Communication, reports and drawings relating to BDC Planning Application 20180471

Peter Milliken made this Freedom of Information request to South Norfolk District Council

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 partially successful.

Dear South Norfolk District Council,

Broadland Council Planning Application 20180471

Please can you send me copies of all internal communication, reports and drawings within South Norfolk District Council for these cases, including any memos to Councillors and between local government officers, from 31st October 2017 until and including Friday the 27th April 2018.

Please can you send me copies of all external communications, reports and drawings between South Norfolk District Council, Broadland District Council and Norfolk County Council relating to these cases, including any memos to Councillors and between local government officers, from 31st October 2017 until and including Friday the 27th April 2018.

Yours faithfully,

Cllr Peter Milliken BABA (Hons)

Right2Know, South Norfolk District Council

Dear Peter
 
Thank you for your request of information which is being considered. You
may be aware that we have to respond to Freedom of Information (FOI)
requests within 20 working days and as soon as is reasonably practicable,
therefore you will receive a response by Wednesday 30th May 2018 or
earlier.
 
For your information, the Act defines a number of exemptions, which may
prevent release of the information you have requested. There will be an
assessment and if any of the exemption categories apply then some or all
of the information may not be released. You will be informed if this is
the case, including your rights of appeal.
 
If any of the information you have requested is not contained in a
recorded format, South Norfolk Council is not obliged to create
information for the purpose of responding to your request
 
There may be a fee payable for ‘reasonable disbursement’ costs such as
postage and photocopying. This will be considered and you will be informed
if a fee is payable. In this event the fee must be paid before the
information is processed and released. The 20 working day time limit for
responses is suspended until receipt of the payment.
 
If you have any queries or concerns then please let me know.  If you do
contact us again concerning this request, please quote FOI 18-214.
 
Regards
 
Chelsea Lee
Business Support Apprentice
t 01508 533 645 e [email address]  [1]www.south-norfolk.gov.uk
 
South Norfolk Council - Investors In People | Platinum

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Emma Goddard, South Norfolk District Council

11 Attachments

Dear Peter

 

I refer to you requests for information regarding the Food Enterprise Zone
(our ref 18-214 & 215); this email responds to both requests as they are
interlinked.  Your requests have been considered under the Environmental
Information Regulation (EIR) as the information you have requested falls
under this legislation, rather than the FOIA.

 

I attach relevant correspondence, however we consider emails that contain
legal advice or are internal emails that relate to seeking legal advice
and options regarding this are exempt. In this instance, the Council
relies upon and claims legal professional privilege in respect in respect
of correspondence that contains legal advice, in accordance with the
exception provided under regulation 12 (5) (b) of the EIR (the course of
justice and inquiries). This exception includes material covered by Legal
Professional Privilege (LPP). In addition, the Council also relies on
regulation 12(4)(e) (internal communications) in respect to internal
communications which discuss seeking legal advice between officers.

 

Legal Professional Privilege protects the confidentiality of
communications between a lawyer and client and has been described as a set
of rules or principles which are designed to protect the confidentiality
of legal or legally related communications and exchanges between the
client and their lawyers, as well as exchanges which contain or refer to
legal advice which might be imparted to the client, and even exchanges
between the clients and third parties if such communication or exchanges
come into being for the purpose of preparing for litigation. In this case,
the Council considers the communication to fall into the category of
advice privilege, rather than litigation privilege. The Council is
satisfied that such documentation falls within this description.

 

As regulation 15 (5) (b) is subject to the public interest test the
Council has considered whether it is of the belief that the public
interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs any public interest which
might exist in disclosing the documents. The Council is of the view that
the exemption does outweigh any public interest which might exist in
disclosing the documents. This is because bodies are entitled to seek
legal advice in confidence and it could materially prejudice the
Authority's interests if it were obliged to disclose privileged
communications. If the information loses its privilege and/or confidential
status then it may become disclosable to the public in future. It should
also be noted that successive tribunals favour an initial presumption of
protecting the principal of Legal Professional Privilege.

 

In relation to regulation 12 (4) (e), the Council considers that officers
of the Council need to be able to consider options regarding the
requesting of legal advice and the various options available to it
relating to the legal advice and the situation that requires the advice.
Officers undertake these discussions in an environment that they consider
to be private and remain private. We consider that releasing such
communications in to the public domain would hinder the Council’s ability
to undertake options appraisals and consider the best course of action to
take. This argument is not only limited to this matter, however applies
more generally to the work of the Council and the importance of the
Council’s ability to undertake its functions as a public body and exercise
those functions appropriately. We also consider that disclosure of
internal emails could inhibit the free and frank discussions and
deliberations in future, which would have a detrimental effect on
discussing legal advice – either before it is sought, or after.  We accept
that it may sometimes be in the public interest to disclose such material,
however we are mindful that the planning process is largely carried out in
the public domain and therefore the requester already has access to the
majority of documents and information that guide officers to deliberate
applications and ultimately use to make a decision. Therefore on balance,
we consider that it is in the public interest to safeguard a “safe space”
in which officers can undertake confidential internal communications and
discussions.

 

In accordance with the EIR this email acts as a Public Interest Refusal
Notice.  In terms of the exception, you have a right of appeal against our
decision.  In the first instance this appeal must be internal and we
attach a copy of our guidance regarding how to request an internal
review.  We hope that you will not feel it necessary to invoke an appeal,
but if you do we will take every care to re-assess your request and let
you have our findings.

 

Please quote 18-214 & 18-215 in any further correspondence concerning this
request.

 

Regards

 

Emma Goddard
Senior Governance Officer & Deputy Monitoring Officer
t 01508 533943 e [email address]  [1]www.south-norfolk.gov.uk 
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South Norfolk Council, working with you, working for you.

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