Dear Maidstone Borough Council,

Location information for the Council's Call for Sites (2019) scheme is now in the public domain. Please send me the following:

1. As much information and copies of ALL relevant plans, proposals, meetings, site visit(s) information with - where possible - dates, for the following sites:
a) LAND at CROSS AT HAND, (site 226)
b) LAND at MARDEN THORN (sites 318 AND 119); and

2. Where appropriate, the case officer or Council's written response, where for example there has been a pre-application meeting undertaken. Please send me details on all parties present, with dates if possible.

This request is made under the EIR as it involves the potential development of land, and I am not looking for commercially-sensitive information.

Yours faithfully,

David Windham

Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council

Date: 05/11/19
 
 
Dear David Windham
 
ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION REQUEST
 
Ref: EIR/935
 
Thank you for your request for environmental information. We will have a
response ready for you within 20 working days of the date you made your
request.
 
After considering your request, we may decide to refuse to supply the
information under a number of exemptions that exist in legislation. For
details of these exemptions, please visit the Information Commissioner’s
website:
[1]https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/gui...
 
If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me.  Please
remember to quote the reference above in any future communications.
 
Yours sincerely
 
FOI Team
Policy and Information Team
Maidstone Borough Council, Maidstone House, King Street, Maidstone, Kent
ME15 6JQ
t 01622 602640 w [2]www.maidstone.gov.uk
 
 

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Dear Complaints & FOI (MBC),

Just to update this with more information. MBC have already provided under the Call for Sites disclosure the following documents, so there is of course no need to send these again.

Site 318 (Pagehurst Farm a.k.a Eckley Farms)
- Submission-form-for-publication-1.pdf
- Pagehurst Farm.pdf

Site 226 (Land North of Staplehurst a.k.a Cross at Hand)
- Ecological Constraints and Opp Assessment.pdf
- Land North of Staplehurst - Supporting Statement.pdf
- MBC Call for Sites Proforma - Land North of Staplehurst.pdf
- Transport Statement.pdf

Site 119 (North of Thorn View)
- Site North of Thorn View Parrk Rd, Marden.pdf
Yours sincerely,

David Windham

Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council

Date: 22/11/2019

Ref:   EIR/935

 

Dear David Windham

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST

 

You wrote to us requesting information on our Call for Sites exercise.

 

Firstly, I can advise that we hold no information on meetings relating to
site 226 (Land at Cross At Hand) and sites 318 and 119 (Land at Marden
Thorn) because no meetings have taken place as yet. Additionally, we hold
no information relating to site visits at these sites. Regarding the
remainder of your request:

 

Information on all sites that were submitted under the scheme have been
published here:
[1]https://www.maidstone.gov.uk/home/primar....

 

Under Regulation 12(4)(d) of the Environmental Information Regulations, we
are not required to provide information that relates to material that is
still being completed, unfinished documents including drafts, or
incomplete data. We consider that documents relating to the analysis of
the submitted sites are incomplete documents because no decisions have
been taken on these sites, we are currently in the process of making these
decisions. Not all sites will be needed for the Local Plan Review and many
will be deemed unsuitable. Decisions around the content of the Local Plan
Review will be made by the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure
Committee. When final decisions have been made on the sites, reports will
be written and published in a Strategic Housing Land Availability
Assessment (SHLAA).

 

In considering the public interest test, we consider that the public
interest is greater to withhold the information than to disclose it. While
it is recognised that there is a public interest in transparency, this
must be balanced against the Council having the necessary safe space in
which to think and develop work in private without outside interference.
We consider that there is more public interest in withholding the
information until we are ready to publish information relating to the
approved sites in full. To respond to site-specific requests would require
unreasonable diversion and allocation of resources to those particular
sites, when we have not yet determined whether these sites will be
approved.

 

As many of the sites will be deemed unsuitable, publishing internal
documents relating to any of the sites at this stage could give the wrong
impression to residents that decisions have been taken before they
actually have. We want to avoid inadvertently encouraging residents to
comment on or complain about any sites that have not yet been decided, as
these sites may ultimately be refused. Therefore, we believe that there is
greater public interest for all residents of the Borough to withhold this
information until decisions have been made, at which point the information
will be complete and ready to be published in full.

 

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please
remember to quote the reference above in any future communications.

 

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your
request and wish to request a review of our decision, please respond to
this email and I will pass it on to Mid Kent Legal Services to conduct a
review. Please ensure you outline your reasons for requesting a review.

 

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

 

FOI Team

Policy and Information

Maidstone Borough Council, Maidstone House King Street, Maidstone, Kent
ME15 6JQ

t []01622 602640 w [2]www.maidstone.gov.uk

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References

Visible links
1. https://www.maidstone.gov.uk/home/primar...
2. http://www.maidstone.gov.uk/

Dear Complaints & FOI (MBC),

Thank you for your response, but I am now somewhat confused.

I asked for copies of "ALL relevant plans, proposals, meetings, site visit(s) information" for those two sites, but your reply above confirms that you do not hold that information, no meetings have happened, and/or the plans have been released under the Council's Call for Sites disclosures.

Which part of my EIR request have you therefore refused under 12(4)(d)? I was not asking for the Council's analysis of these sites or whether they may be suitable for further investigation or development, I was simply asking for copies of the correspondence that has been received.

Please will you clarify this point?

Yours sincerely,

David Windham

Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council

Dear David Windham
 
Thank you for your email, and I am very sorry about this. We misunderstood
your request; we thought you were seeking all documents relating to the
two sites, not just the plans and proposals.
 
I can again confirm that no meetings have been held and we hold no
information on site visits, and that the plans and proposals have been
published on our website. Please take this as our response to your
request.
 
I am very sorry for our mistake and any confusion this has caused.
 
Yours sincerely
 
FOI Team
Policy & Information Team
Maidstone Borough Council, King Street, Maidstone, Kent ME15 6JQ
e [1][email address] w [2]www.maidstone.gov.uk
 
 
 
 
 

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