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Council-owned land

G Russell made this Freedom of Information request to Somerset County Council

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From: G Russell

13 May 2012

Dear Somerset County Council,

I would like some information about property owned or leased by the
Council, as detailed below.

Please would you provide me with a list of all open, wooded, or
agricultural property. (Please exclude allotments, cemetaries,
school playing fields, car parks and highways, and parcels of less
than 0.5 acres, unless doing so would add to the cost of the
reply.)

For each property, please tell me:
- Exact size in hectares
- Postcode
- Parish
- Current use (e.g. agricultural, park, vacant, surplus, etc)
- Whether tenanted (or sublet) or not
- Tenure (i.e. does the city own it freehold, or leasehold)

For each tenanted/sublet agricultural property, please tell me:
- Name of tenant
- Type of tenancy (e.g., annual agreement, FBT, AHA, grazing
license, etc.)
- Start date of tenancy
- End date of tenancy
- Next break clause date (unless this will take undue time to find
out)
- Annual rent paid
- Date of previous rent review
- Date of next rent review if scheduled
- How is the property used – eg, stock farm (cattle), stock farm
(sheep), dairy farm, arable farm, other (please give information if
known)
- Does the property include any dwellings?
- Does the property include any other buildings?
- Is the property part of an agri-environment scheme?
- Is the property farmed organically?
- Does the property offer public access (either footpaths, or
permissive access)?

Please also provide a map (or maps) showing the locations and
boundaries of all agricultural properties.

Also, please would you tell me what person or department supervises
agricultural land, and what is your long-term management goal with
respect to agricultural property generally. Also, please provide a
copy of your most recent agricultural property management
plan/report/review document.

If answering this request will take longer than 18 hours, then I
would appreciate advice on how to limit it so that it fits within
the time limit. Please keep any redactions to a minimum so that the
information provided can be as complete as possible.

Thank you for your help.

Yours faithfully,

G Russell

Link to this

From: Somerset Direct - Generic
Somerset County Council

13 May 2012

Thank you for contacting Somerset County Council. Your email has been
received by our General Enquiries service and a member of our team will
deal with your enquiry. If your email requires a response we will get
back to you.

If your enquiry relates to an urgent issue you may like to contact us on
0845 345 9166 to discuss it further, or Text your Enquiry to 0778
1482858 or use our Minicom Service on 0800 783 4518. Our opening hours
are 8am - 6pm Monday to Friday and 9am - 4pm on Saturdays.

Normal text message rates apply, except to T-mobile users, who may be
charged Europe Zone 1 rates.
This email, and any attachments is intended solely for the individual to whom it is addressed. It may contain personal and / or sensitive material and should be handled according to the principles of the Data Protection Act 1998. If this email carries a protective marking of PROTECT or RESTRICTED in the header it should be handled according to HMG guidelines, if not protectively marked it can be regarded as UNCLASSIFIED.

If this Email has been misdirected, please notify the author immediately. If you are not the intended recipient you must not disclose, distribute, copy, print or rely on any of the information contained in it or attached, and all copies must be deleted immediately.

Whilst we take reasonable steps to try to identify any software viruses, any attachments to this email may nevertheless contain viruses which our anti-virus software has failed to identify. You should therefore carry out your own anti-virus checks before opening any documents. Somerset County Council will not accept any liability for damage caused by computer viruses emanating from any attachment or other document supplied with this email.

All GCSx traffic may be subject to recording and / or monitoring in accordance with relevant legislation.

Link to this

From: Somerset Direct - Generic
Somerset County Council

14 May 2012

Dear Sir/Madam

Thank you for contacting Somerset County Council. I have logged your FOI
request with the relevant department. Your reference number is 2031256.
If you require any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact
us again.

show quoted sections

Robert Taylor

show quoted sections

The Deane House
Belvedere Road
Taunton
TA1 1HE

show quoted sections

Southwest One - working in partnership with
Somerset County Council, Taunton Deane
Borough Council & Avon and Somerset
Police.

show quoted sections

6373780

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Business Development - Resources
Somerset County Council

14 May 2012

Link: [1]File-List

Dear G Russell

 

Thank you for your request for information of which we are dealing with
under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  We are currently dealing with
your request and will be in touch shortly concerning disclosure of the
information you have requested.

 

The legislation obliges us to provide you with this information within 20
working days, so we will endeavour to send our response to you by 

13 June 2012.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Communications Team

Tel: 01823 355584,

Email: [2][email address].uk 

Business Development – Resources, Somerset County Council, County Hall,
Taunton, TA1 4DY

URL: [3]www.somerset.gov.uk

 

FOI Disclosure Log URL: [4]http://www.somerset.gov.uk/disclosurelog

 

 

This email, and any attachments is intended solely for the individual to
whom it is addressed. It may contain personal and / or sensitive material
and should be handled according to the principles of the Data Protection
Act 1998. If this email carries a protective marking of PROTECT or
RESTRICTED in the header it should be handled according to HMG guidelines,
if not protectively marked it can be regarded as UNCLASSIFIED.

If this Email has been misdirected, please notify the author immediately.
If you are not the intended recipient you must not disclose, distribute,
copy, print or rely on any of the information contained in it or attached,
and all copies must be deleted immediately. 

Whilst we take reasonable steps to try to identify any software viruses,
any attachments to this email may nevertheless contain viruses which our
anti-virus software has failed to identify.  You should therefore carry
out your own anti-virus checks before opening any documents.  Somerset
County Council will not accept any liability for damage caused by computer
viruses emanating from any attachment or other document supplied with this
email.

All GCSx traffic may be subject to recording and / or monitoring in
accordance with relevant legislation.

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/cid:filelist.xml@01CC694C.64EE46B0
2. mailto:[email address]
3. file:///tmp/www.somerset.gov.uk
4. http://www.somerset.gov.uk/disclosurelog

Link to this

From: G Russell

16 May 2012

Dear Business Development - Resources,

Thank you for your reply letting me know of your target date for
responding to my information request, which you have numbered as
2031256.

For purposes of clarification, I note that as the request was
received on the 13th of May, your response is due no later than the
12th of June, rather than the 13th of June as you suggested.

For your convenience, here's a link to the Information
Commissioner's guidance on this point:
http://www.ico.gov.uk/foikb/PolicyLines/...

"Section 10(6) states that the “date of receipt” is “the day on
which the public authority receives the request for information”.
There is no requirement for this to be a working day. Indeed the
“date of receipt” could be at a weekend, on a bank holiday or any
other day on which an office is closed.
...
Example
A public authority receives a request on a Saturday when it is
closed. That counts as the day of receipt."

I hope this guidance is helpful to you.

Yours sincerely,

G Russell

Link to this

From: Business Development - Resources
Somerset County Council

31 May 2012

Dear Mr Russell

Thank you for your email dated 16th May 2012. I agree with you that our deadline date is the 12th June 2012 and not the 13th June as originally stated.

I apologise for this error, and will be in contact shortly in relation to your request.

Yours sincerely

Lucy Wilkins
Communications Team
FOI/EIR Co-ordinator
Tel: 01823 355584, Email: [email address]
[email address]

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Business Development - Resources
Somerset County Council

12 July 2012


Attachment Agricultural and Open Land details.xls
57K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Russell

 

I am writing in respect of your recent request for information from
Somerset County Council, which has been dealt with under the provisions of
the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

I can confirm that we hold some of the information that you are seeking
and we are able to provide some of it to you.

 

I am sorry for the delay in returning our response to you.

 

Our response is detailed in bold format underneath your questions as
follows:

 

Q1.  Please would you provide me with a list of all open, wooded, or
agricultural property? (Please exclude allotments, cemeteries, school
playing fields, car parks and highways, and parcels of less than 0.5
acres, unless doing so would add to the cost of the reply.)

 

A1.  Please see attached spreadsheet.

 

Q2.  For each property, please tell me:

Q2a.  Exact size in hectares

Q2b.  Postcode

Q2c.  Parish

Q2d.  Current use (e.g. agricultural, park, vacant, surplus, etc)

Q2e.  Whether tenanted (or sublet) or not

Q2f.  Tenure (i.e. does the city own it freehold, or leasehold)

 

A2a – A2f.  Please see attached spreadsheet.

 

Q3.  For each tenanted/sublet agricultural property, please tell me:

Q3a.  Name of tenant

 

A3a.  Please see attached spreadsheet.  Where there is no name for the
tenant we judge this information to be exempt under section 40 of the
Freedom of information act.

 

This is because section 40 (2) (3)(a)(i)); Personal Information states
that any information to which a request for information relates is also
exempt information if—

 

(a) it constitutes personal data which do not fall within subsection (1),
and

 

(b) either the first or the second condition below is satisfied.

 

(3) The first condition is—

 

(a) in a case where the information falls within any of paragraphs (a) to
(d) of the definition of “data” in section 1(1) of the Data Protection Act
1998, that the disclosure of the information to a member of the public
otherwise than under this Act would contravene—

 

(i) any of the data protection principles.

 

Q3b.  Type of tenancy (e.g., annual agreement, FBT, AHA, grazing license,
etc.)

Q3c.  Start date of tenancy

Q3d.  End date of tenancy

Q3e.  Next break clause date (unless this will take undue time to find
out)

Q3f.  Annual rent paid

Q3g.  Date of previous rent review

Q3h.  Date of next rent review if scheduled

Q3i.  How is the property used – eg, stock farm (cattle), stock farm
(sheep), dairy farm, arable farm, other (please give information if known)

 

A3b – A3i.  I can confirm that we hold the information that you are
seeking.  However, we judge the information to be exempt under the Freedom
of Information Act and we will not be providing it to you.

 

Section 43 (2) Commercial interests states that information is exempt
information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to,
prejudice the commercial interests of any person (including the public
authority holding it).

 

Section 43 is a qualified exemption, and accordingly we had to consider
whether the public interest is in withholding the information or in
disclosing it.  The arguments for and against disclosure are detailed
below.

 

For disclosure

 

Accountability and Transparency for the public to know what Somerset
County Council are spending public funds on.

 

Against disclosure

 

Disclosure would compromise the public authority’s ability to renegotiate
fair terms and conditions in future negotiations with future customers.

 

Having considered the public interest, Somerset County Council’s decision
is therefore to withhold the information.

 

Q3j.  Does the property include any dwellings?

Q3k.  Does the property include any other buildings?

 

A3j – A3k.  Please see attached spreadsheet.

 

Q3l.  Is the property part of an agri-environment scheme?

Q3m.  Is the property farmed organically?

Q3n.  Does the property offer public access (either footpaths, or
permissive access)?

 

A3l – A3n.  This information is not in an easily accessible format, and to
provide this data to you would take us significantly over the 18 hour time
limit.

 

Q4.  Please also provide a map (or maps) showing the locations and
boundaries of all agricultural properties.

 

A4.  This information is not in an easily accessible format, and to
provide this data to you would take us significantly over the 18 hour time
limit.

 

Q5.  Also, please would you tell me what person or department supervises
agricultural land, and what is your long-term management goal with respect
to agricultural property generally. Also, please provide a copy of your
most recent agricultural property management plan/report/review document.

 

A5.  Somerset County Council does not hold the detailed information you
have requested as contracts for the supply of agricultural property
management have in the most part been novated to our private sector
partner Southwest One.

 

In 2007, Somerset County Council joined the Southwest One partnership
(along with Taunton Deane Borough Council, Avon & Somerset Police and
IBM).  When this joint venture was formed, the responsibility for some of
our services were transferred to the new company and as you may be aware,
as a publically listed company, Southwest One is not required to furnish
any information under the Freedom of Information Act in the same way that
local government organisations (such as Somerset County Council) are.  If
you would like to find out more about Southwest One, please visit their
website: [1]http://www.southwestone.co.uk/

 

Copies of relevant agricultural property management plans/reports/review
documents can be found on Somerset County Council’s website at:

 

[2]http://www1.somerset.gov.uk/council/meet...

 

Or directly:
[3]http://www1.somerset.gov.uk/council/port...

 

If you feel your request has not been answered in sufficient detail or if
you wish to clarify the information given, please contact me and I will be
happy to address the issues you raise.

 

If you are not satisfied with the way in which your request has been dealt
with, or the information you have received, you can ask for an internal
review of our decision.

 

Please send your request to:

 

Peter Grogan, Information Governance Team, Client Services

Resources Directorate, A2 West, County Hall, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 4DY or
email [4][email address]

 

Please quote the reference number 2031256 in any future communications.

 

An internal review will then be carried out and we will write to you with
the results of our investigation. If you are not content with the outcome
of our review, you may then apply directly to the Information
Commissioner’s Office ([5]www.ico.gov.uk) for an appeal.  The Information
commissioner can be contacted at: Information Commissioner's Office,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF

Tel: 0303 123 1113

 

Finally, please be aware that your response will appear, without your
contact details, on the Council’s website at:

 

[6]http://www.somerset.gov.uk/disclosurelog

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Lucy Wilkins

 

Communications Team

FOI / EIR co-ordinator

Tel: 01823 355584,

Email: [7][email address].uk 

Somerset County Council, County Hall, Taunton, TA1 4DY

URL: [8]www.somerset.gov.uk

 

FOI Disclosure Log URL: [9]http://www.somerset.gov.uk/disclosurelog

 

This email, and any attachments is intended solely for the individual to
whom it is addressed. It may contain personal and / or sensitive material
and should be handled according to the principles of the Data Protection
Act 1998. If this email carries a protective marking of PROTECT or
RESTRICTED in the header it should be handled according to HMG guidelines,
if not protectively marked it can be regarded as UNCLASSIFIED.

If this Email has been misdirected, please notify the author immediately.
If you are not the intended recipient you must not disclose, distribute,
copy, print or rely on any of the information contained in it or attached,
and all copies must be deleted immediately. 

Whilst we take reasonable steps to try to identify any software viruses,
any attachments to this email may nevertheless contain viruses which our
anti-virus software has failed to identify.  You should therefore carry
out your own anti-virus checks before opening any documents.  Somerset
County Council will not accept any liability for damage caused by computer
viruses emanating from any attachment or other document supplied with this
email.

All GCSx traffic may be subject to recording and / or monitoring in
accordance with relevant legislation.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.southwestone.co.uk/
2. http://www1.somerset.gov.uk/council/meet...
http://www1.somerset.gov.uk/council/meet...
3. http://www1.somerset.gov.uk/council/port...
http://www1.somerset.gov.uk/council/port...
4. mailto:[email address]
5. file:///tmp/www.ico.gov.uk
6. http://www.somerset.gov.uk/disclosurelog
7. mailto:[email address]
8. file:///tmp/www.somerset.gov.uk
9. http://www.somerset.gov.uk/disclosurelog

Link to this

From: G Russell

24 July 2012

Dear Lucy,

Re: RFI 2031256

Thank you for your response providing some of the information that
I requested.

As you acknowledged, the response did not provide answers to
several of my questions relating to the tenure and use of
agricultural land owned by the Council.

Because you withheld the names of the tenants, I don’t see how
providing the rest of the information can pose a privacy issue, so
please would you reconsider the decision to withhold the following:
- type of tenancy
- start date
- end date if known
- date of last rent review
- property use
- rent levels*

*As regards the rent levels, I would be satisfied with:
(1) the highest and lowest AHA rents,
(2) the highest and lowest FBT rents, and
(3) the average per-acre AHA rent and average FBT rent per acre (or
per hectare if that is how the information is held),

The response also did not provide the long-term management goal
with respect to agricultural property, nor did it provide the most
recent report relating to such property.

The response did link to a Cabinet Member decision from 2010,
authorising certain farms to be considered surplus. This was a
helpful starting point.

Unfortunately, this 2010 report is not the most recent report, and
it doesn’t state what is the long-term management goal for the
retained properties.

The response also referred me to the Council’s website, on which I
found two 2011 reports:
- The Council’s “Corporate Asset Strategic Management Plan 2011”
(undated) (link at
http://www.somerset.gov.uk/irj/go/km/doc...
)
- A Corporate Asset Management Plan Update published on 2 February
2011. (link at
http://www1.somerset.gov.uk/council/boar...)

Are these 2011 reports the latest ones, or is there a more recent
one, perhaps produced in 2012?

The response stated that the Council did not hold information about
what its long-term management goal was, because “contracts for the
supply of agricultural property management have in the most part
been novated to our private sector partner Southwest One.”

I accept that Southwest One helps the council fulfil its management
responsibilities with respect to agricultural land. But it seems
likely that Southwest One informs the Council, in some fashion, of
its decisions and goals relating to agricultural property.

Moreover, neither the 2010 decision nor the Strategic Management
Plan 2011 nor the 2011 Update mention Southwest One in the
discussion of agricultural property, yet all were prepared several
years after the creation of Southwest One. So it appears that
overall strategy for property management is still determined by or
known to the council.

Perhaps you are unaware that neither the 2010 report nor the two
2011 reports contains the Council’s actual plan for long-term
management of the retained estate.

The 2010 document stated only that some farms would have a higher
resale value in the future, and that the Council wished to continue
to provide some farming opportunities. (Section 4.1)

The Council doesn’t appear to have considered these two statements
as a sufficient long-term goal, because the 2011 Strategic
Management Plan said on page 16 that the council needed a “plan for
the retained estate,” consisting of a “policy strategy for the
future management of the retained estate.” The 2011 Management Plan
Update uses two very similar phrases on page D-3, when it refers to
the aim of “agreeing a policy for the retained estate” and the “aim
- … to provide a policy strategy for the future management of the
retained holdings”.

Because the 2011 reports show that the Council intended to develop
a policy strategy for the future management of the retained estate,
I’m trying to find out whether now (over a year later) the Council
has in fact done so. This is why I have requested the most recent
report.

If the long-term goal is contained in a report from Southwest One,
or if the most recent report is actually a report from Southwest
One to the Council, then please would you provide this report in
fulfilment of my request for the long-term goal and the most recent
report.

I would also appreciate an explanation for why the response to my
original request was a month late.

If these are not questions that you can answer, then please
consider my email as a request for an internal review of Somerset
County Council's handling of my FOI request 'Council-owned land'
(ref no. 2031256), and pass it on to the person who conducts
Freedom of Information reviews. In your response, you stated that
this was Peter Grogan, in the Information Resources Team of Client
Services, at the Resources Directorate, A2 West, County Hall,
Taunton, Somerset, TA1 4DY.

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

Yours faithfully,

G Russell

Link to this

From: Somerset Direct - FOI
Somerset County Council

25 July 2012

Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for contacting Somerset County Council. I have logged your FOI
request with the relevant department. Your reference number is 2113449.
If you require any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact
us again.

Yours sincerely

Sal Khan
Generic Team - Somerset Direct
The Deane House
Belvedere Road
Taunton
TA1 1HE
Tel Number: 0845 345 9166
[email address]

South West One Limited - Registered in England and Wales with number
6373780 Registered office:PO Box 41, North Harbour, Portsmouth, Hants
PO6 3AU

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Business Development - Resources
Somerset County Council

25 July 2012

Dear Mr Russell

 

Thank you for your request for information, which queries the data
provided to you in our FOI response 2031256.

 

As you are not happy with the information that was provided to you, I
suggest you ask for an internal review of our decision.

 

To do this, please email your request to Peter Grogan at
[1][email address].

 

Alternatively you can write to Peter Grogan at the following address:

Information Governance Team, Client Services, A2 West, County Hall,
Taunton, Somerset, TA1 4DY.

 

Please quote the reference number 2031256.

 

An internal review will be carried out and we will write to you with the
results of our investigation.  If you are not content with the outcome of
our review, you may then apply directly to the Information Commissioner’s
Office ([2]www.ico.gov.uk) for an appeal.  The Information commissioner
can be contacted at: Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House,
Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF

Tel: 0303 123 1113

 

Yours sincerely

 

Lucy Wilkins

 

Communications Team

FOI / EIR co-ordinator

Tel: 01823 355584,

Email: [3][email address].uk 

Somerset County Council, County Hall, Taunton, TA1 4DY

URL: [4]www.somerset.gov.uk

 

FOI Disclosure Log URL: [5]http://www.somerset.gov.uk/disclosurelog

 

This email, and any attachments is intended solely for the individual to
whom it is addressed. It may contain personal and / or sensitive material
and should be handled according to the principles of the Data Protection
Act 1998. If this email carries a protective marking of PROTECT or
RESTRICTED in the header it should be handled according to HMG guidelines,
if not protectively marked it can be regarded as UNCLASSIFIED.

If this Email has been misdirected, please notify the author immediately.
If you are not the intended recipient you must not disclose, distribute,
copy, print or rely on any of the information contained in it or attached,
and all copies must be deleted immediately. 

Whilst we take reasonable steps to try to identify any software viruses,
any attachments to this email may nevertheless contain viruses which our
anti-virus software has failed to identify.  You should therefore carry
out your own anti-virus checks before opening any documents.  Somerset
County Council will not accept any liability for damage caused by computer
viruses emanating from any attachment or other document supplied with this
email.

All GCSx traffic may be subject to recording and / or monitoring in
accordance with relevant legislation.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. file:///tmp/www.ico.gov.uk
3. mailto:[email address]
4. file:///tmp/www.somerset.gov.uk
5. http://www.somerset.gov.uk/disclosurelog

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