Financial viability of The Splash and other issues.

The request was successful.

Dear East Devon District Council,

I would like to make a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. I am also making this Request under the Environmental Impact Regulations 2004.

In ‘ The Splash’ consultation document, East Devon District Council, gave a thoroughly unambiguous undertaking that there would be ‘no residential accommodation’ (holiday or hotel aside) on any part of the Queen's Drive site on Exmouth Seafront.

The planning application form also confirmed that there would be no house losses or gains.

A local developer has expressed grave doubts as to the financial viability of the latest (Moirai) proposals which include ‘residential’. Further he expressed the view that without residential, as in the case of the original published proposals, the proposal would have been a complete non-starter from a financial perspective and should have readily been recognised as such.

Question 1. Please advise me as to what information East Devon District Council holds with regard to the financial viability of all versions of proposed developments for Queen's Drive.

Question 2. Specifically, what expert advice/evidence did East Devon District Council have to support and promote the initial proposal, in which there was ‘no residential’, as an accurate, sound and viable financial proposition? What evidence is there that the council’s promise of ‘no residential’ was both a sincere and financially sound statement to make?

Question 3. Does East Devon District Council propose to offer any form of financial assistance towards any part of the Queens Drive development? Please supply full details of any such proposals.

Question 4. What was the reasoning behind East Devon District Council’s acceptance and support for the Moirai proposals, which include residential when they (EDDC) had specified 'no residential'? Did the brief to potential developers specify 'no residential' ? If not then why not? Why was Moirai's proposal embraced by council and not rejected as exceeding the brief in relation the council’s promise, to Exmouth residents, of ‘no residential’ ?

Question 5. Has East Devon District Council given any thought as to what S106 (or equivalent) contributions it will expect from the developers? Please provide fullest l details. If not, then why not?

Yours faithfully,

tim todd

Dear East Devon District Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of East Devon District Council's handling of my FOI request 'Financial viability of The Splash and other issues.'.

As is all too often the case, your undertaking to comply with the statutory requirements with regard to responding to an FOI request, has proved meaningless. This request, and others, are overdue.

Kindly comply with the Act and provide a promt response that addresses my questions.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/f...

Yours faithfully,

tim todd

tim todd left an annotation ()

This is now subject of a complaint to the ICO - EDDC have not responded to the request or to the request fo internal review. This may be due to the fact that any proper answers will be extreemly relevant to The Splash development debate.

P Freeman left an annotation ()

This may be due to the fact that the current EDDC leadership want to keep their agendas secret, do not want to be open and transparent and accountable, and so:

Pick and choose what FoI requests to answer; and

Give incomplete answers or answers which do not match the questions asked; and

For key / critical issues (presumably where they have stuff to hide or to delay until too late) they will fight tooth and nail to avoid disclosing the information.

They do not appear to be worried that they frequently break the law, and all recent complaints to the ICO have been (at least partially) upheld. Then when they are criticised by the regulators, they give the review of their actions to the person most likely responsible in order to ensure that the resulting report is a whitewash.

Henry Gordon Lennox, East Devon District Council

1 Attachment

Mr Todd

 

I am sorry that you feel dissatisfied with our response to your request
for information. I will deal with each of your numbered points in turn
below:

 

Question 1. Please advise me as to what information East Devon District
Council holds with regard to the financial viability of all versions of
proposed developments for Queen's Drive.
The Council holds a report produced by Jones Lang LaSalle which outlines
development and viability appraisals. The report considers detailed site
valuations and, at this point in time, is considered to be commercially
confidential and exempt from disclosure under regulation 12(5)(e) of the
Environmental Information Regulations..

Question 2. Specifically, what expert advice/evidence did East Devon
District Council have to support and promote the initial proposal, in
which there was ‘no residential’, as an accurate, sound and viable
financial proposition? What evidence is there that the council’s promise
of ‘no residential’ was both a sincere and financially sound statement to
make?
We hold expert advice in the form of a report produced by Jones Lang
LaSalle. The report considers site valuations and, at this point in time,
is considered to be commercially confidential and exempt from disclosure
under regulation 12(5)(e) of the Environmental Information Regulations.

Question 3. Does East Devon District Council propose to offer any form of
financial assistance towards any part of the Queens Drive development?
Please supply full details of any such proposals.
The Council has agreed that it would fund the costs of the road and car
park upfront in order to enable the first proposals for the southern area
of the site to make progress.  This is in the expectation that the income
received from the developer for the remainder of the site ought to cover
these costs. Detail of Cabinet’s decision can be read here
[1]http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/1465844/07.... Parts of
the report have been redacted on the grounds of commercial confidentiality
and are exempt from disclosure under regulation 12(5)(e) of the
Environmental Information Regulations.

Question 4. What was the reasoning behind East Devon District Council’s
acceptance and support for the Moirai proposals, which include residential
when they (EDDC) had specified 'no residential'? Did the brief to
potential developers specify 'no residential' ? If not then why not? Why
was Moirai's proposal embraced by council and not rejected as exceeding
the brief in relation the council’s promise, to Exmouth  residents, of ‘no
residential’ ?

The brief to developers has been posted to you separately. The attached
Cabinet report also outlines the reasons. You may also like to read some
information which has recently been published on our website which deals
specifically with the question of residential land-use in the context of
this development
[2]http://eastdevon.gov.uk/regeneration-pro....
Otherwise you are asking for explanation which we are not required to
answer in the context of this request.

Question 5. Has East Devon District Council given any thought as to what
S106 (or equivalent) contributions it will expect from the developers?
Please provide fullest l details. If not, then why not?

No information held.

 

I am sorry that your request was not responded to within stated
timescales. As you will be aware, we have recently increased the resource
dedicated to dealing with information provision and we are working hard to
ensure that all requests are dealt with promptly. I hope the information
recently published online regarding this development also helps to deal
with some of your concerns.

 

If you remain dissatisfied with our response to your request, you do have
the right to refer the matter to the Information Commissioner
[3]www.ico.gov.uk, although I understand you may well have already done
this.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

HENRY GORDON LENNOX

 

Monitoring Officer

East Devon District Council

Tel: 01395 517401

Ext: 2601

Email: [email address]

 

References

Visible links
1. http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/1465844/07...
2. http://eastdevon.gov.uk/regeneration-pro...
3. http://www.ico.gov.uk/

P Freeman left an annotation ()

Requested 7 December 2015.
Answered (if the response can be considered an answer) on 9 March 2016.

This therefore took a total of 64 working-days against a legal requirement to answer within 20 working-days.

I hope a complaint about both timing and contents will be made to the ICO.

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