Business Rates

Katy Stone made this Freedom of Information request to Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

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 successful.

Dear Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea,

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

(a) List all Commercial properties and their addresses with a
rateable value of £12,000 and greater and state whether the account
is live.
(b) The names and addresses of the Rate payers referred to above
for each property and their correspondence address (if different
from the property address)
(c) The billing authority reference for each property
(d) The current liability payable for the year 2013/14.
(e) The date the rateable occupier first became liable for the
business rates
(f) Please also state which hereditament is currently receiving
I. Charitable rate relief (mandatory rate relief)
II. Discretionary rate relief
III. Empty property rate relief
IV. Listed building exemption

Thanking you in advance.

Yours faithfully,

Katy Stone

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Dear Mr Gardener,

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REF: 2014-085

I am writing to confirm that we received your information request on 20th January 2014. For your information and future communications your request has been allocated the reference number FOI2014-085. Please quote this reference in any future correspondence.

We will consider your request and respond in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Our duty is to respond promptly or at least within 20 working days.

Yours sincerely

Information Protection Officer
Information Governance Team
Information Systems Division (ISD)
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Purple Zone, 1st Floor
The Town Hall, Hornton Street, London W8 7NX

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Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

1 Attachment

Dear Ms. Stone

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REF: 2014-085

 

I am responding to your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000,
which we received on 16 January 2014, for information held by the Council.
You requested:

 

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

 

(a) List all Commercial properties and their addresses with a rateable
value of £12,000 and greater and state whether the account is live.

(b) The names and addresses of the Rate payers referred to above for each
property and their correspondence address (if different from the property
address)

(c) The billing authority reference for each property

(d) The current liability payable for the year 2013/14.

(e) The date the rateable occupier first became liable for the business
rates

(f) Please also state which hereditament is currently receiving I.
Charitable rate relief (mandatory rate relief) II. Discretionary rate
relief III. Empty property rate relief IV. Listed building exemption

 

I confirm that we hold the information requested. Please see attached.

 

Please note that we do not release information on empty properties for the
reasons below.

 

The First Tier Tribunal has ruled in Voyias v Information Commissioner and
LB Camden (Case No. EA/2011/0007) that the public interest lies in
withholding the addresses of empty properties:

 

[1]http://www.informationtribunal.gov.uk/DB...

 

We have considered this decision and decided that we too will not release
the addresses of empty properties in the borough for the reasons below.

 

Under section 31(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act, we are permitted
to withhold information if disclosure would, or would be likely to
prejudice the prevention and detection of crime. We believe that the
disclosure of addresses of empty properties in the borough would likely
lead to squatting and other criminal activity in and/or around these
properties.

 

If a list of empty properties were to be disclosed then these properties
would become more vulnerable to potential squatters and other criminal
acts such as theft and vandalism.

 

Section 31 is a qualified exemption so the Act requires us to consider
whether the public interest in disclosure outweighs the public interest in
maintaining the exemption. We recognise that there is a significant public
interest in the disclosure of Council information in the interest of
transparency and accountability. Certainly the Council are accountable for
empty properties in the Borough and we understand that information may be
requested to help bring these properties back into use, which would be in
the financial and commercial interest of the public.

 

However, we believe that there is a strong argument in avoiding the likely
prejudice to the prevention of crime. It is in the public interest to
protect property and to avoid the considerable public expense that would
be incurred dealing with crime associated with empty properties.
Furthermore, we feel that public interest lies in preventing the distress
that is caused to victims of crime. Residents who live in close proximity
will also be affected by crime committed in the area and they will have a
reasonable expectation of feeling secure in their homes.

 

Although there is a strong public interest in bringing empty properties
back into use, our immediate concern is the protection of property and the
well being of residents. Therefore we have decided that the public
interest in avoiding prejudice to the prevention of crime outweighs the
public interest in disclosure.  

 

Complaints

 

I trust this has satisfied your request.  Should you be unhappy with the
handling of your request, the Council has an internal complaints process
for handling FOIA complaints. Complaints are reviewed by the Chief
Solicitor and Monitoring Officer or her nominee. A form is available from
our website to lodge your complaint
[2]http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/councilanddemocra...
Please contact us if you do not have website access and we can provide you
with a copy of the form. Following this review, should you still be
unhappy with how your information request has been handled, you have a
further right to appeal to the Information Commissioner who is responsible
for ensuring compliance with FOIA.  

 

Yours sincerely

 

Robin Yu

Information Protection Assistant

Information Governance Team

Information Systems Division (ISD)

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

The Town Hall, Hornton Street, London W8 7NX

Tel: 020 7938 8226

 

Web: [3]http://www.rbkc.gov.uk

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References

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1. http://www.informationtribunal.gov.uk/DB...
2. http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/councilanddemocra...
3. http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/