12-15 Cliff Terrace, Margate funding

Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group made this Freedom of Information request to Thanet District Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

Waiting for an internal review by Thanet District Council of their handling of this request.

Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group

Dear Thanet District Council,

We, from 15 groups** ie Residents' Associations, business groups and other community organisations, are writing to request information about your funding of the following organisations or projects. Specifically, we would like to know

12-15 Cliff Terrace, Margate
1. Has any money from TDC funds been given to any owners / developers of this building since 2005 and, if so:
2. What is the total amount of the money given?
3. What were the conditions under which the money was given and have the recipients of the money complied with those conditions?
4. How has that compliance been verified by council officers?
5. What action has been taken, or is to be taken, if the recipients have not complied with the conditions of the funding?
6. Is the building occupied or empty?
7. Does the building have sign-off in terms of building regulations and planning?
8. What was the result of the official complaint from the TDC conservation architect, Nick Dermott, regarding the decision to grant planning permission - Listed Building Application: L/TH/07/1527 http://margatearchitecture.blogspot.com/...

Our preferred format to receive this information is by electronic means. If one part of this request can be answered sooner than others, please send that information first followed by any subsequent data. If you need any clarification of this request please feel free to email me. If FOI requests of a similar nature have already been asked could you please include your responses to those requests.

Many public authorities release their contracts with private vendors in line with the Freedom of Information Act. The exemption for commercial interest under the Act (section 43) is a qualified exemption, which means information can only be withheld if it is in the public’s interest. The public have an interest in knowing the terms of contracts and grants awarded by public authorities, whether or not public money changes hands immediately.

If you are relying on section 41 (the exemption for legal breach of confidence) then we would like to know the following:
• When these confidentiality agreements were agreed
• All correspondence and email in which these confidentiality agreements were discussed.
• The precise wording of the confidentiality agreements

We ask these questions because guidance issued by both the Lord Chancellor (draft guidance on FOI implementation) and the Office of Government Commerce (Model terms and conditions for goods and services) specifically state that public authorities should not enter into these types of agreements. They go directly against the spirit of the laws of disclosure. We would also point to the Information Commissioner’s guidance on accepting blanket commercial confidentiality agreements: ‘Unless confidentiality clauses are necessary or reasonable, there is a real risk that, in the event of a complaint, the Commissioner would order disclosure in any case.’

Finally, within the law of confidence there is also a public interest test. Therefore, the information should be disclosed in full. If any parts are redacted they must be for information that can be proven to be a legal breach of confidence in court, and only then where secrecy can be shown to be in the public interest. These are difficult positions to argue when public money is at stake or where a public authority is offering a private company a monopoly to charge its stakeholders.

We would be grateful if you could confirm, in writing, that you have received this request, and we look forward to hearing from you within the 20-working day statutory time period.

Regards

Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group

** Arlington House Residents' Association, Cliftonville Partnership, Cliftonville Residents Assoc, DAAG, Dalby Sq Project, Dane Valley Woods, Godwin Rd, GRASS, Grotto Hill, Hawley Square, Margate Civic Society, Old Town Action Group, Senior Citizens’ Forum, SRAAG, St Paul’s Community Centre

Kerrie Nichol, Thanet District Council

Ref No:18662 / 1385710

Dear Sir/Madam

Thank you for your communication of 23/06/2010 requesting information regarding planning issues at 12 - 15 Cliff Terrace, Margate.

Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and will be answered within twenty working days.

If you have any queries about this request do not hesitate to contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

Yours sincerely,

Kerrie Nichol
Information Request Assessor

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Helan Wing, Thanet District Council

Ref No: 18662 / 1385710

Dear Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group

Thank you for your communication received on 23/06/2010 09:23:23 where you requested the following information:

12-15 Cliff Terrace, Margate

1. Has any money from [FUNDING ORGANISATION] funds been given to any owners / developers of this building since 2005 and, if so:

1. What is the total amount of the money given?

2. What were the conditions under which the money was given and have the recipients of the money complied with those conditions?

2. How has that compliance been verified by council officers?

3. What action has been taken, or is to be taken, if the recipients have not complied with the conditions of the funding?

4. Is the building occupied or empty?

5. Does the building have sign-off in terms of building regulations and planning?

6. What was the result of the official complaint from the TDC conservation officer, Nick Dermott, regarding the decision to grant planning permission - Listed Building Application: L/TH/07/1527 http://margatearchitecture.blogspot.com/...

The information you requested is as follows

1 No funding has been given to any owners / developers of this building since 2005.

1. NA

2. NA

2. NA

3. NA

4. The Council does not hold this information.

5. Planning Consent granted 12 October 2007, subject to conditions.
Listed Building Consent granted 18 December 2007, subject to conditions.
Building Control Full Plans Consent granted 09 July 2008 – no completion notice yet issued.

The Council does not hold this information.

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the right to ask for an internal review. Internal review requests should be submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your original letter and should be addressed to: Information Request Assessor, Thanet District Council, P O Box 9 Cecil Street, Margate Kent CT9 1XZ, or send an email to [email address].

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, 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

Yours sincerely,

Helan Wing
Business Support Manager

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Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group

Dear Helan Wing,

Thank you for your reply to my questions. I would like to ask you to clarify your response for the following points:

1. You state that no funding has been allocated to the building or the developers since 2005. Yet TDC issued a press release in November 2008 and Margate Renewal Partnership issued a newsletter in May 2008 stating the building was a success story of the No Use Empty Scheme. Please clarify what was the relation of the building with this scheme and why was it deemed a success in November 2008.

4. You state TDC do not know if the building is occupied or not. Please confirm if there is Council Tax being charged and paid.

5. Please confirm whether all planning conditions have been satisfied.

6. You have not responded to this question.

Yours sincerely,

Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group

Helan Wing, Thanet District Council

I am currently away from the office.

Please email Pauline Davis on [email address] if the matter is urgent.

Please email Geoff Musk on [email address] if the matter relates to Acolaid.

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Michael Gilbertson, Thanet District Council

Ref No:18662 / 0

Dear Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group,

Thank you for your communication of 26/07/2010 requesting further information about 12-15 Cliff Terrace.

Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and will be answered within twenty working days.

If you have any queries about this request do not hesitate to contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Gilbertson
Freedom of Information Assessor

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Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group

Dear Thanet District Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Thanet District Council's handling of my FOI request '12-15 Cliff Terrace, Margate funding'.

. You state that no funding has been allocated to the building or
the developers since 2005. Yet TDC issued a press release in
November 2008 and Margate Renewal Partnership issued a newsletter
in May 2008 stating the building was a success story of the No Use
Empty Scheme. Please clarify what was the relation of the building
with this scheme and why was it deemed a success in November 2008.

4. You state TDC do not know if the building is occupied or not.
Please confirm if there is Council Tax being charged and paid.

5. Please confirm whether all planning conditions have been
satisfied.

6. You have not responded to this question.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/12...

Yours faithfully,

Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group

Helan Wing, Thanet District Council

Ref No: 18662 / 1385710

Dear Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group

12-15 CLIFF TERRACE, MARGATE

Thank you for your communication received on 23/06/2010 09:23:23 where you requested further information on 12-15 Cliff Terrace as follows:

1. You state that no funding has been allocated to the building or the developers since 2005. Yet TDC issued a press release in November 2008 and Margate Renewal Partnership issued a newsletter in May 2008 stating the building was a success story of the No Use Empty Scheme. Please clarify what was the relation of the building with this scheme and why was it deemed a success in November 2008.

4. You state TDC do not know if the building is occupied or not. Please confirm if there is Council Tax being charged and paid.

5. Please confirm whether all planning conditions have been satisfied.

6. You have not responded to this question.

The information, which can be disclosed, is as follows:

1. Mr Thompson, the Empty Property Officer has confirmed that "The 'No Use Empty' campaign aims to tackle problems caused by long-term empty properties through a variety of approaches, just one of which is the interest-free loan scheme.

Where negotiation with owners fails, the campaign also promotes and provides training and guidance in a variety of enforcement actions under a raft of legislation to take matters forward and in this particular instance, Cabinet approval was sought and granted for Compulsory Purchase action to be commenced.

This threat was instrumental in encouraging the owner to sell to a developer who then proceeded to apply for planning permission to undertake a residential conversion.

Market changes have led to the accommodation being rented when the initial proposals involved selling but I am encouraged, as I am sure that you are, to note that occupation is beginning to take place at last.

Whatever our approach to the problems posed by empty properties all our empty property work reflects the partnership arrangements between the County and ourselves and we are pleased to associate ourselves with the initiative, indeed, even the Audit Commission have cited the arrangement as 'Best Practice'."

In the case of this particular building the following should be noted. The building is Listed and in a very prominent position. It was in such poor condition that had the Council not acted it could have deteriorated such that it became beyond repair and was lost. The clear success story is that the building is available to future generations. And its unique design contributes greatly to the quality of the built environment. You will be aware that advice at the national level from organisations including CABE and English Heritage is that regeneration must retain the best elements of the local environment. This building therefore represents success.

3. Mr Thomas, the Planning Applications and Enforcement Manager has confirmed that all conditions have been satisfied.

6. The Council does not hold this information.

The remainder of the information (Question 4) that you requested is exempt under section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act and is therefore withheld. The information is exempt as it relates to personal information and the Data Protection Act.

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the right to ask for an internal review. Internal review requests should be submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your original letter and should be addressed to: Information Request Assessor, Thanet District Council, P O Box 9 Cecil Street, Margate Kent CT9 1XZ, or send an email to [email address].

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, 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

Yours sincerely,

Helan Wing
Business Support Manager

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Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group

Dear Thanet District Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Thanet District Council's handling of my FOI request '12-15 Cliff Terrace, Margate funding'.

We have not received a satisfactory answer to question number 6:
The official complaint from Mr Nick Dermott was addressed to Mr Brian White at Thanet District Council. We would be grateful if you would provide details of the response and resolution of this complaint.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/12...

Yours faithfully,

Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group

Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group

Dear Thanet District Council,

You have not replied to our request for an Internal Review issued August 29th.

You are now oeverdue in replying to the request.

Yours faithfully,

Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group