Planning Application 17/05708/FUL – Pre-application advice

Roedd y cais yn rhannol lwyddiannus.

Dear Croydon Borough Council,

I note from the Application Form that pre-application advice [ref 17/03554/PRE] was provided in July 2017, which apparently included the following comments:

1. Scale and Mass by increasing the units from 8 to 9.
2. Front elevation with no asymmetrical elements.
3. Position of building not acceptable as pushed further back away from the West Hill.
4. An off-street parking is required
5. Rear elevation, the smaller rear element is too high and squashes the first floor element to the detriment of the scheme
6. Landscape requires more work and detail

Please provide any information relating to Mr Naylor’s advice, including but not restricted to copies of what was submitted by the applicant, the minutes of any meeting[s] and the officer’s advice letter[s] or email[s].

Yours faithfully,

Stephen Whiteside

Freedom of Information,

 

Dear Mr Whiteside

 

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Stephen Whiteside

Dear Freedom of Information,

Planning Application 17/05708/FUL – Pre-application advice
Your Ref: F/CRT/10008813

I refer to my request dated 19 December and your response dated 22 December 2017.

I have now noticed that in processing similar requests for ‘pre-application’ information on two other planning applications, the Council has failed to provide copies of anything of the pre-application submission itself, such as drawings, reports, fee calculations and/or covering letters etc.

[Your Refs: EIR/CRT/10008433 and F/CRT/10008767]

I would be grateful if you could ensure that this information IS provided with the Council’s initial response in this case, in order to avoid the need for a[nother] request for internal review.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Whiteside

Freedom of Information,

2 Atodiad

Dear Mr Whiteside

 

Freedom of Information Request

Please see attached the council's response to your Freedom of Information
request.

Yours sincerely

 

Lynda Fay

FOI Coordinator

Croydon Council

 

Council services, online, 24/7 www.croydon.gov.uk/myaccount Download our
new free My Croydon app for a faster, smarter and better way to report
local issues www.croydon.gov.uk/app From 1 October 2015, it is a legal
requirement for all privately rented properties in Croydon to be licensed.
Landlords without a licence could face fines of up to £20,000. For more
information and to apply for a licence visit
www.croydon.gov.uk/betterplacetorent Please use this web site address to
view the council's e-mail disclaimer -
http://www.croydon.gov.uk/email-disclaimer

Stephen Whiteside

Dear Croydon Borough Council,

Your Ref: F/CRT/10008813 - 1A West Hill, South Croydon

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Croydon Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Planning Application 17/05708/FUL – Pre-application advice'.

I refer to the information provided on 22 January 2018, as “attachment.pdf” .

On a general note, every alternate page of the document is blank, which makes it twice as large as it needs to be … and very difficult to review. Additionally, the pre-application advice letter dated 13 October 2017 is included three times.

Flood Advice

Pages 31-37 of the pdf consist of LLFA General Flood Advice regarding proposals to develop a site “… to provide ground floor commercial units with residential flats above.” Item 7 of the advice letter of 13 October 2017 refers to this as the “Lead Local Flood Authority general guidance. …”

+++ Please confirm that the LLFA were NOT in fact specifically consulted on this pre-application.

Meeting notes

Pages 61 and 63 of the pdf contain what I presume are the notes of the meeting with the applicant that took place on 3 October 2017.

Comparing this document with others disclosed with it, it seems clear that it is an email from the case officer, but with the majority of the ‘header’ lines removed or amended. The note “TOM TO FEED IN”, under item 3 ‘Character and appearance’ suggests that the notes were sent to consultees for information and/or comment.

+++ Please provide a copy of the FULL email, with the complete ‘From’, ‘Sent’, ‘To’, ‘Cc’ and [full] ‘Subject’ header and any other information that may have been unjustifiably removed.

Comments from ‘Spatial Planning’ and ‘Transportation Team’

Pages 159 to 165 of the pdf show that on 15 September 2017, the Head of Development Management consulted with the Transportation Team, Spatial Planning and the Tree Team about this pre-application submission, but comments from ONLY the Tree Team have been provided.

+++ Please provide a FULL copy of the comments made by the ‘Transportation Team’ and ‘Spatial Planning’ …. and any other consultee involved at this stage.

In his letters of 15 September, Mr Smith describes the proposal as “Demolishing of existing dwelling and replacing with single block of apartments which is containing 9 flats. Proposal is associated with parking spaces for 8 cars, cycle storage and refuse store.”

+++ Please provide details of any proposal submitted at this time to provide only 8 [EIGHT] on-site car parking spaces [rather than 9] and copies of any relevant consultee comments.

In the letter of 15 September to ‘Transportation Team’, Mr Smith describes the submission as ‘the pre application’ and asks for observations ‘within 7 days’, whereas his letter of the same date to ‘Spatial Planning’ and ‘Tree Team’ describes the submission as ‘the planning application’, and asks for observations ‘within 21 days’.

+++ Please provide details of any full or outline planning application submitted/validated at this time and copies of any relevant consultee comments and/or officer advice/reports.

Missing comments from ‘Strategic Transport’

The email between the case officer and the applicant, dated 20 November 2017 [page 57], refers to “… comments received from the Strategic Transport Team …”, but a copy of those comments has NOT been provided.

+++ Please provide a FULL copy of the comments from ‘Strategic Transport’ referred to above.

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

Yours faithfully,

Stephen Whiteside

Dear Freedom of Information,

Your Ref: F/CRT/10008813

Further to my request for internal review dated 29 January 2018.

I have now realised that DESPITE my email of 15 January, the Council's response of 22 January did NOT include any copies of the pre-application submission itself, such as drawings, reports, fee calculations and/or covering letters etc.

I would be grateful if you could ensure that the above information IS now provided as soon as possible, along with the rest of that listed in my request for review.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Whiteside

Stephen Whiteside

Dear Freedom of Information,

Your Ref: F/CRT/10008813

We are now well past the time by which the Council should, by law, have responded to my request for an internal revue and I have yet to receive even an acknowledgement.

In the circumstances, I have complained to the Information Commissioner about the Council's handling of this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Whiteside

Gadawodd Stephen Whiteside anodiad ()

LBC Ref: F/CRT/10008813

I understand that the Information Commissioner [ICO] has now written to the Council recommending that an internal review decision is issued within 10 working days from the date of receipt of the letter, dated 4 May 2018. [ICO Case Reference Number FER0742539]

Gadawodd Stephen Whiteside anodiad ()

ICO Case Ref: FER0742539
Following the failure of the Council to follow the recommendation of the Information Commissioner with regard to its internal review decision, the ICO has now accepted my complaint about the Council's handling of this request for further consideration/investigation.

Derby, James,

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Whiteside

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has brought to the Council's attention your complaint regarding a request for internal review which has not been completed by the Council. This relates to your EIR request reference number F/CRT/10008813 (see attached) and ICO Ref: FER0742539. I apologise for any inconvenience the delay in processing this internal review may have caused you. I have considered your request under the terms of the Environment Information Regulations 2004 (EIR) as the information requested relates to Planning matters and it is therefore likely to be information about "measures" affecting the elements of the environment and therefore constitutes environmental information as defined in Regulation 2 of the EIR.

The EIR provides a general right of access to information held by a public authority subject to exceptions available under the EIR. Regulation 5 (2) of the EIR provides that a public authority should provide information held "as soon as possible and no later than 20 working days after the date of receipt of the request.". Where an applicant is not satisfied with the response received from the public authority, the applicant may request an internal review of the response and the public authority must notify the applicant of the outcome of the internal review within 40 working days pursuant to Regulation 11 (4) of the EIR. In this instant case the Council has failed to provide you the outcome of the internal review within 40days from 29 January 2018 and has therefore breached Regulation 11 (4) of the EIR. Again, I apologise for any inconvenience the delay in processing this internal review may have caused you.

I have now considered your request for internal review as contained in your email below; you have complained about the arrangements of the documents disclosed to you and non-availability of some documents. In conducting this internal review, I have met and discussed with officers in both the planning and FOI teams; I have also considered the Council's obligations under the EIR and also considered a number of ICO Decision Notices and Guidance notes.

Regarding the arrangements of the documents disclosed to you I understand the documents had blank pages as this was the way the documents came out when they were sent to the FOI team and trying to remove the blank pages may lead to some information being removed from the disclosure.

You also complained about non-disclosure of some documents; under the EIR, a public authority is obliged to provide information held (formally recorded) subject to any of the exceptions under the EIR. A public authority is expected to conduct searches (electronic and manual) to ensure all information falling within the scope of the EIR is provided to the applicant.

As mentioned above, in the course of conducting this internal review I met with officers in the planning team and enquired how the search for the information falling within the scope of the EIR request was carried out. I was informed that following receipt of the EIR request, an officer in the planning team was assigned to conduct a detailed search in the relevant planning database used to record and store information relating to the scope of the EIR request. I understand the officer then captured all the information falling within the scope of the EIR request and provided it to the FOI team. The Council's FOI team have also advised that following receipt of the information from the planning team, they processed the information and provided all information to you subject to some redactions.

I note your complaint above non-disclosure of some specific documents and you have taken a position that these documents do exists but you have not been provided with them. I understand that whilst the Council may have stated there were comments from consultees and/or officers, these comments may not be in writing and if they are in writing they would have been stored on the relevant planning database and therefore disclosed to you along with other documents. I am therefore of the view that as the information you alleged were not disclosed to you were not held formally recorded) by the Council, the Council was under no obligation to disclose or create the information to you.

Further to the above, I am advised all information about full planning applications submitted to the Council are available on the Council's planning portal at www.croydon.gov.uk/planningandregenerati.... A public authority is not expected to disclose information which is already publicly available and easily accessible to the applicant in another form or format.

If you are not content with this decision, you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

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

Regards

James Derby
Corporate Solicitor
Legal & Democratic Services
Legal Division
Resources Department
Floor 7, Zone C
Bernard Weatherill House
8 Mint Walk
Croydon, CR0 1EA
Tel: 020 8686 4433 Ext: 61359

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