All applications for tree works to be decided under delegated powers.

The request was partially successful.

patricia stephenson

Dear Hastings Borough Council,
On which date did Hastings Borough Council alter their Constitution in order that, despite the number of objections logged, all requests for works to protected trees should be decided under Delegated powers and would no longer be decided under the auspices of the Planning Committee.

In the past it was custom and practice for any planning application receiving more than three objections to be heard by the Planning Committe.

Yours faithfully,

Patricia Stephenson.

Information Officer, Hastings Borough Council

Thank you for contacting us.
 
We aim to respond to requests for information within 20 working days, in
accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act. 
 
If your request is for personal information your request will be dealt
with according to the requirements of the Data Protection Act and the
timescale for response may be extended to 40 days.
 
The Freedom of Information area on our website, [1]www.hastings.gov.uk,
can be accessed via a 'Quick Hit' direct link from the site's home page
and contains advice about how to make a request for information.
 
Information about all our services, including contact details, location,
and links to information published by services on the site, is available
in the A to Z of Services area which can also be accessed via a 'Quick
Hit' direct link from the site's home page.
 
 
Information Officer
Hastings Borough Council
01424 451066
[2]www.hastings.gov.uk
 
 
 
 

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Freedom of Information, Hastings Borough Council

Reference: FOI-56074154
NEW FOI REQUEST
Dear Colleague

A new FOI request has been made. Details are as follows:

Name:Mrs. Patricia Stephenson

Subject: Tree Works

Details: On which date did Hastings Borough Council alter their
Constitution in order that, despite the number of objections logged, all
requests for works to protected trees should be decided under Delegated
powers and would no longer be decided under the auspices of the Planning
Committee.

In the past it was custom and practice for any planning application
receiving more than three objections to be heard by the Planning Committe.

Access the task at:

 [1]hastings-dash.achieveservice.com

 *******This is an automated email. Please do not reply

show quoted sections

patricia stephenson

Dear Hastings Borough Council,
Reference my FOI request of 17 July 2017 I note you have not responded. Would you please confirm you are investigating my request without delay.
Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

patricia stephenson

Information Officer, Hastings Borough Council

Thank you for contacting us.
 
We aim to respond to requests for information within 20 working days, in
accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act. 
 
If your request is for personal information your request will be dealt
with according to the requirements of the Data Protection Act and the
timescale for response may be extended to 40 days.
 
The Freedom of Information area on our website, [1]www.hastings.gov.uk,
can be accessed via a 'Quick Hit' direct link from the site's home page
and contains advice about how to make a request for information.
 
Information about all our services, including contact details, location,
and links to information published by services on the site, is available
in the A to Z of Services area which can also be accessed via a 'Quick
Hit' direct link from the site's home page.
 
 
Information Officer
Hastings Borough Council
01424 451066
[2]www.hastings.gov.uk
 
 
 
 

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Information Officer, Hastings Borough Council

Dear Mrs Stephenson

I refer to your email sent earlier today.

Please accept my apologies for the slight delay in responding to your Freedom of Information request ref: FOI219779.

I can confirm your request has been logged and is currently being processed, I have chased the department concerned and will respond as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely

Lisa Greathead
Information Officer

Information Officer, Hastings Borough Council

01 Sep 2017
Our Reference: FOI219779
Mrs. Stephenson The Information Officer
Hastings Borough Council
Address Not Supplied Aqulia House
Breeds Place
Hastings
TN34 3UY
Dear Mrs. Stephenson

I refer to your recent request for information from this Authority regarding Tree Works .  Our response is
detailed below:

I trust we have interpreted your request correctly, and this is the information you required.

You have a right to make a complaint to us if you are not happy with any aspect of the way we have handled
your request for information.
Please contact me in writing with details of any complaint you wish to make. I will then arrange for your
complaint to be dealt with through our usual internal complaints process.
If you are then still unhappy you may complain to the Information Commissioner who will decide whether the
request has been handled properly.
Please note that the Information Commissioner cannot generally make a decision unless our complaints
process has first been exhausted.

The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
The Information Commissioners' Officer,
Wycliffe House,
Water Lane,
Wilmslow,
Cheshire
SK9 AF.

Yours sincerely,

Lisa Greathead
Information Officer
Aquila House
Breeds Place
Hastings
TN34 3UY
01424 451066

E Mail: [Hastings Borough Council request email]

Subject: Tree Works

Details of Request:

On which date did Hastings Borough Council alter their Constitution in order that, despite the number of
objections logged,  all requests for works to protected trees should be decided under Delegated powers and
would no longer  be decided under the auspices of the Planning Committee.

 

In the past it was custom and practice for any planning application receiving more than three objections 
to be heard by the Planning Committe.

Response:
Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding.

The Chief Legal Officer has advised that this matter has always been delegated to officers (contained in
part 8 of the council's constitution, standing instructions to officers).

The current tree preservation regulations came into effect in 2012, a delegation is included in the
council's constitution at this time to the Head of Housing and Planning Services for "all consents under
the Tree Preservation Order Regulations" at:
http://hastings.moderngov.co.uk/CeListDo...
The latest amendments to the constitution were agreed by Full council at its meeting on 26 July 2017
http://hastings.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDo...

End of Request

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patricia stephenson

Dear Information Officer,
You state in your response that this matter has always been delegated to officers. This cannot be the case because in the recent past if an application for works to trees which carried TPO status received more than three objections this application was presented for discussion to the Planning Committee with public attendance permitted.
Therefore I am not at all sure I understand your response.

Yours sincerely,

patricia stephenson

Information Officer, Hastings Borough Council

Thank you for contacting us.
 
We aim to respond to requests for information within 20 working days, in
accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act. 
 
If your request is for personal information your request will be dealt
with according to the requirements of the Data Protection Act and the
timescale for response may be extended to 40 days.
 
The Freedom of Information area on our website, [1]www.hastings.gov.uk,
can be accessed via a 'Quick Hit' direct link from the site's home page
and contains advice about how to make a request for information.
 
Information about all our services, including contact details, location,
and links to information published by services on the site, is available
in the A to Z of Services area which can also be accessed via a 'Quick
Hit' direct link from the site's home page.
 
 
Information Officer
Hastings Borough Council
01424 451066
[2]www.hastings.gov.uk
 
 
 
 

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Information Officer, Hastings Borough Council

Dear Mrs Stephenson

I refer to your email dated 5 September 2017, please see below our response:

Part 8 of the Council's Constitution contains the Standing Instructions to Authorised Officers. Works to protected trees are provided in Part 3b: Assistant Director Housing and Built Environment para 49 'All consents under the Tree Preservation Order Regulations'. Historically these applications should all have been delegated to Officers given their technical appraisal, however some applications with objections had been considered by the Planning Committee and not under delegated authority. This discrepancy has been corrected in the recent amendments to the Council's Constitution which went to Full Council on 26th July 2017. The Constitution now states that "For the avoidance of doubt the following applications in paragraphs 46 to 56 (inclusive) are delegated to be determined by Authorised Officers under delegated authority and unless expressly specified will not be determined by the Planning Committee unless submitted by, or on behalf of, a serving elected Member or officer of the Council where the officer is employed in a politically restricted post and/or within the Council’s planning service in accordance with paragraph 44(e) above. Therefore all applications for works to preserved trees will be determined by Officers under delegated authority unless the application is submitted by a serving elected Member or specified officer of the Council.

I attach a link to the Full Council report setting out the Constitutional changes for your information. http://hastings.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDo...

Yours sincerely

Lisa Greathead
Information Officer

patricia stephenson

Dear Information Officer,
I remain dissatisfied with your response for the following reasons: You say 'historically these applications all should have been delegated to officers but this 'discrepancy' has been 'corrected' in recent amendments to the HBC Constitution. It is incredible that such a 'discrepancy' was permitted to continue unchecked for so many years.
The reason the previous planning applications for TPO tree works went to committee was because they met the criteria in paragraph 44 of the HBC Constitution because the applications for works to TPO trees are a VARIATION to a Condition ATTACHED to a planning approval which was previously in Section 43 of the Constitution. These applications were not determined incorrectly as has been stated by officer Eleanor Evans. The Council's own guidelines for applications of this type state they will be determined by our Planning Committee if they meet the correct criteria.
We have an unacceptable situation now whereby no matter the number of objections presented to the planning department, all TPO tree applications will be decided 'in house' by the delegated route.
The statement from HBC that these cases 'have to be decided under delegated powers' is incorrect and misleading. The Constitution retains some flexibility and there is indeed scope for ANY case with enough concern to be presented to the Planning Committee.
In fact, paragraph 2 of the Planning protocol (the Appendix to Part 5) is also revealed:
"...this Protocol seeks to ensure openness, transparency, fairness and consistency in planning decisions and to ensure that the planning process operates properly, legally and effectively. Planning decisions should be made openly, impartially with sound judgement and for justifiable reasons. The process should leave no grounds for suggesting that a decision has been partial, biased or not well-founded in any way".
The newly imposed system needs serious investigation as local residents are being denied the democratic right to have their voices heard when contentious planning applications are presented. This is an unacceptable situation.

Yours sincerely,

patricia stephenson

Information Officer, Hastings Borough Council

Thank you for contacting us.
 
We aim to respond to requests for information within 20 working days, in
accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act. 
 
If your request is for personal information your request will be dealt
with according to the requirements of the Data Protection Act and the
timescale for response may be extended to 40 days.
 
The Freedom of Information area on our website, [1]www.hastings.gov.uk,
can be accessed via a 'Quick Hit' direct link from the site's home page
and contains advice about how to make a request for information.
 
Information about all our services, including contact details, location,
and links to information published by services on the site, is available
in the A to Z of Services area which can also be accessed via a 'Quick
Hit' direct link from the site's home page.
 
 
Information Officer
Hastings Borough Council
01424 451066
[2]www.hastings.gov.uk
 
 
 
 

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Information Officer, Hastings Borough Council

Dear Mrs Stephenson

I refer to your email dated 8 September 2017, please accept my apologies for the delay in responding.

It is the duty of the Monitoring Officer to keep the Council's Constitution up to date. The changes to the Council's Constitution were agreed by all 32 members at Full Council on 26th July 2017. The changes made to the Constitution in respect of TPO's were for clarification. Historically all applications should be delegated to Officers given their technical nature, however some had been referred to Planning Committee. This was a matter of interpretation by the previous Planning Services Manager who as the person capable of making those decisions chose to let the Planning Committee decide. Whilst I previously used the term discrepancy it is simply a clarification for the avoidance of doubt and consistency of decision making. In June 2016 the Local Government Ombudsman considered a complaint regarding this issue where the Council and a member of the public disagreed on the interpretation of the Council's Constitution in which the Ombudsman's final decision was that he would not investigate the complaint and that further consideration of the complaint was unlikely to find fault by the Council or of an injustice to the complainant.

All applications for works to preserved trees will now be determined by Officers under delegated authority UNLESS the application is submitted by a serving elected Member or specified officer of the Council. These types of applications are technical in nature which is why they are delegated to Officers and not to be decided by members who do not have the required technical knowledge and experience in order to determine these applications. If all such applications were determined by the Planning Committee it would clog up the planning system and interfere with the democratic process. The reason we have decisions that can be delegated is so that we can run the Council efficiently and less bureaucratically. You state that local residents are being denied the democratic right to have their voices heard when contentious planning applications are presented. This is not correct as residents can submit representations to the Planning Department which are considered when determining the application. This has not changed.

Yours sincerely

Lisa Greathead
Information Officer

patricia stephenson

Dear Information Officer, I remain dissatisfied with this response.
There are issues which have not been explained. If an application for works to trees which have TPO status is no longer referred to the planning committee, how is it possible for residents to log their objections. They would not be aware of such proposals.

Yours sincerely,

patricia stephenson

Information Officer, Hastings Borough Council

Thank you for contacting us.
 
We aim to respond to requests for information within 20 working days, in
accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act. 
 
If your request is for personal information your request will be dealt
with according to the requirements of the Data Protection Act and the
timescale for response may be extended to 40 days.
 
The Freedom of Information area on our website, [1]www.hastings.gov.uk,
can be accessed via a 'Quick Hit' direct link from the site's home page
and contains advice about how to make a request for information.
 
Information about all our services, including contact details, location,
and links to information published by services on the site, is available
in the A to Z of Services area which can also be accessed via a 'Quick
Hit' direct link from the site's home page.
 
 
Information Officer
Hastings Borough Council
01424 451066
[2]www.hastings.gov.uk
 
 
 
 

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Information Officer, Hastings Borough Council

Dear Mrs Stephenson

I refer to your email dated 6 October 2017, our response is as follows:

Works to trees are advertised by a site notice which allows residents to submit representations to the Planning Department which are considered when determining the application. This ensures that local residents have the opportunity to have their voices heard when planning applications are presented. Decisions which are delegated to officers are still subject to the same decision making process as those which are made by the Planning Committee having proper regard to planning law and policy. Such decisions are made in writing.

Yours sincerely

Lisa Greathead
Information Officer

patricia stephenson

Dear Information Officer, This may be your modus operandii but it won't work for people who are concerned about the loss of trees in this Borough if they do not live beside the site where said trees are to have works carried out. They would not be aware of any site notice.
I remain dissatisfied with the outcome of my request but it is clearly a fruitless excercise to continue with my request and I remain of the opinion that any works proposed on trees which carry a Tree Preservation Order should be decided with the involvement of the Planning Committee as previously was the case.

Yours sincerely,

patricia stephenson

Information Officer, Hastings Borough Council

Thank you for contacting us.
 
We aim to respond to requests for information within 20 working days, in
accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act. 
 
If your request is for personal information your request will be dealt
with according to the requirements of the Data Protection Act and the
timescale for response may be extended to 40 days.
 
The Freedom of Information area on our website, [1]www.hastings.gov.uk,
can be accessed via a 'Quick Hit' direct link from the site's home page
and contains advice about how to make a request for information.
 
Information about all our services, including contact details, location,
and links to information published by services on the site, is available
in the A to Z of Services area which can also be accessed via a 'Quick
Hit' direct link from the site's home page.
 
 
Information Officer
Hastings Borough Council
01424 451066
[2]www.hastings.gov.uk
 
 
 
 

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