Dear Cotswold District Council,

I have reviewed your recently published CDC planning policy, in which you note that the aims of the National Trusts 'Big Nature, Big Access prospectus are supported (EN 18 - The Sherborne Park Estate Masterplan). In your report it is noted that this prospectus has been provided to you. This is not a publicly accessible document, nor is the analysis undertaken by yourselves publicly available, yet this forms the basis of your support for a private landowner's redevelopment proposal. Accordingly I am seeking the following information:

- a copy of the Big Nature, Big Access prospectus provided to you
- any correspondence from the National Trust, its agents or employees, or to the National Trust, its agents or employees, regarding this prospectus or plans at their Sherborne Park Estate
- any internal memos, minutes of meetings, or transcripts of phone conversations, whether amongst CDC employees or with the National Trust or its employees agents regarding the National Trust's Big Nature, Big Access plan, or the evaluation thereof
- any internal analysis completed by CDC or by 3rd parties on the Big Nature, Big Access proposal

Yours faithfully,

Bruce Fletcher

Cotswold DC Customer Services, Cotswold District Council

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FOI Requests,

1 Attachment

Further to your request, please find a response attached.

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your
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If you are not content with the outcome of your review, you may apply
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Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

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Freedom of Information 

Cotswold District Council

 

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Dear Cotswold District Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Cotswold District Council's handling of my FOI request 'Background Information to DCD Planning Policy Draft'.

I find the decision illogical and the denial harmful to the public interest, and raise the following for your consideration:

- I fail to see how the National Trust provided this information to you in confidence. They have maintained that they have engaged the community and provided them information on this topic
- I disagree that the exemption you quote (ie information that they provided to you in confidence) applies to your own internal analysis. In EN18 you have used the word 'endorsed' in describing their plan. I believe that your own internal analysis is critical to understand the processes, methodologies and basis for your endorsement of EN18.
- Regarding the Breach of Confidence Test that you cite as a justification, I believe that the logic to rely on at least two of the elements are questionable. One element states that 'the information must have been imparted in circumstances importing an obligation of confidence. How can you claim this when you are petitioned by a private landowner to incorporate their development plan into your own consultation; they certainly would have expected that this would be available to the public. Are you asserting that the National Trust asked you to keep this information confidential? Regarding the element that 'unauthorised use' would be to the detriment of the confider, what possible harm would come to them by disclosing plans that they have claimed to you the public was already aware of?
- Regarding the public interest test, the two considerations you cite in favour of a public release of information are extremely powerful, outweigh any other considerations, and should be the basis to override any other elements on which you relied on to deny this request. There is now significant public skepticism on EN18 exactly because there have been secret dealings and lobbying from the National Trust with the Cotswold District Counsel and your employees and agents. This has created a public perception of insider dealing, poor transparency, faulty analysis, and distrust. There clearly is a strong 'public interest in transparency and accountability.'
- Your second consideration in the Public Interest Test should be paramount in overturning this denial: 'releasing has the potential to further the public's understanding of decisions made by the Authority and the methodologies employed.

In concluding, I believe that the release of this information is of utmost public importance, that it will restore the damaged public trust in the Cotswold District Counsel, and the methodologies they deploy, and that the principle of transparency in matters such as this must be respected. This is exactly the underlying intent in the creation of the Freedom of Information regulations.

Regards and thanks

Bruce Fletcher

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

Yours faithfully,

Bruce Fletcher

Cotswold DC Customer Services, Cotswold District Council

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if required.

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[2]www.cotswold.gov.uk

Kind regards
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Trinity Road
Cirencester Date: 07/03/2024
Gloucestershire
GL7 1PX [4]Privacy notice

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Customer_Services_CDC, Cotswold District Council

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Thank you for contacting us.

Your reference number is 01638306.

Thank you for your FOI request.

This has been forwarded to the FOI Team.

Please note if your FOI request is received on a weekend or any
England/Wales/Scotland Bank Holidays your 20 day response time starts on
the next working day.

If you have not received a response back by the allotted time, please
email

[2][email address].
 

 

 

Kind regards
Customer Services

How do you rate your overall experience of the service delivered by
Cotswold District Council?

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Cotswold District Council Date:7/3/2024
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FOI Requests,

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Fletcher,

Further to your email .A review of the way your request was handled has
been conducted by the Council’s Business Continuity, Governance and Risk
manager, as you were unhappy with the response you received. Please find
the response attached.

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally the ICO
cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints procedure
provided by the Council. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely

Freedom of Information Team

[1][email address]

 

Publica is a company wholly owned by Cotswold District Council, Forest of
Dean District Council, West Oxfordshire District Council and Cheltenham
Borough Council to deliver local services on their behalf.

The content of this email and any related emails do not constitute a
legally binding agreement and we do not accept service of court
proceedings or any other formal notices by email unless specifically
agreed by us in writing.

Recipients should be aware that all e-mails and attachments sent and
received by Publica on behalf of West Oxfordshire, Cotswold and/or Forest
of Dean District Council may be accessible to others in the Council for
business or litigation purposes, and/or disclosed to a third party under
the Freedom of Information or Data Protection Legislation.

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