Alexandra Park Regeneration Project

Peter Starch made this Freedom of Information request to Manchester City 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 partially successful.

Dear Manchester City Council,

I enquire further to recent works at Alexandra Park, Manchester in relation to the Regeneration Project.

1. On 15 February 2013, a notice was left at the park. It is signed by E. Flanagan on 13 February 2013. Please provide a copy of this notice.

2. Please provide details of who has been contracted to secure the site at Alexandra Park. Please provide details of how much they are being paid.

3. Please provide details of who has been contracted to fell the trees at Alexandra Park. Please provide details of how much they are being paid.

4. Please provide details of the tender process in relation to Points 2 and 3.

5. Please provide all copies of all e-mails in relation to the recent felling of the trees at Alexandra Park.

6. Please provide details of any meetings held in relation to the felling of trees at Alexandra Park including the date and who was in attendance.

7. Please provide details of any conservation reports/assessments carried out on the trees and the parks prior to the felling of the trees.

8. Please provide all the objections submitted to Manchester City Council in relation to the felling of the trees at the park.

9. Please provide details of any planning applications in relation to the felling of trees at Alexandra Park.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Starch

Manchester City Council

Dear Mr Starch

Re: Request for Information - Reference No: NBH/95CFRD

Thank you for your request for information which was received by Manchester
City Council on 27 February 2013.

Please note that it may take up to 20 working days (approximately 4 weeks)
for the Council to consider your request and to provide a formal response.

If this timescale needs to be extended to consider an exemption you will be
notified and kept informed.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Catherine Spencer
Information Compliance Unit
Democratic Services
PO Box 532
Town Hall
Albert Square
Manchester
M60 2LA

Email: [Manchester City Council request email]
Website: www.manchester.gov.uk

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Dear Manchester City Council,

I am due a response on my FOI Act request by 28 March 2013.

If my request is going to be delayed further please explain.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Starch

Dear Manchester City Council,

My Freedom Of Information Request is overdue. A response should have been provided by 28 March 2013.

Please acknowledge this message and state when I am to receive a response to my request.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Starch

Manchester City Council

Dear Mr Starch

Re: Request for Information - Reference No: NBH/95CFRD

Thank you for your recent email.

I apologise for the delay in answering your request and will follow up your
enquiry with the departments that are providing the information requested
to establish when the Council will be able to issue you with a response.

Yours sincerely

Catherine Spencer
Information Compliance Unit
Democratic Services
PO Box 532
Town Hall
Albert Square
Manchester
M60 2LA

Email: [Manchester City Council request email]
Website: www.manchester.gov.uk

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Dear Manchester City Council,

I am still awaiting the response to my Freedom Of Information request submitted on 27 February 2013.

A response was due on 28 March 2013.

On 8 April 2013, you responded to say that my information was delayed. You have not given reason for this delay.

Please provide me with the full response to my FOI Act request as a matter of urgency. If my request is to be further delayed, please explain why.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Starch

Dear Manchester City Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Manchester City Council's handling of my FOI request 'Alexandra Park Regeneration Project'.

My response was due by law, by 28 March 2013. You have not provided me with the information.

On 2 April 2013, I sent a reminder request. This was ignored.

On 8 April 2013, I sent a reminder request. This was replied to. I was told that you will follow up my
enquiry with the departments that are providing the information requested to establish when you would be able to issue mewith a response.

I have heard nothing since. On 15 April, again, I submitted a reminder. No response.

The Freedom Of Information Act requires you to respons by 28 March 2013. It is now 18 April 2013.

You are required to respond to my FOI Act promptly. This has now been the case.

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

I require my FOI request to be answered as a matter of urgency.

I further require an Internal Review as to how my request has been handled.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Starch

Manchester City Council

Dear Mr Starch

Re: Request for Information - Internal Review - NBH/95CFRD/IR

Thank you for your email dated 18 April 2013 regarding your request for an
internal review.

Your request for an internal review will be dealt with in accordance with
the Council’s Access to Information Complaint Procedure. The procedure is
available on the Council’s web site at:

http://www.manchester.gov.uk/downloads/d...

We will carry out the internal review and contact you again as soon as
possible.

Yours sincerely

Catherine Spencer
Information Compliance Unit
Democratic Services
PO Box 532
Town Hall
Albert Square
Manchester
M60 2LA

Email: [Manchester City Council request email]
Website: www.manchester.gov.uk

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Dear Manchester City Council,

I want the matter reviewed but I also want my request answered. You appear to be deliberately delaying my request.

When will my original FOI be answered? What are the reasons for the delay?

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Starch

Manchester City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Starch,

Request for Information - Reference Number: NBH/95CFRD

Thank you for your request for information, which was received by
Manchester City Council on 28 February 2013, please accept my apologies for
the delay in responding to your request. The Council has considered the
information requested and is satisfied that it falls within the broad
definition of “environmental information” in the Environmental Information
Regulations 2004 (EIR). The Council has therefore considered your request
for information under the provisions of the EIR.

I set out below your request for information and the Council’s response.

1. On 15 February 2013, a notice was left at the park. It is signed by E.
Flanagan on 13 February 2013. Please provide a copy of this notice.

(See attached file: Alexandra Park Notice.pdf)

2. Please provide details of who has been contracted to secure the site at
Alexandra Park. Please provide details of how much they are being paid.

G4S currently provide security/incident response for all the parks in
the city. During the protest, staff from parks across the city were
relocated to work in Alexandra Park to support their colleagues. No
additional security personnel were provided. There were a number of
additional shifts added to the contract therefore no tender process was
necessary.

We are unable to provide details of costs, the reason for this is
explained below:

EIR does not have exemptions, but instead exceptions. The equivalent on
S43(2) in EIR is Regulation 12(5)(e) The confidentiality of commercial
or industrial information where such confidentiality is provided by law
to protect a legitimate economic interest.

Factors in favour of disclosure:
To promote a culture of openness and accountability leading to a
better understanding of how public authorities carry-out their duties
and spend public money.
It will assist the public to understand why a decision was made

Factors against disclosure:
Releasing the information will weaken the Council's position in a
competitive environment by revealing market sensitive information
prejudicing the Council's ability to procure value for money
services.
The effect that disclosure of commercially sensitive information
might have in discouraging companies from dealing with the Council
because of fears that the disclosure of such information could damage
them commercially.
Release will inhibit the effective delivery of services and/or
undermine the Council’s ability to fulfil its role

3. Please provide details of who has been contracted to fell the trees at
Alexandra Park. Please provide details of how much they are being paid.

The company contracted to carry out the tree felling was Ashlea
Landscaping who are a subcontractor of Mansell (the main contractor who
were awarded the contract). We are unable to provide details of costs,
the reason for this is covered by Regulation 12(5)(e) The
confidentiality of commercial or industrial information where such
confidentiality is provided by law to protect a legitimate economic
interest.

Factors in favour of disclosure:
To promote a culture of openness and accountability leading to a
better understanding of how public authorities carry-out their duties
and spend public money.
It will assist the public to understand why a decision was made

Factors against disclosure:
Releasing the information will weaken the Council's position in a
competitive environment by revealing market sensitive information
prejudicing the Council's ability to procure value for money
services.
The effect that disclosure of commercially sensitive information
might have in discouraging companies from dealing with the Council
because of fears that the disclosure of such information could damage
them commercially.
Release will inhibit the effective delivery of services and/or
undermine the Council’s ability to fulfil its role

4. Please provide details of the tender process in relation to Points 2 and
3.

The main contractors and the design team were appointed in summer 2012
following the council’s procurement procedures. A member of the Friends
of Alexandra Park group was present as an observer during both
interviews. Mansell were procured through the North-west Construction
Hub, and the design team through the Engineering Professional Services
framework.

5. Please provide all copies of all e-mails in relation to the recent
felling of the trees at Alexandra Park.

Due to the number of officers involved and the time period of up to six
years the time required to produce this information would be
significant. It is estimated that in excess of 10 officers would need
to spend over 40 working days to locate, retrieve and extract the
emails.

While there is no fixed cost limit under the EIR (unlike the Freedom of
Information Act (FoIA) where there is a statutory cost limit of £450
(which is calculated as being approximately 18 hours or 2.5 days of a
council officer's time to determine whether the Council holds the
information, locate, retrieve and extract the information)), Regulation
12(4)(b) of the EIR provides that the Council may refuse to disclose
information to the extent that “the request for information is
manifestly unreasonable”.

Public authorities have been encouraged to align their FoIA and EIR
charging policies to ensure consistency and avoid unfairness. The
Council has therefore decided that EIR applicants should be treated the
same as FoIA applicants and that no charge should be levied if a request
is capable of being serviced under the FoIA cost limit. Conversely,
where an EIR request would exceed 18 hours of council officer’s time,
the Council has decided that the criteria for triggering the manifestly
unreasonable exception in Regulation 12(4)(b) of the EIR should be
interpreted consistently with the cost limit under FoIA referred to
above).

This approach is provided for in the Council’s Fees & Charges Policy,
which is published on the Council’s website and may be downloaded from
http://www.manchester.gov.uk/site/script...
. If you do not have internet access and require a paper copy, please
let me know.

The exception to disclosure under Regulation 12(4)(b) of the EIR is
subject to a “public interest test”. In considering your EIR Request,
therefore, the Council has gone on to consider whether it is in the
public interest to maintain the exception to disclosure under Regulation
12(4)(b) of the EIR.

The Council has applied the public interest test and Having considered
these factors I am satisfied that the balance of the public interest is
in favour of maintaining the exception at Regulation 12(4)(b) of the EIR
in respect of your EIR Request

6. Please provide details of any meetings held in relation to the felling
of trees at Alexandra Park including the date and who was in attendance.

There were no meetings held which focussed solely on the issue of tree
felling.

One meeting was held which predominantly featured the tree felling that
was called at the request of the community, and was held on Monday 17
December 2012.

The meeting was attended by:

Eamonn O’Rourke – Manchester Council Officer
Edward Flanagan – Manchester Council Officer
Richard Sharland – Manchester Council Officer
Eunice Long – Manchester Council Officer
Neighbourhood Manager – Manchester Council Officer
A representative from the Heritage Lottery Fund North West
Resident x3

7. Please provide details of any conservation reports/assessments carried
out on the trees and the parks prior to the felling of the trees.

The following ecological surveys have been undertaken in the park in
relation to trees:
Ecological Appraisal Report (D131812/EC/SK/006.1), September 2010;
Bat Roost Potential Survey Report (D131812/EC/SK/006.4), March 2011;
Bat Survey Report (July 2011).

The trees were inspected by ecologists from GMEU and URS Design Team
throughout the tree felling period, from January to March 2013, to ensure
there were no breeding birds or hibernating bats present in trees to be
felled and those in the immediate vicinity.

8. Please provide all the objections submitted to Manchester City Council
in relation to the felling of the trees at the park.

The planning information for the Alexandra Park Restoration is freely
available through the planning portal. There were five supports for the
planning and an equal number of objections to the plans. The planning
portal can be found at
http://pa.manchester.gov.uk/onlineapplic...

9. Please provide details of any planning applications in relation to the
felling of trees at Alexandra Park."

Restoration and refurbishment of Alexandra Park including demolition of
four no. buildings, removal of extensions and internal remodelling to
the Pavillion and Chorlton Lodge for use as community training and
events facilities and cafe, internal remodelling of the Depot,
relocation and introduction of sports facilities and landscaping works.

Cutting down trees is not development that requires planning permission.
The trees in Alexandra Park are not protected by Tree Preservation
Orders and the Park is not located within a Conservation Area.
Consequently planning approval was not required and has therefore not
been granted to remove any trees.

Plans that showed the removal of trees did form part of the planning
application and plans were made available via public access.

Please note if you are not satisfied with this response you may ask for an
internal review. If you wish to complain you should contact the
Information Governance Manager, whose address is Democratic Services, PO
Box 532, Town Hall, Manchester, M60 2LA, email:
[Manchester City Council request email] in the first instance.

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

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

Yours sincerely

Eunice Long
South Area Manager
(Community and Cultural Services)

Research and Performance
Manchester City Council
PO Box 532, Town Hall
Manchester, M60 2LA

This communication may contain information which is confidential and may
also be privileged. It is for the exclusive use of the intended recipient.
If you are not the intended recipient, please do not read, print,
re-transmit, store or act in reliance on it or any attachments. If you have
received this communication in error, please notify me by email or by
telephone and then permanently delete the email and any copies of it.

It’s easier to request a service or report a problem online at
www.manchester.gov.uk/youraccount

Here are some of the benefits of registering your own account:

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Manchester City Council

Dear Mr Starch,

Re: - Request for Information – Alexandra Park Regeneration Project - Ref
Number: NBH/95CFRD – Internal Review Request – Ref Number:
NBH/95CFRD/IR

I refer to your request that Manchester City Council should carry out an
Internal Review into the handling of your Request for Information made
under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FoIA) and/or
the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR). In your original
FoIA/EIR request, which was lodged on the 28 February 2013, you asked for
the following information):

"I enquire further to recent works at Alexandra Park, Manchester in
relation to the Regeneration Project.

1. On 15 February 2013, a notice was left at the park. It is
signed by E. Flanagan on 13 February 2013. Please provide a
copy of this notice.
2. Please provide details of who has been contracted to secure the
site at Alexandra Park. Please provide details of how much they
are being paid.
3. Please provide details of who has been contracted to fell the
trees at Alexandra Park. Please provide details of how much
they are being paid.
4. Please provide details of the tender process in relation to
Points 2 and 3.
5. Please provide all copies of all e-mails in relation to the
recent felling of the trees at Alexandra Park.
6. Please provide details of any meetings held in relation to the
felling of trees at Alexandra Park including the date and who
was in attendance.
7. Please provide details of any conservation reports/assessments
carried out on the trees and the parks prior to the felling of
the trees.
8. Please provide all the objections submitted to Manchester City
Council in relation to the felling of the trees at the park.
9. Please provide details of any planning applications in relation
to the felling of trees at Alexandra Park."

On the 19 May 2013, you asked for an Internal Review into the Council’s
handling of your FoIA Request on the grounds that a response to your
request was not provided within the twenty working days, which the council
is required to meet.

The service apologises for the delay in responding to the EIR.

In compiling the response to the EIR which was complex in nature containing
9 separate questions several officers and sections of the city were
involved. Upon receipt your request was broken down into separate parts.

Responses to questions 2, 3, 4, and 7

A Lead officer working the Alexandra Park restoration was appointed to
draft the initial response to questions 2, 3, 4 and 7 as the knowledge was
held by this officer and not directly with the service. There was a delay
of several weeks due to the absence of the officer for reasons that were of
a personal nature.

The service was advised to apply a Public Interest Test to question 2 and 3
as the information requested was commercially sensitive. This took added
time to complete.

Response to question 1

To respond to question 1 it was necessary to consult the Senior Responsible
Officer to identify the wording of the note that was posted on site on the
date in question as several notes were posted over the course of the tree
felling.

Response to question 5

Clarification was sought from the Information Compliance team to determine
whether the request was to be considered under FOI or EIR. This added an
additional short delay. The service was advised to respond under the EIR
regulations and to apply a separate Public Interest Test when considering
the responses to question 5. This took added time to complete.

Response to question 6

Several project officers were consulted when considering the response to
question 6. This added to the time involved.

Response to questions 8 and 9

The service consulted the planning department to provide the background
information to enable the service to respond. This took a number of days.

In view of the forgoing, I have decided to uphold your complaint, as we
have failed to respond with the permitted time of twenty working days, for
which I apologise for any inconvenience caused by this delay.

If you remain dissatisfied following this internal review, you have a right
to apply to the Information Commissioner (IC) for a decision. The
Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

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

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

Yours sincerely,

Eamonn O'Rourke
Head of Community and Cultural Services

Research and Performance
Manchester City Council
PO Box 532, Town Hall
Manchester, M60 2LA

This communication may contain information which is confidential and may
also be privileged. It is for the exclusive use of the intended recipient.
If you are not the intended recipient, please do not read, print,
re-transmit, store or act in reliance on it or any attachments. If you have
received this communication in error, please notify me by email or by
telephone and then permanently delete the email and any copies of it.

It’s easier to request a service or report a problem online at
www.manchester.gov.uk/youraccount

Here are some of the benefits of registering your own account:

show quoted sections

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

show quoted sections