Natalie Davis

Dear Sir or Madam

Please can you provide me with the following information under the Freedom Of Information Act 2000:-

(a) addresses and rateable values of empty Commercial properties that are within Bath & North East Somerset Council area; and

(b) the names of the owners of those properties referred to in (a)

Yours faithfully

Natalie Davis

Information Governance, Bath and North East Somerset Council

Thank you for your information request, which is now being processed under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

You can expect to receive our full response in due course.

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Information Governance, Bath and North East Somerset Council

Dear Ms Davis,

Thank you for your request.

I have spoken with our Revenues and Benefits service, who have explained to me how they hold the information you have requested. To identify empty 'commercial' properties within the area, we would need to establish which properties are subject to an exemption from Business Rates. This is a fairly simple exercise in itself - however you would need to clarify what you mean by 'long term' empty to enable us to establish how many properties potentially fall within your information request.

In accordance with recent Decisions issued by the Information Commissioner under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, we are only required to disclose to you information about empty properties which are owned by businesses / companies rather than individuals or sole traders. In terms of properties for which a Business Rates exemption is being claimed, the Council holds information on who is responsible for the property, but not necessarily who the owner is. To establish who owns each of the commercial properties (in order to establish what information can be released to you) we would need to investigate each property record and try to establish whether we held information on title deeds etc. As we estimate that around 500 properties fall within the scope of your current request, this would take in excess of 18 hours (assuming that it would take at least 10 minutes to search for owner information on each property).

Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 recognises that a public authority is not obliged to comply with a request for information if the process of compliance would exceed the appropriate limit – as set by the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees Charges) Regulations 2004 this is 18 hours. For requests which will exceed 18 hours to administer, by which is meant:

(a) determining whether it holds the information,

(b) locating the information, or a document which may contain the information,

(c) retrieving the information, or a document which may contain the information, and

(d) extracting the information from a document containing it,

the authority may refuse the request or levy a charge at £25 per hour for staff time.

Having considered the amount of information which has been requested and the staff time which would be taken up in complying with this request we have taken the decision that we will refuse it under Section 12 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 as exceeding the appropriate limit.

What we can provide, however, is a list of currently empty commercial properties, where the rateable owner is a business or company. We can also provide the rateable values for each of these properties. Please write and let me know whether you are interested in receiving this information.

If you have any other queries about this email please contact me.

If you are unhappy with the response to your request, you may ask for an internal review. Please contact the Council’s Head of Audit, Risk and Information, Mr Jeff Wring at the Guildhall, High St, Bath BA1 5AW mailto:[email address].

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to appeal directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk.

Amanda Osborne, Information Compliance Manager
Risk and Assurance Services
Bath & North East Somerset Council
Telephone: 01225 396872
Facsimile: 01225 477387
www.bathnes.gov.uk
 
Making Bath & North East Somerset an even better place to live, work and visit.
 
Please consider the environment before printing this email.

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Natalie Davis

Dear Ms Osborne,

Thank you for your reply. Please could you forward the details of the current empty commercial properties where the owner is a business or company and their rateable values.

Yours sincerely,

Natalie Davis

Information Governance, Bath and North East Somerset Council

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Davis,

Please find the requested information attached.

I trust that we have answered your queries, however if you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

If you are unhappy with the response to your request, you may ask for an internal review. Please contact the Council’s Head of Audit, Risk and Information, Mr Jeff Wring at the Guildhall, High St, Bath BA1 5AW mailto:[email address].

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to appeal directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk.

Amanda Osborne, Information Compliance Manager
Risk and Assurance Services
Bath & North East Somerset Council
Telephone: 01225 396872
Facsimile: 01225 477387
www.bathnes.gov.uk
 
Making Bath & North East Somerset an even better place to live, work and visit.
 
Please consider the environment before printing this email.

show quoted sections

Francis Irving left an annotation ()

Forum thread about this set of requests: http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/forums/show...

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