12-15 Cliff Terrace, Margate - funding

Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group made this Freedom of Information request to Kent County Council

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

The request was partially successful.

Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group

Dear Kent County Council,

We, from 15 groups** that form the Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group 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 KCC 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

Kent County Council

Dear Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group
Thank you for your email below. I think you may have misdirected this
particular request to Kent County Council as your first question is about
Thanet District Council funds and clearly KCC would not hold any
information about this. Likewise questions 6, 7 & 8 are appropriate to the
Local Planning Authority which in this case is also Thanet District
Council.

However, if you can confirm the name of the owner(s)/developer(s) of 12-15
Cliff Terrace, Margate, I will be happy to instigate a check of KCC's
financial database to see if any payments have been made to any
individual(s)/organisations that you name.

As soon as you have clarified this, I will progress your request and will
advise you of the latest date that you can expect a reply by. Please quote
our reference - FOI/10/0747 - in any communication regarding this
particular request.

Best regards

Corporate Access to Information Team, Chief Executive's Department
Kent County Council, Legal & Democratic Services, Room B.48, Sessions
House, County Hall, Maidstone. ME14 1XQ.
Tel: 01622 696265 or 01622 694261 - Fax: 01622 696075
[1]http://www.kent.gov.uk/your_council/have...

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Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group

Dear Kent County Council,

FOI/10/0747 - 12-15 Cliff Terrace, Margate

Our apologies - a typing error! The questions should read

1. Has any money from KCC 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 KCC officers?

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

We understand the developer of 12-15 Cliff Terrace, Margate could be
Ward Renovation and Construction Ltd
Binbrook Lodge
Kingsgate Bay Road
CT10 3QL

We understand the owner could be
Mr F Houghton
54 Clarence Avenue
Margate
CT9 3DR

If these are not correct, we understand that KCC's "No Use Empty" funds may have been accessed for this project. So you may find the accurate information in your relevant files.

Many thanks

Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group

Kent County Council

Dear Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group

Thank you for your request for information. Please accept my sincere
apologies for the slight delay in responding to you; I appreciate that the
Council has not complied with statutory timescales on this occasion.

I can confirm that Kent County Council's No Use Empty Scheme has not
provided any loan funding for the property 12-15 Cliff Terrace. Therefore,
the remaining questions (2 to 5) are not applicable.

If you are unhappy with his response, and believe KCC has not complied
with legislation, please ask for a review by following our complaints
process; details can be found at this link
[1]http://www.kent.gov.uk/your_council/have...
on our website. Please quote reference FOI/10/0747.

If you still remain dissatisfied following an internal review, you can
appeal to the Information Commissioner, who oversees compliance with the
Freedom of Information Act 2000. Details of what you need to do, should
you wish to pursue this course of action, are available from the
Information Commissioner's website
[2]http://www.ico.gov.uk/complaints/freedom...

Best regards

Caroline Dodge
Corporate Access to Information Coordinator, Chief Executive's Department
Kent County Council, Legal & Democratic Services, Room B.48, Sessions
House, County Hall, Maidstone. ME14 1XQ.
Tel: 01622 221652 - Fax: 01622 696075
[3]http://www.kent.gov.uk/your_council/have...

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Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group

Dear Kent County Council,

Thank you for your reply.

We would like clarification that the building was not included in the KCC administered No Use Empty scheme. Press releases issued by Margate Renewal Partnership in May 2008 and TDC in November 2008 stated that the building was a success of this scheme. Please can you clarify why there seems to be a possible discrepancy in this information.

Yours faithfully,

Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group

Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group

Dear Kent County Council,

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

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

We would like clarification that the building was not included in
the KCC administered No Use Empty scheme. Press releases issued by
Margate Renewal Partnership in May 2008 and TDC in November 2008
stated that the building was a success of this scheme. Please can
you clarify why there seems to be a possible discrepancy in this
information.

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

Kent County Council

2 Attachments

Dear Cliftonville & Margate Future's Group
Thank you for your follow-on query received 26th July. I am sorry that I
did not acknowledge this more promptly and provide you with an anticipated
reply by date, as I presume this in turn prompted your request for review
received 10th August.

Following receipt of your 26th July email, I instigated some research
including obtaining copies of the press articles I believe you were
referring to (see attached).

<<MRP%20Spring%20Newsletter%2008.pdf>> <<TDC press release - 10 11 Cliff
Terrace.doc>>
It would seem that at the time of these particular publications going to
press, the intention had indeed been to pursue a Compulsory Purchase Order
with the support of the No Use Empty initiative funding and
advice/expertise. However, the owner subsequently chose to sell the
property and the new owners are bringing it back into use. No Use Empty
was therefore involved in advice and guidance, but no funding has been
committed to the project. I can therefore categorically confirm that no
monies from the No Use Empty budget held at Kent County Council has been
used to provide funding for the property 12-15 Cliff Terrace.

I trust that this explanation now satisfies your complaint. However, if
you are still unhappy with the decision, you can appeal to the Information
Commissioner, who oversees compliance with the Freedom of Information Act
2000. Details of what you need to do, should you wish to pursue this
course of action, are available from the Information Commissioner's
website [1]http://www.ico.gov.uk/complaints/freedom... or
you can phone the ICO Helpline on 08456 30 60 60.

Best regards
Caroline Dodge
Corporate Access to Information Coordinator, Chief Executive's Department
Kent County Council, Legal & Democratic Services, Room B.48, Sessions
House, County Hall, Maidstone. ME14 1XQ.
Tel: 01622 221652 - Fax: 01622 696075
[2]http://www.kent.gov.uk/your_council/have...

References

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1. http://www.ico.gov.uk/complaints/freedom...
2. http://www.kent.gov.uk/your_council/have...