Dear North Somerset Council,
At a meeting held on Wednesday 16th September 2020, North Somerset Planning & Regulatory Committee approved, subject to the view of the Secretary of State, Application 20/P/0605/R3 to build an extension to Baytree School on land adjacent to Brookfield walk, Clevedon.

The land in question is Green Belt land and whilst informing the Committe Roger Wilmott Delevelopment Mangaer clearly stated;-
“............. taking the balance of the overall decisions, we didn't feel that the loss of this particular piece of land to the proposed use would have a significant effect locally in that respect...................... in the greenbelt is not directly a public open space issue. ................ why we felt that this particular portion of the greenbelt land, perhaps has less somewhat less value than other parts in terms of fulfilling the functions of the green belt designation.”

Please provide the documentary evidence on which your officer based his statement “ this particular portion of the green belt land has somewhat less value than other parts”. Please note I require factual evidence not explanation or reason

Kindly reply to this web site

Yours faithfully,

R Tozer

North Somerset Council

Information request
Our reference: 3038724

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NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.
Dear R Tozer
 
Environmental Information Regulations 2004
 
Thank you for your three requests regarding 'Planning applications linked
to Brookfield Walk', made under the Environmental Information Regulations
2004.  As these requests are all of a linekd subject, we have merged them
into a single request.
 
Your request has been allocated reference 3038724 and we will respond by
the 20th working day, which is on 15 October 2020.  Please quote this
reference in any correspondence with us relating to this matter.
 
Full request has been recorded as follows:
 
1. On Wednesday 19 August 2020, the Planning & Regulatory Committee agreed
that permission be REFUSED on Application Town & Village Green Baytree
School, Brookfield Walk Clevedon. This FOI request asks for information
(as defined section 84 of the FOI Act) leading up to the production of
those reports and including any reports/finding found that were not
considered to be carried forward for formal publication. EG on 16/09/2020
a councillor mentioned a National Trust property has some formal say on
close land to the Application site, yet this is not referred in any
reports documented on your web pages. This paragraph is given only an
example not as a sole aspect.

Further, I require any information, but not limited to, documents,
pre-planning notes, site meeting notes, emails, internal correspondence,
telephone call notes, dates of any interaction with external bodies,
committee notes, officers correspondence, general correspondence,
analysis, issues raised/dismissed, briefing opinion; which may have .lead
to the 'formal' planning application and consequent REFUSAL relating to -
Town & Village Green Application Baytree School, Brookfield Walk Clevedon

2. On Wednesday 16 Sept, the Planning & Regulatory Committee agreed that
Planning permission be APPROVED on Planning Application 20/P/0605/R3
Baytree School, Brookfield Walk Clevedon - subject to Secretary of State
intervention and agreement. This FOI request asks for information (as
defined section 84 of the FOI Act) leading up to the production of those
reports and including any reports/finding found that were not considered
to be carried forward for formal publication. EG a councillor mentioned a
National Trust property has some formal say on close land to the
Application site, yet this is not referred in any reports documented on
your web pages. This paragraph is given only an example not as a sole
aspect.

I require any information, but not limited to, documents, pre-planning
notes, site meeting notes, emails, internal correspondence, memorandums,
telephone call notes, dates of any interaction with external bodies,
committee notes, officers correspondence, general correspondence,
definitive/subjective analysis, issues raised/dismissed, briefing opinion;
which may have .lead to the 'formal' planning application and consequent
approval relating to - Application 20/P/0605/R3 Baytree School, Brookfield
Walk Clevedon

3. At a meeting held on Wednesday 16th September 2020, North Somerset
Planning & Regulatory Committee approved, subject to the view of the
Secretary of State, Application 20/P/0605/R3 to build an extension to
Baytree School on land adjacent to Brookfield walk, Clevedon. The land in
question is Green Belt land and whilst informing the Committe Roger
Wilmott Delevelopment Mangaer clearly stated;-

'............. taking the balance of the overall decisions, we didn't feel
that the loss of this particular piece of land to the proposed use would
have a significant effect locally in that respect...................... in
the greenbelt is not directly a public open space issue. ................
why we felt that this particular portion of the greenbelt land, perhaps
has less somewhat less value than other parts in terms of fulfilling the
functions of the green belt designation.'

Please provide the documentary evidence on which your officer based his
statement ' this particular portion of the green belt land has somewhat
less value than other parts'. Please note I require factual evidence not
explanation or reason
 
Please note: in light of the current situation, while every effort will be
made to provide you with a response within the legal timeframes, we will
not ask officers to prioritise this request over essential Covid-19
response duties.  We appreciate your understanding in this matter.
 
If you wish to know how we will use your personal data, please read our
privacy notices available at
https://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/privacy-co...
 
Many thanks
 
Lynsey Wilson
Information Governance Manager
North Somerset Council
Tel: 01275 885117
Email: [email address]
Web: [1]www.n-somerset.gov.uk

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/www.n-somerset.gov.uk

Dear North Somerset Council,

For clarification;-
After reading through this request I can see that I was not clear in my final paragraph and for the avoidance of any doubt please accept this extension to that paragraph.
“Please note I require factual evidence, not explanation or reason” ..................pertaining to any specific or particular green belt land. I am seeking factual Council evidence by way of protocols, policies, procedure, formulas, even algorithms for any green belt land within the NSC boundary in determining its ‘value’ as per my original request.
I therefore continue to object to your suggestion that this FOI be linked to any others.

Yours sincerely,

R Tozer

Dear North Somerset Council,

I'm informed by "What do they know" that NSC should have responded by 16th October 2020.
Please advise.

Yours sincerely,

R Tozer

North Somerset Council

Dear R Tozer,
 
I am sorry for any confusion we may have caused in our previous
correspondence.
 
We contacted you on 14 October to let you know that due to the number of
records held in relation to your request we would need more time to
respond. We confirmed that our response date would be extended to 12
November 2020 which we are able to do under Environmental Information
Regulations and this is still the case.
 
Kind regards, Victoria
 
 

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[disclaimer]

Dear North Somerset Council,

I'm informed by "What do they know" that NSC should have responded by 16th
October 2020.

Please advise.

Yours sincerely,

R Tozer

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Dear North Somerset Council,

Please note this FOI is long overdue an approach to the ICO for advice will soon need to be considered.
Thank you

Yours sincerely,

R Tozer

Dear North Somerset Council,

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

I request an IR as I disagree with your interpretation of my request and it is also long overdue
You have not considered the scope of this request nor have you engaged the relevant section of the FOI Act
Your interpretation is likely to lead to confusion, a loss of focus, lost of structure and a possible lack in candour
My questions are framed to be focused in their purpose and in accordance with the regulations, are purpose-blind

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

Yours faithfully,

R Tozer

North Somerset Council

1 Attachment

Dear R Tozer,
 
Please find attached our response to your request for information. Please
also accept my apologies for the delay in our response.
 
Kind regards,
 
Victoria

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[disclaimer]

Dear North Somerset Council,

Please note this FOI is long overdue an approach to the ICO for advice
will soon need to be considered.

Thank you

Yours sincerely,

R Tozer

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Dear North Somerset Council,

Request for an Internal Review (IR) based on your response to a Freedom of Information Request (FOI) .

I refer to your response letter dated 20th November 2020. - Environmental Information Regulations 2004

Please pass this note to a senior officer who has not participated in any way previously, to conduct this Internal Review. I understand as public servant, the ICO calls on the Authority to give advice and assistance to the Requester. (Regulation 9). I am very keen to prevent confusion, to ensure focus and obtain factual information. Something that started as complex has now become extremely complicated due entirely to NSC handling & their insistence in consolidating many requests into one

NSC have added to the confusion, lost focus in linking three FOI into one, ignored Guidance Note Section (14.2 )and ignored other ICO advice and by so doing is preventing open & transparent information gathering.

The three original Requests merged into one are;-

A Town Village Green Application 18th September 2020 https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/t...

B Planning Approval – Brookfield Walk 18th September 2020 https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/p...

C Comment – Planning Committee Meet 16th September 2020 3038724 18th September 2020 https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

Linking of Requests

Despite my endeavours asking for you to provide specific explanation for your linking of A, B & C, I am not content namely;-
• I fully acknowledged the remarks made by the Information Governance Manager on 19th November,
• The particular phrase “I stress again, and for the last time” sounds rather like a parent scolding a spoilt child. I will therefore categorically confirm that I have no wish, at any time, to interrupt the duties of anyone within NSC as regards the pandemic. I also have no control on the computer or other systems within NSC or the operation of FOI matters. I find it quite distressing and patronising for it to be suggested otherwise. Merging of requests/responses does not assist me as will become evident throughout this note. Secondly I also note the expression “as I've already explained twice” which tends to suggest that requests are not being dealt with on an ‘applicant blind’ approach. I would be grateful for an explanation
• In the formal letter 20th November you give no reasons nor the Regulation number engaged (which allows NSC to combine Requests) in the manner you describe.
• You have given no reasons for the suggestions of your comment ‘wide-ranging questions’. The Request only becomes wide-ranging when Requests/Responses become merged. I have, at no time, been asked to review my Requests and make them less wide-ranging.
• I’m quite sure that if someone reads your letter they might conclude that there are at least 800+ records dealing with just Question C. Likewise just how many records are you estimating are available to answer Question A? Two further examples how NSC have manipulated the situation to create confusion.
• It is beyond anyone’s comprehension in how the TVG application has to do anything with Baytree or with educational establishments in general. How has this assumption been arrived at?
• NSC have had to be prompted by me to give the Regulation by which they have linked requests. NSC then acknowledged https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio... This link brings me to “Requests where the cost of compliance exceeds the appropriate limit (Freedom of Information Act) and you further confirm that paragraph is relevant in merging Requests. You specifically direct me to Sections 41 - 43 as being relevant in this matter.
• I asked NSC why https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio... and in particular paragraphs 9 – 18.was not being engaged.
• Contained within the document is an important Section NSC have not given any reason that paragraph 41 – 43 (dealing with costs) has any given priority over paragraph 9 – 18 (dealing with repeat requests) despite my request for clarification.
• Further, NSC gave the explanation to why they are not engaging 14.2 in the form of a long misleading paragraph suggesting “refused requests being considered as vexatious” and yet when I asked for further explanation NSC ignored my inquiry and again added to my confusion.
• Convention dictates that early sections within documents are read before the next, in a logical order and not cherry picked to meet an argument. It is therefore necessary to ask for clarification yet again, in why your approach has greater priority than the way forward as I am suggesting.
• NSC gave no idea of any issues with costing (either being outside the appropriate(FOIA) limit or manifestly unreasonable (EIR)) at the point of their first note (18th September) when indicating consolidation.
• Whilst I understand there are no limits in the number of Requests a Requester may make, NSC did not give any opportunity and at anytime, as per usual FOI practice, in asking the requester to withdraw one or more of the requests, so that some information can at least be provided
• Further, In order to consider linking of Requests the ICO expect the Authority to give objective reasons as to the similarity in the scope when considering consolidation. (Section 14(2)paragraph 17) I find it is extremely difficult to acknowledge the similarity between question A, B & C when;-
o Question A relates to a paper based exercise on land that will retain its original & current use and no change whatsoever in its environment, within Question A any reference to the Planning of Baytree School is not stated. It solely deals with ‘an application to register’. It is also a far less rigorous process than a Planning Application.
o Question B in its most simplistic terms relates to a complete complex change to 2 hectares of green belt land in having the equivalent of 1.3 hectares (i) being covered in concrete, (ii) being built on a category 3 flood plain and (iii) the resulting change in the environment and (iv) importantly detriment of the well-being to nearby residents.
o Question C and its associated qualification forwarded to your office on 20th September 2020 and ignored relates to any green belt land within NSC, and has nothing whatsoever to do with any building matters of a school or indeed any other construction or the TVG application
• No such objective details regarding the scope of the three questions has been received as required by ICO.

Comments on the your response for each question asked as far as able having regard to the merging of FOI Requests

• NSC have failed to consider Past Appeal Number: EA/2006/0043 paragraph 22 “..............Similarly, we consider that full disclosure of the deliberations underlying a decision on a complex matter is arguably more important than in the case of a simple one, where the issues may be more immediately evident.”
• NSC have ignored Regulation 12(2) which provides that in dealing with a request for information “A public authority shall apply a presumption in favour of disclosure”

Town Village Green (TVG) Application (Request A)
Any decision in regard the TVG application does not depend on any future building construction. This was clearly stated at the August and September 2020 planning committee meeting. It is further mentioned within documents in that any future planning application should be kept separate.
NSC web pages clearly show that Cllr Gibbons said “The application (Baytree School expansion) will run in parallel with the recent Town and Village Green application submitted by local residents and is not intended to pre-empt a determination of that separate application.”
The Application was refused by the Planning Committee Minutes in August 2020. The Application is now finished. The effect of the Planning Committee approving the build of a new school jeopardises the progression of any TVG Appeal processes further confirming the TVG application is compete. Application for any Decision Notice has not been made available to the Applicant despite good effort. NSC are not following correct procedures and can only be assumed as the TVG is a separate issue and therefore cannot be merged into one. Information I originally requested but refused would have assisted with this point.
Breakdown of Costs of relating to Request (A) is required (Guidance ICO) My understanding is that there are no cost limits on Environment Information Regulation and you have not stated any exceptional reasons for declaring costs as ‘manifestly unreasonable’. Your estimate costs of £775 divided by the appropriate limits of £450 per request (as per Guidance with FOI requests, see in determining whether the cost of complying with request for environmental information would be “manifestly unreasonable” under regulation 12(4)(b) of EIRs, it is acceptable to use the FOI and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 (the ‘Fees Regulations’) as a starting point to ascertain what constitutes a ‘manifestly unreasonable’ cost or diversion of resources.) is £258 per request and is therefore not ‘manifestly unreasonable’. Secondly, calculations suggest that £775 as a percentage of the estimated new build cost is 0.006458% again not considered acceptable as being described and not certainly obviously or clearly, unreasonable
Your explanation why this fails the Public Interest Test is concerning. Considering the land is the last green belt land in Clevedon it therefore effects the whole of the 22,000 population of Clevedon. It is a value judgement by NSC, without foundation, to insult the people of Clevedon in forming the opinion that ‘matters of costs outweigh the loss of green belt land’, particularly with the very low cost percentage of 0.006458%

Planning permission (Request B)
I concede to some of your argument in respect of further approval being sought by the Secretary of State, as far as Q B with respect to the Planning Enquiry although there is no certainty of that process ever taking place. However, Planning permission has all been agreed at a local level and any information used to get to this position is of an interest to the public and should be disclosed. It is even more important to ensure full candour as the Applicant is the Local Planning Authority.
There are two very separate applications processes used with The Planning application and the Registration of a TVG
NSC web pages https://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/news/plann... clearly state “The application will run in parallel with the recent Town and Village Green application submitted by local residents and is not intended to pre-empt a determination of that separate application.”
Breakdown of Costs of relating to Request (B) is required My understanding there are no cost limits on Environment Information Regulation and you have not stated any exceptional reasons for declaring costs as ‘manifestly unreasonable’ as described within this note
Explanation why this fails the Public Interest Test when the land green belt land, can be argued affects the whole of the population of Clevedon in general and East Clevedon in particular, needs more objective detail to be given by NSC

Comment (Request C)
NSC response gives no clear breakdown of this part of the original request and is therefore considered to be unanswered.

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

Finally, please note that if an ICO Appeal is considered in the future, this letter will form the basis of that Appeal.

Yours faithfully,

R Tozer

FoI, North Somerset Council

Good afternoon

Thank you for your request for an internal review, and I am sorry that you are dissatisfied with our attempts to handle your request. I can confirm that we are considering your request, and aim to get our response to you by 18 December.

Kindest regards

Lynsey Wilson
Information Governance Manager
North Somerset Council

Tel: 01275 885117
Email:[email address]
Post: Town Hall, Walliscote Grove Road, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1UJ
Web:www.n-somerset.gov.uk

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