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Empty Council owned properties

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Dear Babergh District Council

1.Please state how many council owned properties in the Babergh & Mid-Suffolk are currently empty.
2. Please list them.

Yours faithfully,

Ms Rochele Mutton

BMSDC Data Protection,

Dear Madam,

Freedom of Information/Environmental Information Regulations request

Thank you for your request to Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils dated 19 February 2019. Your request will be answered within 20 working days.

If you have any queries about this request do not hesitate to contact us. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

Yours sincerely,

Data Protection
Tel: 0300 1234000 Email: [email address]
www.babergh.gov.uk www.midsuffolk.gov.uk
Babergh & Mid Suffolk District Councils - Working Together
Endeavour House, 8 Russell Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 2BX

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BMSDC Data Protection,

Dear Ms Mutton,

 

We refer to your recent request for information.

 

Request:

 

1.Please state how many council owned properties in the Babergh &
Mid-Suffolk are currently empty.

2. Please list them.

 

Response:

 

1. Babergh District Council: 38; Mid Suffolk District Council: 42

2. With regard to your request for the addresses of these properties,
which information is held by Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils,
the councils are applying the Freedom of Information Act 2000 exemption
below and withholding the address information for the reasons stated.

 

Section 31(1)(a) the prevention or detection of crime:

 

A local authority may use this exemption to withhold information that
would make anyone, including the public authority itself, more vulnerable
to crime.  The councils by carrying out a harm test believe that by
releasing the full details of empty properties harm would result in the
following ways:

1)           The empty properties and other adjacent properties being 
subjected to illegal damage, theft and squatting.

2)           In the case of illegal squatting this would lead to the
councils paying for, and hence the public purse covering, the cost of
removing those people illegally occupying the councils’ properties and for
any subsequent costs associated with repairs or replacement of stolen
objects and fittings.

3)           Theft of Electricity would occur by those illegally occupying
the councils’ properties resulting in costs to the public purse in terms
of legal costs and payment to utility companies.

4)           Lack of availability of housing for potential tenants.

 

When applying this exemption the Councils are required to carry out a
public interest test, please see below the points considered:

 

Public interest factors in not releasing the information requested for
council house addresses

 

•            It is in the public interest for public authorities to
protect society from the impact of crime.

•            It is in the Public interest to protect Local Government
assets as they are funded by the public.

•            It is in the  public interest to  protect individuals from
the impact of crime.

•            It is in the public interest to avoid the social costs of
crime: this category of criminal damage would reduce the quality of life
in the areas containing the councils’ homes and neighbours would live in
fear of further crime being committed.

 

Public interest factors in  releasing the information requested  for
council house addresses

 

•            Local Authority accountability and transparency to the public
about the use of public assets.

•            Legitimate public interest in the subject of empty council
accommodation.

•            To allay any public concern there is not an efficient use of
council housing.

 

After weighing both sides of the above public interest arguments the
councils find it is in the public interest that the exemption to release
the addresses of empty council properties should be applied.

 

The information supplied to you continues to be protected by the
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. You are free to use it for your
own purposes, including any non-commercial research you are doing and for
the purposes of news reporting.  Please contact us if you wish to re-use
the information for commercial purposes so that the appropriate licence
can be issued (in some instances a fee will be payable).  Additionally,
you must ensure that you gain permission before reproducing any third
party (non Babergh/Mid Suffolk District Council copyright) information.

 

If you are unhappy with this response you may request an internal review
of this matter via the Council’s corporate complaints procedure.  If,
after an internal review, you are still unhappy with the decision, you
have a right of appeal to the Information Commissioner at the following
address: Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF  Tel: 01625 545 745 Email:
[email address].

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Data Protection

Tel: 0300 1234000

Email: [email address]

www.babergh.gov.uk  www.midsuffolk.gov.uk

Babergh & Mid Suffolk District Councils - Working Together

Endeavour House, 8 Russell Road, Ipswich IP1 2BX

 

Emails sent to and from this organisation will be monitored in accordance
with the law to ensure compliance with policies and to minimize any
security risks. The information contained in this email or any of its
attachments may be privileged or confidential and is intended for the
exclusive use of the addressee. Any unauthorised use may be unlawful. If
you receive this email by mistake, please advise the sender immediately by
using the reply facility in your email software. Opinions, conclusions and
other information in this email that do not relate to the official
business of Babergh District Council and/or Mid Suffolk District Council
shall be understood as neither given nor endorsed by Babergh District
Council and/or Mid Suffolk District Council.

Babergh District Council and Mid Suffolk District Council (BMSDC) will be
Data Controllers of the information you are providing. As required by the
Data Protection Act 2018 the information will be kept safe, secure,
processed and only shared for those purposes or where it is allowed by
law. In some circumstances however we may need to disclose your personal
details to a third party so that they can provide a service you have
requested, or fulfil a request for information. Any information about you
that we pass to a third party will be held securely by that party, in
accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and used only to provide the
services or information you have requested.
For more information on how we do this and your rights in regards to your
personal information and how to access it, visit our website.

Dear BMSDC Data Protection,

Thank you for providing the given information, however can you please provide the towns/villages in which these empty properties reside. For example,
Bramford , needham market e.t.c

Yours sincerely,

Rochele Mutton

BMSDC Data Protection,

Dear Ms Mutton,

Unfortunately we cannot provide this information as some of the villages are very small and therefore properties could be identified relatively easily.

Kind regards,

Data Protection
Tel: 0300 1234000
Email: [email address]
www.babergh.gov.uk www.midsuffolk.gov.uk
Babergh & Mid Suffolk District Councils - Working Together
Endeavour House, 8 Russell Road, Ipswich IP1 2BX

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Dear BMSDC Data Protection,

Thank you for your response, however I am aware that a list of empty properties(with information I have requested I.e village and road names) was sent out in 2015 (by Jennifer Green) via Whatdotheyknow and would like to just ask why it is not possible to obtain them now? please also can you provide me with the dates each empty property has been vacant.

Yours sincerely,

Rochele Mutton

BMSDC Data Protection,

Dear Ms Mutton,

Thank you for your email, we will get back to you shortly.

Kind regards,

Data Protection
Tel: 0300 1234000
Email: [email address]
www.babergh.gov.uk www.midsuffolk.gov.uk
Babergh & Mid Suffolk District Councils - Working Together
Endeavour House, 8 Russell Road, Ipswich IP1 2BX

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