addresses of “long term empty” Commercial properties that are within St Albans District Council area

stephen nash made this Freedom of Information request to St Albans District Council

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

The request was refused by St Albans District Council.

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please can you provide me with the following information under the Freedom Of Information Act 2000:-

(a) addresses of “long term empty” Commercial properties that are within St Albans District Council area; and

(b) the names of the owners of those properties referred to in (a)

Yours faithfully,

stephen nash

Freedom Information, St Albans District Council

Dear Mr. Nash

Freedom of Information Request - acknowledgement
Reference: 364000708

I write with regard to your request for information sent by email to St
Albans City & District Council. Your email was received by the Council
on 17th April 2009.

Under Section 10(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, we are
required to respond no later than 20 working days after the date we
receive your request. This means that you should have a response by
18th May 2009.

However, if we feel that we require further information to fulfill your
request we will write to inform you within the twenty day period
[section 1(3)].

If the Council considers that we require further time to respond then we
will write to you informing you of the estimated date of response
[section 10 (3)].

If we consider that complying with the request will exceed the cost
limit then we will write to tell you within 20 working days.

I will now pass this request to the relevant department, and they will
be in contact with you in due course.

Yours sincerely

Elly Hibbert
Administrative Assistant
Internal Audit
St Albans City & District Council
Civic Offices
St Peters Street
St Albans
Herts
AL1 3JE
Tel 01727 819236 (Direct)
Switchboard 01727 866100 ext 2236
Fax 01727 819467
email [email address]

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Dear Freedom Information,

To clarify my request what I want is the address and owners of all empty commercial properties within The St Albans District Council area.

Yours sincerely,

stephen nash

Elly Hibbert, St Albans District Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Nash

Freedom of Information Request

Reference 364000708

I write further to your Freedom of Information request sent by email to St
Albans City & District Council on 17th April 2009.

Our legal department have considered your request, in accordance with the
Tribunal case of Mr C England and London Borough of Bexley v ICO.

In this case, the Tribunal state that the exemption in Section 31 of the
Freedom of Information Act applies to requests for lists of empty
properties, and we consider that your request falls within this category.
Under this section, information is exempt from disclosure where disclosure
would be likely to prejudice the prevention of crime and disorder. We
consider that placing information containing the addresses of unoccupied
homes and commercial premises into the public domain would significantly
increase the risk of theft, vandalism and criminal damage, unlawful
occupation and other crimes to these properties.

The exemption under section 31 of the Freedom of Information Act is a
qualified exemption so I must consider whether the public interest test.
In applying this test we have considered whether the public interest in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

In this case, we consider that the public interest in the prevention of
crime and disorder outweighs the public interest in making the information
available to the general public. We have considered the question as to
whether disclosure would be likely to prejudice the prevention of crime.
We consider that there is a link between the likely prejudice, i.e. the
crime at vacant properties and the disclosure of the lists of empty
properties to the general public. We have applied the public interest
test, and agree that the findings of the Tribunal are applicable here. So
that we find the impact on the public sector by crimes on their vacant
properties is less than the impact on private companies or individuals by
crime on their vacant properties. Therefore balancing the public interest
test the weight comes down on the disclosure of properties held by the
public sector but is outweighed with respect to private owners by the
prejudice to them.

We therefore provide the details of public sector owned vacant properties.
I now attach two Excel databases, one showing the commercial properties
owned by the Council that are vacant, and a second showing the domestic
properties owned by the Council that are vacant.

We are not able to differentiate within our system between properties
owned by individuals and Housing Associations. Applying the public
interest test we feel that given the impact on private owners as stated
above, this information should be withheld.

If you are aggrieved by my decision not to provide the information, you
may appeal my decision under Stage 2 of the Council's Complaints Procedure
to Mike Lovelady, Head of Legal & Democratic Services. If you wish to do
so you should write to Claire Andrews, Corporate Complaints Monitoring
Officer at St Albans City and District Council, District Offices, Civic
Centre St Peter's Street, St Albans AL1 3JE.

You are also able to complain directly to the Information Commissioner's
Office at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF. You
must do this no later than two months after the Local Authority's last
response to you. The Commissioner's Office recommends that you first
complain to the Council.

<<sadc commercial empty props v2.XLS>> <<sadc long term empties foi
request v2.XLS>>

Elly Hibbert

Administrative Assistant

Internal Audit

St Albans City & District Council

Civic Offices

St Peters Street

St Albans

Herts

AL1 3JE

Tel 01727 819236 (Direct)

Switchboard 01727 866100 ext 2236

Fax 01727 819467

email [email address]

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Dear Elly Hibbert,

I wish to appeal your decision under stage 2 of the Council's Complaints Procedure

Yours sincerely,

stephen nash

Judith Adamson, St Albans District Council

2 Attachments

[Subject only] FW: St Albans City & District Council: FOIA Request - 364000708 Mr S Nash

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