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Costs Regarding Thames Farm appeal

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Dear South Oxfordshire District Council,

Please can you disclose how much SODC has spent in total in relation to the planning application and appeal at Thames Farm? Such costs should include all legal fees & disbursements, advisory or consultants fees, court costs and all court awards made against the Council.

Please disclose the figure expended or comitted this financial year and the total for each of the last three financial years. All figures should include any irrecoverable VAT.
Yours faithfully,

Garry Forster

FOI South, South Oxfordshire District Council

Dear Garry
Thank you for your Freedom of Information/Environmental Information
Regulation request, which was received by South Oxfordshire District
Council on 3 November 2017.
Please accept this email as confirmation that your request has been
received and forwarded to the relevant department and that a response will
be sent to you within 20 working days.
The deadline for this will be 1 December 2017. 
The reference number for this request is South 17/511
I trust that this email is sufficient to assure you that your request is
being dealt with. However, should you have an queries in the meantime,
please do not hesitate to contact the FOI team at [South Oxfordshire District Council request email]
Regards
FOI Team
 
Policy & Partnerships
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils
 
Direct line: 01235 422371
[1]www.southoxon.gov.uk 
www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Garry Forster <[FOI #442732 email]>
Sent: 03 November 2017 09:49
To: FOI South
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Costs Regarding Thames Farm
appeal
 
Dear South Oxfordshire District Council,

Please can you disclose how much SODC has spent in total in relation to
the planning application and appeal at Thames Farm? Such costs should
include all legal fees & disbursements, advisory or consultants fees,
court costs and all court awards made against the Council.

Please disclose the figure expended or comitted this financial year and
the total for each of the last three financial years. All figures should
include any irrecoverable VAT.
Yours faithfully,

Garry Forster

-------------------------------------------------------------------

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Becky Moore,

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Forster

 

Thank you for your request for information under the Environmental
Information Regulations (2004), as follows:

 

“Please can you disclose how much SODC has spent in total in relation to
the planning application and appeal at Thames Farm? Such costs should
include all legal fees & disbursements, advisory or consultants fees,
court costs and all court awards made against the Council.

Please disclose the figure expended or comitted this financial year and
the total for each of the last three financial years. All figures should
include any irrecoverable VAT”

 

This information is publicly available on our website here:
[1]http://www.southoxon.gov.uk/about-us/how...

 

South Oxfordshire District Council publishes details of all payments we
make, over £500 (£250 from July 2016). All payments made in relation to
the Thames Farm appeal would have been over £500, so will appear on the
website.

 

Regrettably, we are unable to provide this information in any other
format. This is because our system does not have a way of reporting on all
payments relating to a particular subject (there is no ‘key word’ search
facility).

 

We are unable to search our finance system by entering a planning
application reference number, or a description such as “Thames Farm” as a
search term, for example.

 

We do not keep a separate log, file or spreadsheet of appeal expenditure
(as we do not have a business need to), so this information cannot be
retrieved from anywhere else.

 

I apologise that we have not been able to be more helpful on this
occasion. If you are dissatisfied with the way your request for
information has been handled, you can request a review within the next 40
working days by emailing [2][South Oxfordshire District Council request email].

 

Many thanks and kind regards

 

Becky Moore

 

Business Support Officer

 

Planning Service

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils

email: [3][email address

visit us at:

[4]www.southoxon.gov.uk and [5]www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk

 

Customer Service: 01235 422600

 

[6]cid:image001.jpg@01D073AB.E7B783F0

 

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References

Visible links
1. http://www.southoxon.gov.uk/about-us/how...
2. mailto:[South Oxfordshire District Council request email]
3. mailto:[email address]
4. http://www.southoxon.gov.uk/
5. http://www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/

Dear Becky Moore,

Thank you for your reply although I am somewhat surprised that you claim there is no way of retrieving this information.

To assist me though, please disclose what Operational Unit Codes and Internal costs codes are used when allocating expenditure relating to planning and legal matters.

In addition please disclose the names of all suppliers used in relation to the Thames Farm planning and legal process. I am certain that your planning and legal teams will know their names and this will enable me to review your payment schedule under the supplier ID heading.

Yours sincerely,

Garry Forster

Mr Bowen left an annotation ()

In addition to the costs involved, perhaps you can also confirm how many "Man (or woman) Hours" have been involved by members of your own staff on this matter.

Dear South Oxfordshire District Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of South Oxfordshire District Council's handling of my FOI request 'Costs Regarding Thames Farm appeal'.

My original request for SODC's costs in appealing the Thames Farm decisions have been basically ignored. I was pointed to the monthly lists of expenditure approved by SODC but I have no idea which of those relate to this matter. My further request for the names of all the suppliers and advisors retained by SODC in this matter have also been ignored.

I will have no hesitation in formally pursuing this with ICO if this information is not forthcoming.

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,

Garry Forster

FOI South, South Oxfordshire District Council

Dear Garry

Thank you for your email.
I have reviewed the council's response and met with relevant colleagues.
 I confirm that the council does hold information regarding the costs of
the Thames Farm appeal, and I have instructed that the recorded
information should be provided to you promptly.
Kind regards.
Andrew Down
Head of Partnership and Insight
South Oxfordshire District Council
 
[1]http://www.southoxon.gov.uk

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Garry Forster <[FOI #442732 email]>
Sent: 24 January 2018 17:53
To: FOI South
Subject: Internal review of Freedom of Information request - Costs
Regarding Thames Farm appeal
 
Dear South Oxfordshire District Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of South Oxfordshire District
Council's handling of my FOI request 'Costs Regarding Thames Farm appeal'.

My original request for SODC's costs in appealing the Thames Farm
decisions have been basically ignored. I was pointed to the monthly lists
of expenditure approved by SODC but I have no idea which of those relate
to this matter. My further request for the names of all the suppliers and
advisors retained by SODC in this matter have also been ignored.

I will have no hesitation in formally pursuing this with ICO if this
information is not forthcoming.

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

Yours faithfully,

Garry Forster

-------------------------------------------------------------------
Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[FOI #442732 email]

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[3]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...

For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
latest advice from the ICO:
[4]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...

Please note that in some cases publication of requests and responses will
be delayed.

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

References

Visible links
1. http://www.southoxon.gov.uk/
2. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...
3. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...
4. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...

Moore, Becky,

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Forster

I understand that our FOI officer Andrew Down has informed you that we
have been able to find some information relating to Thames Farm appeal
costs. Our legal team record information in a different way to the
planning service, so they have been able to supply us with some
approximate external legal costs for P16/S0970/O (the most recent
application).

The external legal costs that the council incurred in respect of the
planning inquiry which took place in June 2017 amounted to £24500.  Since
then the council has incurred approximately £14000 of external legal costs
in connection with its legal challenge to the planning appeal decision. 
This figure of £14000 is approximate because the council has not yet been
billed for all the legal work undertaken on its behalf on the case. 
During the course of the legal proceedings, the council has been ordered
to pay £3360 to the Secretary of State in respect of his legal costs. 
However, as these proceedings are ongoing it is possible that this costs
order will be set aside.

The above figures were taken from legal records and were not recorded by
the planning service. Regrettably, we have no way of providing internal
costs as the planning service do not keep a record of how time is spent,
printing costs etc.

I hope you find the above information helpful

Many thanks and kind regards

Becky Moore

 

Business Support Officer

 

Planning Service

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils

email: [1][email address

visit us at:

[2]www.southoxon.gov.uk and [3]www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk

 

Customer Service: 01235 422600

 

[4]cid:image001.jpg@01D073AB.E7B783F0

show quoted sections

Moore, Becky,

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Forster

 

Further to my previous email (below). It has come to my attention that
Andrew Down had asked us to also provide information with regards to the
budget code used by the planning service for payments to consultants. I
apologise that this information was not included in my previous email.

 

Work carried out by consultants in connection with planning appeals is
coded DN01 4655.

However, please note that other work carried out by consultants in
connection with planning applications is also coded in the same way.
Furthermore the codes do not refer to specific sites so we are
unfortunately unable to run an enquiry or report that refers specifically
to a particular appeal or Thames Farm.

 

I hope this additional information is helpful.

 

Many thanks and kind regards

 

Becky Moore

 

Business Support Officer

 

Planning Service

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils

email: [1][email address

visit us at:

[2]www.southoxon.gov.uk and [3]www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk

 

Customer Service: 01235 422600

 

[4]cid:image001.jpg@01D073AB.E7B783F0

 

From: Moore, Becky
Sent: 26 January 2018 11:39
To: 'Garry Forster' <[FOI #442732 email]>
Subject: EIR Request 17/511 (South) - Thames Farm Appeal

 

Dear Mr Forster

 

I understand that our FOI officer Andrew Down has informed you that we
have been able to find some information relating to Thames Farm appeal
costs. Our legal team record information in a different way to the
planning service, so they have been able to supply us with some
approximate external legal costs for P16/S0970/O (the most recent
application).

 

The external legal costs that the council incurred in respect of the
planning inquiry which took place in June 2017 amounted to £24500.  Since
then the council has incurred approximately £14000 of external legal costs
in connection with its legal challenge to the planning appeal decision. 
This figure of £14000 is approximate because the council has not yet been
billed for all the legal work undertaken on its behalf on the case. 
During the course of the legal proceedings, the council has been ordered
to pay £3360 to the Secretary of State in respect of his legal costs. 
However, as these proceedings are ongoing it is possible that this costs
order will be set aside.

 

The above figures were taken from legal records and were not recorded by
the planning service. Regrettably, we have no way of providing internal
costs as the planning service do not keep a record of how time is spent,
printing costs etc.

 

I hope you find the above information helpful

 

Many thanks and kind regards

 

Becky Moore

 

Business Support Officer

 

Planning Service

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils

email: [5][email address

visit us at:

[6]www.southoxon.gov.uk and [7]www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk

 

Customer Service: 01235 422600

 

[8]cid:image001.jpg@01D073AB.E7B783F0

show quoted sections

Dear Ms Moore,

Now that the appeal process has concluded, are you any further in being able to disclose the full costs incurred by SODC in pursuing the appeals against the inspectors decisions?

As I reminder, I am seeking disclosure of the full costs that SODC have expended on external legal and other advisors in the Thames Farm case.

Yours sincerely,

Garry Forster

Moore, Becky,

I am away from the office on annual leave. I will respond to your email on
my return on Thursday 12 April. If your query is urgent please contact our
customer service team on 01235 422600.

 

Kind regards

 

Becky Moore

 

Dear South Oxfordshire District Council,

Please can you advise when I might expect a reply to this FoI request?

Yours faithfully,

Garry Forster

FOI South, South Oxfordshire District Council

Dear Mr Forster

Thank you for your email.

The Planning and Legal teams are currently in discussion as to who will be
able to provide a response and will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Regards
FOI Team
 
Policy & Partnerships
South Oxfordshire District Council
 
Direct line: 01235 422371
[1]www.southoxon.gov.uk 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Garry Forster <[FOI #442732 email]>
Sent: 24 April 2018 17:13
To: FOI South
Subject: Re: Freedom of Information request - Costs Regarding Thames Farm
appeal
 
Dear South Oxfordshire District Council,

Please can you advise when I  might expect a reply to this FoI request?

Yours faithfully,

Garry Forster

show quoted sections

Price, Ian,

Dear Mr Forster

I am sorry that your request for further information regarding the external costs of the council's legal challenge to the Thames Farm planning appeal has yet to be answered substantively, and your request has come to me today, for me to answer. Though I am not in a position today to provide the information that you have asked for, I do hope to be able to do so by the end of this week.

Yours sincerely

Ian Price
Senior Litigation & Planning Lawyer
Legal & Democratic
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils

Direct Line:  07801 203592
EXT: 22541
Text phone users add 18001 before you dial

Postal Address:
135 Eastern Avenue, Milton Park, Milton
Abingdon, Oxfordshire
OX14 4SB

Email: [email address]
Visit us at www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk or www.southoxon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Dear Mr Price,

Thank you for your email.

A substantive response to this request is now well in excess of the statutory period. I will hold you to your aim of reply by the end of the week failing which I will make formal complaint to ICO.

Yours sincerely,

Garry Forster

Price, Ian,

Dear Mr Forster

Thank you for your email. You are clearly frustrated. However, I should perhaps mention that it was only yesterday when I was asked to reply to your request for information, and yesterday was when I returned to work from a week's leave. I know that doesn't excuse the overall delay in responding to your request.

More importantly from a substantive perspective, I have now ascertained that we have yet to receive a final bill from our external solicitors for the work that they have done on our behalf on this case. Thus, would it be acceptable for me to undertake to you to give you a final figure of our legal costs, once I know what that final figure is? You should not need to make a further formal FoI request to receive this information, I as I will simply provide the information to you on the basis that there is no reason not to do so. The final bill is expected fairly shortly.

Regards

Ian Price
Senior Litigation & Planning Lawyer
Legal & Democratic
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils

Direct Line:  07801 203592
EXT: 22541
Text phone users add 18001 before you dial

Postal Address:
135 Eastern Avenue, Milton Park, Milton
Abingdon, Oxfordshire
OX14 4SB

Email: [email address]
Visit us at www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk or www.southoxon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Price, Ian,

Dear Mr Forster

Further to our correspondence below, I am now able to provide the information you have asked for.

The council's legal challenge to the Thames Farm planning appeal decision (which involved consideration of the case in the High Court and the Court of Appeal) generated costs of £8900 on account of counsel's fees (ie our barrister). We were also required to pay costs of £3360 to the Secretary of State, as ordered by the High Court.

Please note - as mentioned in my previous email we have yet to be billed for the work undertaken on this matter by our external solicitors. As soon as I have their bill to hand I will confirm the amount to you, without you needing to go to the trouble of making a further formal FoI request.

Yours sincerely

Ian Price
Senior Litigation & Planning Lawyer
Legal & Democratic
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils

Direct Line:  07801 203592
EXT: 22541
Text phone users add 18001 before you dial

Postal Address:
135 Eastern Avenue, Milton Park, Milton
Abingdon, Oxfordshire
OX14 4SB

Email: [email address]
Visit us at www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk or www.southoxon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Price, Ian,

Dear Mr Forster

Further to my emails below, I am now able to let you know that we have now received a bill from our external lawyers, in the sum of £8115, for work they carried out for the council on the Thames Farm legal challenge. As well as covering the costs of their work, this sum also includes the cost of the fee for the original claim and for the appeal. To the best of my understanding, there will be no more costs to pay on this legal challenge, which is now concluded.

Yours sincerely

Ian Price
Senior Litigation & Planning Lawyer
Legal & Democratic
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils

Direct Line:  07801 203592
EXT: 22541
Text phone users add 18001 before you dial

Postal Address:
135 Eastern Avenue, Milton Park, Milton
Abingdon, Oxfordshire
OX14 4SB

Email: [email address]
Visit us at www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk or www.southoxon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

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