Alleged 24-hour public lighting scheme at Hamilton Square Conservation area

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

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

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

Using information you possess, please provide evidence to show that there is a scheme currently in operation which has been installed and arranged and designed to provide constant 24-hour lighting, even in the hours of daylight to a public lighting installation comprising lighting columns, ornate lanterns and multi-coloured floodlights in situ at Hamilton Square Conservation area, Birkenhead.

If you don't possess this specific information, please provide evidence to show the same requested details for a scheme in the same location that is not providing constant 24-hour lighting, even in the hours of daylight.

Please provide a table indicating lighting column and floodlight numbers, their positions in relation to property numbers, and state the intended hours of operation of each lighting position in accordance with the alleged scheme.

Please also confirm that public servant Councillor Jean Stapleton was involved in this scheme and - should these lights be intentionally switched on during the day - was in fact the brains behind this harebrained, wasteful idea - a concept which I have never come across in my nigh-on 59 years on this planet Earth, 13 of which I spent as a professional lighting design engineer for two adjacent Northwest councils including yours,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

T Harrison left an annotation ()

Not to mention the lack of planning permission for the installation of said lights in the conservation area

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

You have not responded within the timescale.

Please ask a senior person to carry out an internal review of this FOI request,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Cardin

 

We write further to your Freedom of Information request regarding lighting
at Hamilton Square.  Please accept our apologies for the delay in
responding to your enquiry.

 

We can confirm that there is a fault with the floodlighting attached to
the buildings on the side of Hamilton Square opposite Birkenhead Town
Hall.  This fault has resulted in the lights being on during the day and
night.

 

The next phase of the LED lighting replacement contract is due to start
before the end of this year and these lights will be replaced during the
length of that contract.  There are no other lights on 24 hours a day in
the square.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Lynette Paterson

Principal Information Management Officer

Business Management

 

Treasury Building

Argyle Street
Birkenhead
Wirral
CH41 1AH

 

[1]Tel: 0151 691 8201

[2][Wirral Borough Council request email]

 

 

[3]LGC Awards15_Winner_MIP

 

 

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

In my opinion, you wouldn't leave a "fault" to stand, untouched, allowing the burning of several floodlights for 24 hours a day and permit this wastage to endure for what appears to be many, many months. Huge amounts of money will have been wasted by now and the lifetime of the equipment will have been shortened.

If you were doing your job properly you would get your BAM Nuttall outsourced contractor to fix it pronto by issuing a job request.

You also wouldn't say "Oh, we'll leave it until the end of the year when we're due to change the lanterns." I don't know how these lights are fed and controlled but as a former exterior lighting engineer, I can do a bit of armchair diagnosis. One thing's for sure: changing the lanterns will not eradicate the fault, which (if it exists) will be at a switching / control point somewhere remote from the floodlights themselves.

If this is the case, which seems highly likely - unless we're being spun a yarn - the photo-cell will have switched to open circuit when it failed, turning all the equipment ON. Such a fault could have been resolved very, very quickly by changing the photocell.

A spark would explore, fault-find and get the thing resolved quickly and cheaply, and NOT leave the lights to burn and burn for months, and great gobbets of our council tax to go up in smoke.

I suspect we're being lied to now because they've been found out, and Councillor Stapleton has indeed decreed that they're switched on during the day. I just can't get at the information to prove this.

Whatever the truth is here, we have a choice: they're a. lying or b. staggeringly incompetent.

I'd suggest both.

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

1. You have not made it clear that your response received on 21st September 2018 was a reply to my original FOI request.

2. You have not made it clear that your response received on 21st September 2018 was a reply to my subsequent request for an internal review.

3. Notwithstanding, you have failed to respond to my request in accordance with the FOI Act, and in particular the part which stated:

"...please provide evidence to show the same requested details for a scheme in the same location that is not providing constant 24-hour lighting, even in the hours of daylight."

This is assuming the scheme has NOT been designed to provide 24-hour lighting. I have received nothing which addresses this request.

4. Neither have you quoted an exemption within the Act to support any witholding of the requested information.

5. In accordance with the Act, my subsequent request for an internal review by a senior person still stands.

I expect to hear from you ASAP,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

In addition to your late response and your failure to conduct an internal interview, you have now not responded to my prompting message sent over a week ago.

To show good faith I will allow you another week to respond, however should you not respond and provide the requested information or justify your refusal with the appropriate exemption I will be forced to turn to the ICO for assistance,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Corrin, Jane, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr. Cardin,

I write further to your emails  of 21 September and 3 October 2018. 
Please accept my apologies for any confusion with regards to your enquiry
and our responses. 

 

I can confirm that the Council's response to your FOI request was
unfortunately not provided within the statutory timeframe and as such, you
exercised your right to request an internal review.  However, in
situations where no response has been received, the only realistic outcome
of an internal review is to answer the original request.  For this reason
a late response was issued on 21 September 2018, maintaining your right to
seek an internal review of the actual information disclosed.

As you have now expressed dissatisfaction with the information provided in
the reply of 21 September 2018 and the Council’s overall handling of your
enquiry, please take the contents of this email as our internal review
response. 

 

I have reviewed the exchange of emails and given full consideration to the
guidance and legislation in force.  As part of my review and to ensure
that all of your points are fully addressed, I have dealt with each issue
in turn:-

 

1. “You have not made it clear that your response received on 21st
September 2018 was a reply to my original FOI request.”

The Council’s response of 21 September 2018 was a reply to your original
FOI request of 6 August 2018.

 

2. “You have not made it clear that your response received on 21st
September 2018 was a reply to my subsequent request for an internal
review.”

The Council’s response of 21 September 2018 was not a reply to your
request for an internal review.  It was a response to your original FOI
request.  This email is the Council’s response to your request for an
internal review.

 

3. “Notwithstanding, you have failed to respond to my request in
accordance with the FOI Act, and in particular the part which stated:

"...please provide evidence to show the same requested details for a
scheme in the same location that is not providing constant 24-hour
lighting, even in the hours of daylight."

The Council holds no recorded information in this regard.  The lighting
installations are controlled by photocells that automatically switch on at
dusk and switch off at dawn. As previously advised, there is a lighting
fault. There is no specific lighting scheme documentation to disclose.

 

4. “Neither have you quoted an exemption within the Act to support any
witholding of the requested information.”

The Council does not seek to rely upon any exemptions. There is no
recorded information to disclose with regards to any alleged 24 hour
lighting scheme, as no such scheme exists.  None of the lighting
installations in or around Hamilton Square are intended to be lit 24 hours
per day.

 

5. In accordance with the Act, my subsequent request for an internal
review by a senior person still stands.

This email constitutes my response to your request for an internal review.

 

Having reviewed all of the correspondence to date and sought the advice
and input of the relevant service areas, I am satisfied that the flood
lighting on the westerly side of Hamilton Square is currently on during
the day due to a fault with the functionality of the photocells.  None of
the lighting installations in or around Hamilton Square are intended to be
lit continuously and as such, there is no recorded information to be
disclosed.  I understand that the fault will be rectified during the roll
out of Phase 2 of the LED lighting programme which is due to start early
in 2019.

If you remain dissatisfied with this internal review response you have the
right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office at
[1]https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/

 

Yours sincerely

 

Jane Corrin

Data Protection Officer

Business Management

Wirral Council

 

[2][email address

 

Visit our website: [3]www.wirral.gov.uk

 

 

From: Paul Cardin [[4]mailto:[FOI #507440 email]]

Sent: 03 October 2018 07:08

To: InfoMgr, FinDMT

Subject: Re: FOI 1339781

 

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

In addition to your late response and your failure to conduct an internal
interview, you have now not responded to my prompting message sent over a
week ago.

To show good faith I will allow you another week to respond, however
should you not respond and provide the requested information or justify
your refusal with the appropriate exemption I will be forced to turn to
the ICO for assistance,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended
solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.
If you have received this email in error please notify the system manager.

References

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2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.wirral.gov.uk/
4. mailto:[FOI #507440 email]