Empty Properties List

Phillip made this Freedom of Information request to Stoke on Trent City Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by Stoke on Trent City Council.

Dear Stoke on Trent City Council,

I am looking for a list of long term empty property lists within the councils area. I'm particularly looking for empty homes owned by individuals or businesses that I could purchase, renovate and bring back to use. Would you be able to supply me with these under the Freedom of Information Act? A spreadsheet will suffice, I require no personal information simply the property address.

Yours faithfully,

Phillip

FOI, Stoke on Trent City Council

Dear Phillip

 

Your request for information ref SOT63716

 

We have now considered your request for information and although we do
hold all the information that you have asked for, unfortunately some of it
is exempt under section Section 31 (Law Enforcement) and Section 38
(Health and Safety) of the Act and will not be provided.

 

Section 31(1)(a) (Law Enforcement) allows a public authority to withhold
information if its release would, or would be likely to, prejudice the
prevention or detection of crime. This exemption has been applied to the
individual flat/house numbers which are empty. This is because once the
information has been released we have no control over who the information
will be passed to and the information could be used to target empty
properties for crime, such as theft, vandalism, arson or squatting.

 

It is considered that the public interest in withholding information about
these empty properties is stronger than the public interest in disclosing
it. This is because it is not in the public interest to make available
information that could be used to commit a crime.  Additionally the
Council considers that the impact of these properties being targeted could
have a damaging effect to the local neighbourhood which is not in the
public interest.

 

Section 38(1)(b) (endanger of the safety of any individual) allows a
public authority to withhold information if its release would, or would be
likely to, endanger the safety of any individual.

 

This exemption has also been applied to the individual flat/house numbers
which are empty.  This is because the council considers that disclosure
may lead to the risk of individual safety, with respect to individuals
entering buildings in order to conduct crime.

 

The public interest considerations are similar to those above for section
31, but in addition it is not considered in the public interest to release
information which could ultimately jeopardise the safety of any
individuals

 

In considering the two exemptions above, the City of Stoke-on-Trent has
had first-hand experience of an incident, where an empty property, in this
case an empty commercial property (warehouse) was set fire to purposely. 
Two homeless people had been sleeping rough in the building, and sadly
they both died as a result of the fire.  Please find the article which
documents this case attached below:

 

http://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/Arson-tri...

[1]http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/staff...

 

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your
request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision,
you should write to: The Information Rights Manager, Information Rights
Team, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Floor 2, Civic Centre, Glebe Street,
ST4 1HH, or email [2][Stoke on Trent City Council request email].

 

If, after contacting us, you are not content with the outcome, you may ask
the Information Commissioner for a decision. Before doing this, please see
the following link for guidance from the Information Commissioner relating
to how to use your information rights responsibly and effectively, to
enable you to gain the best outcome from the process -
[3]http://ico.org.uk/for_the_public.

 

Generally, the Information Commissioner cannot make a decision unless you
have already used our internal review procedure. The Information
Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF, tel: 0303 123
1113 or you can visit their website at [4]www.ico.gov.uk/complaints.aspx.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Information Rights Team

 

Information Rights

City of Stoke-on-Trent

Floor 2 Civic Centre Glebe Street Stoke-on-Trent ST4 1HH

T: 01782 232853, 01782 233020, 01782 233732, 01782 235965

E: [5][Stoke on Trent City Council request email]

 

Request

 

Dear Stoke on Trent City Council,

 

I am looking for a list of long term empty property lists within the
councils area. I'm particularly looking for empty homes owned by
individuals or businesses that I could purchase, renovate and bring back
to use. Would you be able to supply me with these under the Freedom of
Information Act? A spreadsheet will suffice, I require no personal
information simply the property address.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Phillip

 

 
 

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References

Visible links
1. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/staff...
2. mailto:[Stoke on Trent City Council request email]
3. http://ico.org.uk/for_the_public
4. http://www.ico.gov.uk/complaints.aspx
5. mailto:[Stoke on Trent City Council request email]