

Building Consultation Team

The Authority’s response [21.09.16] to your reference FOI 56 16-17, includes the following:

“Our building consultation team has advised the following:
--- For a new dwelling or any alterations to dwellings an application to a building control body should be made.
--- The building control body’s role is to over look the work to assure it complies with Building Regulations.
--- For a single private dwelling there is no formal requirement to consult with the fire safety enforcing authority, however [Building Regulations and Fire Safety Procedural Guidance, DCLG:2007] states: “Even if there is no formal requirement to consult, consultation may still be desirable in many cases such as: where the building control body proposes to accept measures which are unusual or complex or which deviate from the general guidance for requirements B5 of the Building Regulations.”
--- Any consultation with the fire safety enforcing authority should be made by the building control body as they are the co-ordinating body.
--- It would be likely that the fire safety enforcing authority would advise the building control body that if the guidance of B5 was not achieved, that additional measures should be put in place and/or that the occupier should inform their insurance company that the fire service may have a delayed response in fighting the fire or carrying out a rescue due to the departure for the Building Regulation - B5 guidance.”

++ Could you please confirm that the ‘building consultation team’ providing that advice was/is synonymous with the “Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service Fire Engineering team”, which I was told by its manager [Ron Hedger] in October 2016, was/is “responsible for all Building Regulations consultations”.

++ Could you also confirm that Mr Sailesh Parmar, whose consultation comments regarding the emergency fire access to this development have recently been published by the local authority, is a member of Mr Hedger's team.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Whiteside

Complaints, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Hi

We have received the following email, please can you process this following your procedures.

Kind regards

Complaint Team
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
Leigh Road
Eastleigh
Hampshire
SO50 9SJ
Tel:  023 8062 6850
e-mail: [email address]
Please consider the environment before printing this email.
Please visit www.hantsfire.gov.uk/disclaimer to read our email policy

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Complaints,

Could you please explain your email of 27 November 2017.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Whiteside

Complaints, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Dear Mr Whiteside

Apologies, our intention was to send your request for information to the team that handles such requests. Unfortunately we missed your original email.

We will rectify that today.

Kind regards

Complaint Team
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
Leigh Road
Eastleigh
Hampshire
SO50 9SJ
Tel:  023 8062 6850
e-mail: [email address]
Please consider the environment before printing this email.
Please visit www.hantsfire.gov.uk/disclaimer to read our email policy

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Complaints, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Hi

Sorry we sent an email yesterday that didn’t include the message we were passing on, please find it below.

Kind regards

Complaint Team
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
Leigh Road
Eastleigh
Hampshire
SO50 9SJ
Tel:  023 8062 6850
e-mail: [email address]
Please consider the environment before printing this email.
Please visit www.hantsfire.gov.uk/disclaimer to read our email policy

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

DP & FOI, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Whiteside,

 

Our reference FOI 104 17-18

 

Please find attached our acknowledgement of your request for information.

Kind regards

 

Information Governance and Audit Assistant

 

Knowledge Management Team

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Leigh Road,

Eastleigh,

SO50 9JS

 

Tel: 02380 626850

Email: [1][email address]

Web: [2]www.hantsfire.co.uk

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.hantsfire.co.uk/

Dear DP & FOI,

Your Ref: FOI 104 17-18

I refer to your letter of 30 November 2017.

I really can see no good reason why my request for clarification of previously published information, should be turned into a completely separate request. This decision would clearly create unnecessary work for the Authority, as well as delaying [and/or preventing] the provision of what should be very simple answers to very simple questions.

--- To save [everyone’s] wasted time in the future, I would be grateful if you could direct me to the ICO guidance to which you refer, and which ‘approves’ the approach you have taken in this case.

In the circumstances, and so as not to in any way fetter the ICO investigation into the Authority’s handling of my earlier requests [FOI 56 16-17 and 113 16-17], I hereby formally RETRACT the ‘request’ to which the Authority has chosen to give the reference FOI 104 17-18.

--- Could you please confirm that you have received this instruction/retraction?

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Whiteside

DP & FOI, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Dear Mr Whiteside,

We confirm that we have received your retraction of this request.

The guidance we received from the ICO in relation to treating this request as a separate request was received via phone. As such the guidance was verbal and so we cannot direct you to a document.

We would point out that the information you are seeking 'clarification' on was not published by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) but by East Hampshire District Council, which is an independent authority, as such your request was not asking of clarification as you assert but a request for the information of individuals within HFRS.

Kind regards

Information Governance and Audit Assistant

Knowledge Management Team
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
Leigh Road,
Eastleigh,
SO50 9JS

Tel: 02380 626850
Email: [email address]
Web: www.hantsfire.co.uk

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

DP & FOI, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

6 Atodiad

Dear Mr Whiteside,

 

Please find attached a letter to you seeking to informally resolve ICO
complaint FER0693883.

 

Kind regards

 

Information Governance and Audit Assistant

 

Knowledge Management Team

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Leigh Road,

Eastleigh,

SO50 9JS

 

Tel: 02380 626850

Email: [1][email address]

Web: [2]www.hantsfire.co.uk

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.hantsfire.co.uk/

Dear DP & FOI,

HFRS Ref: 56 16-17

I refer to your letter dated 8 December 2017.

Thank you for confirming that the Service was wrong to withhold the details of organisations by which it had been consulted on fire safety and matters relating to building regulations. It is regrettable that the release of this information was delayed by approximately 62 weeks.

It is also helpful to have absolute clarification that:
a) in March 2013, the Service asked the then-Approved Inspector for this development, NHBC, to “… confirm that ALL [my emphasis] roadways required for access for fire appliances will be capable of supporting the weight of a 12.5 tonne vehicle…“, and
b) in June 2014, informed the new Approved Inspector, Premier Guarantee Surveyors, who remain the Building Control Body for this development “For a development of this size an alternative entrance/exit for fire fighting appliances is recommended”.

As regards the personal data that continues to be withheld, I am persuaded that the Service has now considered the key criteria which should impact on whether personal data should be disclosed. This is in contrast to the “blanket approach” previously applied. I am prepared to accept the Service’s assertion that the staff whose personal information has been withheld are relatively ‘junior’. Certainly I have no interest in harassing anyone.

HOWEVER ….

Given your acknowledgement that these junior officers do speak ‘on behalf of the Service’ or more specifically ‘for the Chief Officer’, I do think there is an issue here in terms of transparency as to the ‘controlling mind’ behind recommendations and advice given to third parties during consultation. If the junior staff members are not so empowered, as you indicate, and the Chief Officer is not directly engaged, then the practice regularly followed by the Service is not transparent as regards the senior officer(s) approving such advice.

Clearly, IF judgement regarding recommendations for an alternate emergency access provision for instance (as in this case) rests with these junior staff, then their personal judgement would carry greater weight than suggested in your reply. Such a situation would tip the balance in the direction of disclosure. [Keep in view that, according to the Association of Chief Fire Officers, such judgements are intended to be grounded in a risk assessment rather than to be formulaic].

Public facing roles

You have indicated that you consider that the individuals have a reasonable expectation that their identities will not be disclosed to the public. However, it is quite clear that this is not a ‘reasonable’ expectation, since it is at odds with the routine practice of the agencies with whom the Service regularly corresponds, to disclose this information. The Service must [surely] be aware, for example, that Local Authorities publish unredacted correspondence received from the Service, in response to consultation on planning matters [examples given below].

The nature of the consultation also has a direct bearing on reasonable expectations concerning public disclosure. The ‘outgoing’ information in this case was in response to consultation from the developer or a building control body [BCB]. The BCB in this case is an Approved Inspectors and their letters to the Service explain from the outset “In accordance with Regulation 12 of the Building (Approved Inspectors etc) Regulations 2010, I hereby formally undertake the statutory consultation requirement”. Whatever the seniority of the officer, the comments they have provided in response form part of that STATUTORY process.

Furthermore, the nature of the comments on both BUILDING CONTROL and PLANNING matters are very similar in nature. Indeed, Station Manager Ron Hedger told me in October 2016, that he manages the Service’s “… Fire Engineering team, RESPONSIBLE [my emphasis] for all Building Regulations consultations…” and that he is “… usually passed any Planning queries, as these follow a similar process.”. Though not a statutory consultee, the Service is often engaged by Local Authorities where it is likely to have an interest in a proposed development.

On the PLANNING register of Eastleigh Borough Council, under application O/13/72471, the document “Consultees Response (1144735)” dated 05/06/2013 [HFRS Ref: F6/HB/00824178], is a letter signed by the inspector [H I Brown], “for Chief Officer”. [I cannot reliably ‘link’ to this document at present, but I do hold a previously downloaded copy if required]. As with most [if not all] of the consultation documents disclosed/published, there is nothing controversial here, the Service simply advise on the relevant legislation [Building Regulations and Hampshire Act] and makes recommendation on matters regarding water supplies and sprinkler systems.

The links below are to three separate HFRS responses to consultation on three separate planning applications. As you can see, the advice and recommendations provided are identical, suggesting that a ‘standard’ letter has most likely been agreed at ‘senior’ level to be used as the Service’s initial [and perhaps only] input to applications. In the circumstances, I cannot understand why inspectors would not want their names to be published nor hold a reasonable expectation that they would not be, especially when, according to the manager, they are members of the team ‘responsible’ for all such consultation.

http://pad.basingstoke.gov.uk/documents/...

http://pad.basingstoke.gov.uk/documents/...

http://pad.basingstoke.gov.uk/documents/...

On 28 September 2017, their consultation comments dated 10 February 2017 were published by the Service in response to my related request [your ref: FOI 74 17-18], with ALL names [and ‘Chief Officer’] redacted. The document ‘1002201709185593 Redacted.pdf’ can be found here:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/3...

The document was published again the same day, this time in response to a request to East Hampshire District Council [EHDC Ref: FOI-001608]. Here the document was disclosed, as is custom and practice, WITHOUT redaction, even the Chief Officer’s signature remains. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/4...

On 8 November 2017, EHDC posted the document again, this time on its planning website, under application 52501/002 and entitled ‘Condition Consultation Response’. Bizarrely, on this occasion, the Service’s contact details had been redacted, but again the inspector and Chief Officer can be clearly identified. That personal data is already, very much in the public domain as a direct and predictable consequence of the routine interaction of the Service in these matters .

What we can see from the correspondence published there the same day [‘Re-discharge of condition 4 (removal of grasscrete strips)’], is that although it is addressed to the 'Building Control Department' it was in fact the Service's response to consultation about a PLANNING application. Specifically, it was consultation about application 52501/002 and the developer's proposal to omit areas of reinforced grass ['grasscrete'] to the sides of the emergency access route, intended to establish the width of hardstanding required to properly accommodate the 'tracking' and weight of a fire appliance. https://planningpublicaccess.easthants.g...

I note that the final sentence on the Service’s responses referred to here reads “…Any queries concerning these matters may be directed to the inspector named above but all correspondence should be addressed to [the Chief Officer].”. These inspectors [of whatever rank] put their names to advice and recommendations to consultations from Local Authorities regarding issues of public safety and the Service directs anyone with queries on reading the content to contact the named inspector. I believe that their role IS therefore ‘public facing’ and that it IS within the legitimate interests of the public to at least know their name, even if their ‘individual’ contact details are withheld. As argued above there can be no ‘reasonable’ expectation regarding non-disclosure, when the Service must know that its consultation responses are routinely published in unredacted form by correspondents.

Shared inbox accounts.

As you say, the Service does have shared inbox accounts to ensure that ANY requests [from the public or otherwise] are answered without negative impact on specific members of staff. In this case, all the disclosed responses give the contact email address as [email address] , presumably so that the Service can filter out the sort of personally targeted requests to which you refer [that might cause ‘unfair distress’] and redirect to managers at more senior level as required.

Inconsistent redaction

It is interesting to note that the service did not withhold personal information [including email addresses] disclosed when releasing inbound correspondence, which suggests that it is not consistent in the application of the practices it now espouses.

NOTWITHSTANDING THE ABOVE RESERVATIONS, I AM PREPARED NOT TO PURSUE THIS PARTICULAR ASPECT OF MY COMPLAINT REGARDING THIS REQUEST [YOUR REF: FOI 56 16-17, ICO REF: FS50693883].

I SHALL however continue to ask the ICO to consider the following aspects of the Authority’s handling of this request:

1. the point of clarification I have raised regarding information that the Authority disclosed on 12 May 2017, "... confirm the particular piece[s] of correspondence to which the documents 2124134.pdf, 2124331.pdf and Block Plan 1 500.pdf were attached....".

As explained to the ICO on 5 November, since the HFRS letter dated 5 March 2013 comments on two of the documents, [drawings 212413/4 and 212433/1 Rev B] it seems likely that they were attached to the letter dated 26 February 2013, from NHBC Building Control Services.

Unfortunately, I can still find no such explicit reference to drawing 1311-PS-01revD [“Block Plan 1 500.pdf” ] within the disclosed documents. This is a particularly important drawing, showing the date on which "Fire Engine tracking” was added and “Emergency access grasscrete amended" by revision C, [26 June 2013]. The last revision [‘D’] is dated 3 July 2013, so it must have been received by HFRS [with other information?] after that date.

2. The unwarranted warning given by the Authority regarding potentially vexatious behaviour whilst it simultaneously released information that should have been disclosed several months previously (and that still included inappropriate redaction, as confirmed to me in your latest letter). My contention here is that it is surely entirely appropriate for a requester to make reasonable, persistent demands when an Authority demonstrably fails in its duty to provide full and appropriate responses, as has proved to be the case on more than one occasion in relation to this request.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Whiteside