Dear Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council,
In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, could you please provide me with a list of of the long term empty residential properties within the Walsall Borough and include the ownership details for said properties.
Dear Manj Bagri,
Freedom of Information Request RFI-0459-19
Further to your request for information about Empty Properties, I can tell
you the following:
In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, could you please
provide me with a list of the long term empty residential properties
within the Walsall Borough and include the ownership details for said
I can confirm that the Council considers that the information is exempt
under Section 31(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act as the release of
it would be likely to prejudice the prevention or detection of crime. In
the view of the council, disclosure of addresses would leave the
properties more vulnerable to potential squatters and other criminal
activity such as theft and vandalism.
With reference to Judge Henderson’s comment, this comment was made in a
hearing in 2011, the issue of releasing empty property addresses has been
investigated since then by the Information Commissioners Office where a
more recent decision notice was released (please see below link).
This decision is based on a proven threat to the prevention of crime and
has been agreed in previous decisions of the Information Commissioner’s
Office and Section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of
Offenders Act 2012 which criminalises squatting; Decision notice
Section 31 is a qualified exemption, meaning it is subject to the public
interest test. The information can only be withheld if the public interest
in withholding it outweighs the public interest in releasing it.
Most of the information that we provide in response to Freedom of
Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004
requests will be subject to copyright protection. In most cases the
copyright will be owned by Walsall Council. The copyright in respect of
other information may be owned by another person or organisation, as
You are free to use any information supplied to you in response to this
request for your own non-commercial research or private study purposes.
The information may also be used for any other purpose allowed by a
limitation or exception in copyright law, such as news reporting.
However, any other type of re-use, for example by publishing the
information in analogue or digital form, including on the internet, will
require the permission of the copyright owner.
I hope that the information provided is useful to you. However, if you are
dissatisfied, you should set out in writing your grounds for complaint and
send to: Corporate Assurance Manager, Resources & Transformation, Civic
Centre, Darwall Street, Walsall, WS1 1TP.
If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for a decision.
Please remember that, generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you
have first exhausted the complaints procedure provided by the council. The
Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9
Assurance Team, Resources and Transformation
Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council,
Walsall, WS1 1DG
Tel: 0800 0856 018
Email: [Walsall Council request email]
Service area: walsall.gov.uk/ Information Governance and Assurance
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1. Link to decision notice
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