Complete Non-Residential / Business Property Rates Data

The request was successful.

Dear Bromley Borough Council,

In terms of the Freedom of Information Act of 2000, could you please provide me with a complete and up-to-date list of all business (non-residential) property rates data for your local authority, and including the following fields:

- Billing Authority Code
- Firm's Trading Name (i.e. property occupant)
- Full Property Address (Number, Street, Postal Code, Town)
- Occupied / Vacant
- Date of Occupation / Vacancy
- Actual annual rates charged (in Pounds)

Note that I am specifically requesting data on the occupation status of properties which you currently refuse to provide. The only basis for such refusal is in terms of Section 31(a).

According to the Information Commissioners Office, "Section 31 is a prejudice based exemption and is subject to the public interest test. This means that not only does the information have to prejudice one of the purposes listed, but, before the information can be withheld, the public interest in preventing that prejudice must outweigh the public interest in disclosure."

Section 31(a) deals specifically with "the prevention or detection of crime".

The purpose of our use of the data requested is in informing entrepreneurs and business seekers about opportunities in empty premises when they are advertised for new tenants. We combine local authority premises occupation data with other data (from the Valuations Office and ONS) to develop forward guidance on business potential in each empty business property. Further details on our activities are available at, but our activity is supported by the Open Data Institute and we have received funding from the EU Open Data Incubator to develop this service.

Our combined data are made available via online commercial property leasing intermediaries as a free service to business seekers. These leasing intermediaries combine our data with properties being offered for rent.

In other words, these are properties being clearly advertised as empty whether the local authority data are publicly available or not.

I should also note that, of the 350 local authorities in England and Wales, over 115 of these either already make these data available, or have done so in response to FOI requests from ourselves. Only a very small number (fewer than 20 local authorities) have invoked Section 31.

We are mindful, though, that not all authorities wish to release direct information on empty premises. In that case, could we suggest that you provide only a list of occupied properties which we would then reconcile against the master list of properties from the Valuations Office Agency (VOA). VOA data are available via their website, and the complete database by subscription. Empty premises will be known to residents of the community in which they are based.That means that anyone not resident in your community and wanting to find the list of empty properties would have to undertake the costs and technicalities of a similar data reconciliation.

I would ask that you consider that the public interest in economic development and improving opportunities for independent businesses and entrepreneurs far outweighs any concern that the release of data which can identify empty business properties may cause crime.

Unemployment and economic deprivation are often key to reducing the potential for crime. Our intention is to support local economic development initiatives through the use of these data.

I ask that you reconsider your decision and make this data available to us as machine-readable as either a CSV or Microsoft Excel file, capable of re-use, and under terms of the Open Government Licence.

Yours faithfully,

Gavin Chait


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Dear Mr Chait,

Thank you for your email – your request will be passed to a departmental
coordinator to provide a reply.

By law, the council may take up to 20 working days to provide you with
non-personal information held by the authority. In some cases, a charge
may apply. If so, we will contact you to let you know the cost and then
you can decide whether to go ahead with the request or not. Where charges
apply, the time scales indicated do not take effect until we have received
In future, so that your request can be sent direct to the correct
department, please use the following link to submit your request on line –

Yours sincerely,
Customer Service Advisor, Customer Services
London Borough of Bromley
Telephone: 020 8464 3333
Web: [2]

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revenuesfreedomofinformation, Bromley Borough Council

2 Attachments

Dear Gavin,

Please find attached data as per your Freedom of Information request


The data was generated on March 9^th.




Katy Maliphant

Revenues and Benefits

Tel: 020 8313 4946

Fax: 020 8313 4335


From: BromleyCorporateCustomerServices
[mailto:[email address]]
Sent: 15 March 2016 11:34
To: revenuesfreedomofinformation
Subject: FW: Freedom of Information request - Complete Non-Residential /
Business Property Rates Data


Good Morning,

Please could you respond to the FOI request below. Thank you

Yours sincerely,
Customer Service Advisor, Customer Services
London Borough of Bromley
Telephone: 020 8464 3333
Web: [1]

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