District Valuer Report

A Glasspool made this Freedom of Information request to Southwark Borough Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was refused by Southwark Borough Council.

Dear Southwark Borough Council,

Please provide a copy of any reports or assessments produced by the Valuation Office Agency's District Valuer Services, which have been commissioned by the council in relation to the financial viability of the Heygate masterplan planning application (ref: 12/AP/1092).

Yours faithfully,

A Glasspool

Deputy Chief Executive, Southwark Borough Council

Southwark Council - Information request (FOI/EIR)

Our reference: 256651

show quoted sections

Wannop, Laura, Southwark Borough Council

Dear A Glasspool,

Re: Your request for information: 255651

Thank you for your request for information that was received on 19 October
2012 in which you requested:

Please provide a copy of any reports or assessments produced by the
Valuation Office Agency's District Valuer Services, which have been
commissioned by the council in relation to the financial viability of the
Heygate masterplan planning application (ref: 12/AP/1092)

Your request has been dealt with under the Environmental Information
Regulations 2004.

Please note that as the information requested related to information
utilised by a third party, the council notified them of this request and
offered them the opportunity to discuss any particular issues or concerns
that they considered relevant to the question of disclosure of this
information before the council decided whether or not to release the
information.  However, although the council is obliged to offer the third
party this opportunity, the decision on whether to release any information
lies ultimately with the council.

Having considered your request and the third party response to a request
to release, the council regrets to inform you that the information you
requested is being withheld under the Environmental Information
Regulations 2004. The exception that applies to this information is:
Regulation 12(5)(e) where disclosure would adversely affect or be very
likely to prejudice the commercial interests of the council and / or any
third party

Reliance upon an exemption under the EIR is always subject to the
requirement under Regulation 12(1)(b) that the public interest in
maintaining the exception outweighs the public interest in disclosing the

In this instance, the council asserts that the public interest in
providing this information does not out weigh the likely prejudice to
commercial and economic interests of both the council and the third party.

In arriving at this view, the council has considered the following factors
both for and against the release of information.

Factors in favour of release:

* Regulation 5 of the Environmental Information Regulations states where
a public authority holds environmental information; it shall make it
available on request and, as a starting point, the council is required
to apply a presumption in favour of disclosure.
* The specific request is in relation to a large scale regeneration
scheme covering a large area of the borough and affecting many
residents as a result.  The sheer scale of the plans carries with it
an inherent amount of public interest.

Factors in favour of withholding:

* The fact that the information sets out commercial assumptions and
calculations subsequently applied by the third party, which if
disclosed would adversely affect the council’s and third party’s
economic interests as well as placing the third party at a competitive
disadvantage in any future development opportunity
* The fact that within the regeneration agreement signed by the council
and the third party, the council have agreed to maintain
confidentiality of all commercially sensitive information provided by
the third party (please note, the council acknowledges this is a
consideration only and does not confer the right of absolute
confidentiality under EIR legislation)
* The fact that when releasing information under the legislation it is
considered releasing information to the public as a whole, which
therefore includes direct competitors of the third party
* The fact both the council and the third party have a right to
negotiate for the best economic outcome of this or any development
free from external prejudice and potential competitive scrutiny
* The fact that the third party will have an ongoing interest in this
site and should the calculations, analyses and assessments be
released, it is very likely to prejudice any future negotiations, such
as disposals and sub-lettings, in relation to this development which
will be very detrimental to the competitive negotiating position of
the third party and, subsequently, prejudice the viability of the
development as a whole
* The fact that to reveal this information would be likely to put the
third party at a competitive disadvantage in the future against rival
developers in similar markets

It is the council’s assertion that the factors in favour of withholding
this very sensitive commercial information outweigh the factors in favour
of release and therefore, in accordance with Regulation 14 of the
Environmental Information Regulations 2004 this letter acts as a Refusal

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your
request and wish to make an appeal for a review of our decision, please
write to the:

Corporate Freedom of Information officer
The Governance team (2^nd Floor)
PO Box 64529
Email: [1][Southwark Borough Council request email]

If you are not content with the outcome your appeal, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the
Information Commissioner cannot make a decision unless you have first
exhausted our internal appeal procedure and you should contact him within
2 months of the outcome of your internal appeal.

Further information on the Environmental Information Regulations is
available through the Information Commissioner at the:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Cheshire.  SK9 5AF
Telephone: 01625 545 700
Internet: [2]www.ico.gov.uk

Kind regards,
Laura Wannop

Departmental coordinator
Chief executive's department
5th floor, hub 4
PO Box 64529, London SE1P 5LX
160 Tooley Street, London SE1 2QH


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