Fitz Architect

Michael made this Freedom of Information request to Sunderland City Council

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

The request was refused by Sunderland City Council.

Dear Sunderland City Council,
Fitz Architect Design and Access statement simply says (One of Fitz Architects main aims is to provide access for all, within all of the buildings we design) There is no level street access to the proposed elevated planned housing and no statement as to how these properties will be accessible to all. WHY?

There is no access statement regarding access to the proposed planned office or how this office can be accessible to all. In fact there is no access statement can I ask why?

Fitz Architect office plan shows 8 work stations and a conference area but only one toilet - this does not comply with HSE guidance which clearly states that over 6 staff requires two toilets and the needs of the disabled should always be taken into consideration. As a wheelchair user am I totally excluded from any employment opportunities within this office?

As a prospective client how do I enter this office?

Will there be a disabled parking bay under this office?

Why were these plans approved without an access statement?

Was it that no actually read what was titled the design and ACCESS statement submitted?

Yours faithfully,

Michael

Solicitor - Freedom of Information, Sunderland City Council

Re: Freedom of Information Act 2000

Your request for information concerning: Fitz Architects

I confirm that your request for information has been received and is receiving attention.

The Council aims to provide available information promptly, and in any event within 20 working days, unless, exceptionally, there is a need to consider whether the information is exempt from disclosure. Please note that there may be a charge for providing copies of the information. If the cost of complying with your request in full exceeds £450, we will ask you to reconsider your request, or to pay a fee before the information is supplied. If a charge or fee is payable we will let you know.

I will contact you again soon in connection with your request.

Please quote the reference below if you contact the Council regarding this request.

Yours sincerely,

[email address]

Customer Request Number: 130666

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OCEFOI, Sunderland City Council

Dear Michael

Thank you for your FOI Request 130666 relating to Fitz Architect.

As the Council receives a number of planning applications from Fitz Architects on an annual basis, could you please confirm to which planning application you are referring in your email below so that we can reply accordingly. We will not be able to process your FOI request until we receive this clarification.

Kind Regards

Steve Hanratty
Business Development Manager
Office Of The Chief Executive
Sunderland City Council
Tel: 0191 5617808
www.sunderland.gov.uk

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Dear OCEFOI,
Reference: 13/00249/FUL

Yours sincerely,

Michael

OCEFOI, Sunderland City Council

Dear Michael

Thank you for the clarification. Your FOI Request can now be progressed and you shall receive a response within due course.

Kind Regards

Steve Hanratty
Business Development Manager
Office Of The Chief Executive
Sunderland City Council
Tel: 0191 5617808
www.sunderland.gov.uk

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Dear OCEFOI,
Thank You
Yours sincerely,

Michael

OCEFOI, Sunderland City Council

Dear Michael

 

In the first instance it would be beneficial to explain the general right
of access provisions which are encompassed by the Freedom of Information
Act 2000. Section 1 of the Act states that any person who makes a request
to a public authority is entitled to be in informed in writing whether it
holds the information of the description specified in the request and if
that is the case to have the information communicated to them. With regard
to your recent request for information under the Freedom of Information
Act 2000, we have answered the questions where there is actually recorded
information available.

 

For the remainder of the questions, these will be treated as general
enquiries and will be responded to by the relevant Council Officer in due
course. The responses to your questions are therefore detailed below:

 

1. Fitz Architect Design and Access statement simply says (One of Fitz
Architects main aims is to provide access for all, within all of the
buildings we design) There is no level street access to the proposed
elevated planned housing and no statement as to how these properties will
be accessible to all. WHY?

A Design and Access Statement (DAS) is a succinct report accompanying and
supporting an application to illustrate the process that has led to the
development proposal, and to explain the proposal in a structured way. The
level of detail required in a DAS depends on the scale and complexity of
the application and should be proportionate to the complexity of the
application. With reference to the ‘access’ element of the statement it is
important to note that this component relates only to ‘access to the
development’ such as public transport, general traffic and roads. It does
not extend to internal aspects of the development.

 

With specific reference to the Design and Access Statement which
accompanied the planning application in question I can confirm that having
reviewed this document it is evident that the author was aware of the
distinct difference between the development plan and its associated
policies and the Marine Walk Supplementary Planning Document. In
particular, the pages titled ‘Marine Walk Masterplan, Development
Parameters pg1 & 2’ of the statement makes specific reference to the
development plan (UDP) and the fact that the Marine Walk Master Plan is a
supplementary planning document. Therefore, it is apparent from the
content of the Design and Access Statement that Fitz architects understand
the hierarchy of planning policy in this area that being the development
plan as adopted planning policy and the Marine Walk Masterplan as adopted
supplementary planning guidance which aims to support and complement the
development plan.

 

2. There is no access statement regarding access to the proposed planned
office or how this office can be accessible to all. In fact there is no
access statement can I ask why?

See the above response to Question 1.

 

3. Fitz Architect office plan shows 8 work stations and a conference area
but only one toilet - this does not comply with HSE guidance which clearly
states that over 6 staff requires two toilets and the needs of the
disabled should always be taken into consideration. As a wheelchair user
am I totally excluded from any employment opportunities within this
office?

I would like to stress that the purpose of the planning system and
planning control is to manage the development of land and buildings, this
includes development in, on, over or under land (including changes of
use). In general planning legislation is concerned with the number, size,
layout, siting and external appearance of buildings, as well as the
proposed use of the development. Matters relating to the provision of
disabled facilities within a building are more appropriately covered by
the Building Control regime under Part M of The Building Control
Regulation 2010 (as amended). South Tyneside Building Control Department
has been appointed by Fitz Architects to assess compliance with Part M of
the Building Control Regulation 2010 therefore any questions relating to
Building Control Approval should therefore be addressed to that
organisation. Please note however that should the requirements of the
Building Control Regulations bring about external physical changes to the
approved development then the applicant, and or their agent, may be
required to submit a new planning application to address those matters
which were not previously approved.

 

4. As a prospective client how do I enter this office?

There is no recorded information available for this question therefore
this will be answered in due course as part of a general enquiry response.

 

5. Will there be a disabled parking bay under this office?

The parking space under the office is intended for private use only.

 

6. Why were these plans approved without an access statement?

The Design and Access statement can be accessed on line through the
Planning Public Access website which can be found via the following
hyperlink
-[1]http://www.sunderland.gov.uk/online-appl....
See the above response to Question 1.

 

7. Was it that no actually read what was titled the design and ACCESS
statement submitted?

See the above response to Question 1. We would therefore disagree with
your assumption.

 

I hope this is satisfactory.  If, however, you are dissatisfied with our
response to your request for information, you can ask for the decision to
be reviewed in reply to this letter.  The review will be removed from the
Directorate and coordinated by the Council’s Information Governance
Officer.   A request for review should be directed, by email to
[2][Sunderland City Council request email], by post or by hand addressed to;
Information Governance Officer, Governance Services, Civic Centre, PO Box
100, Sunderland SR2 7DN.

 

You are of course entitled to apply to the Information Commissioner at any
time, although the Commissioner will not usually investigate until the
public authority’s internal review procedure has been concluded.

 

Kind regards

 

 

Steve Hanratty

Business Development Manager

Office Of The Chief Executive

Sunderland City Council

Tel: 0191 5617808

[3]www.sunderland.gov.uk

 

 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Darren Rigg

Sent: 24 June 2013 11:20

To: OCEFOI

Subject: FW: Freedom of Information request - Fitz Architect

 

Follow Up Flag: Follow up

Flag Status: Orange

 

You should check the following TODAY to avoid time being needlessly spent
on preparing information

 

•           check that the information to answer this request is within
your directorate service area. If it is not, please let me know in reply
to this email so the request can be re-allocated.

 

•           estimate how much time it will take to locate, retrieve and
extract the information. If it will take more than 18hours staff time,
then it should be refused immediately as it exceeds the fees limit. Close
the request and offer advice and assistance on how the request might be
refined so it can be answered within the 18hours. 

 

•           If you will need support from Financial Resources, HR & OD or
Communications teams please forward a copy of this email to let them know
immediately. Please note however that the request remains allocated to you
and you are responsible for ensuring that an appropriate reply is issued
within the statutory time for reply.

 

This request needs responding to as soon as possible.  The 20 day rule
means the final date for response is 19th July.

 

Compliance with the timescales will be reported monthly to your DMT

Customer Request Number 130666

 

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Dear OCEFOI,

This application approval is illegal as it IS NOT in line with current building regulations. This is a reply I received from Mr Meldrum. Planning Officer Development Control Office of the Chief Executive

Whilst the issues surrounding access to the building are considered as part of the planning submission, the principles are assessed in line with advice received from Building Control who inspect the proposal in line with current building regulations.

I am advised that South Tyneside Building Control have provided all the pre-application advice and are considering the details of the plan submission / approval stage vetting, with Sunderland Building Control providing the site inspection service.

I have also been advised that detailed pre-application discussions on this scheme including the provisions for disabled access as required by The Building Regulations 2010, Approved Document M (incorporating the recent 2013 amendments) has also taken place.

With regards to your specific query I have received advice from the Building Inspector responsible for the scheme and can confirm the following;

In respect of access to the first floor accommodation, there is no legal requirement to provide a lift / lifting platform to residential units at this level (App Doc M, Section 6.1 -6.3). There is a specific legal requirement, to provide level access to ground floor residential properties only.

Nonetheless, the development must incorporate an ambulant disabled staircase giving access to the first floor units, which must be fully in accordance with App Doc M, Section 7. This requirement for the ambulant disabled staircase has been incorporated within the proposed scheme.

In general, there are provisions to incorporate a lift / lifting platform to non- residential properties. However, in this instance it is not required. LABC Services have national agreements, that non- residential units under 100m sq & incorporate no unique facilities, do not require the provision of a lift / lifting platform. Such small commercial units, as in this instance cannot justify the cost / maintenance costs for such a small facility.

In light of the above, as the proposed scheme fully complies with the requirements of App Doc M, I have been advised that there are no access related issues that would prevent Building Regulation approval being granted at this time.

As the scheme raises no concerns from a Building Regulation perspective, there is no material planning justification to refuse the application based on the provision of disabled access.

This information is incorrect please read the following.

Best Practice note on application of Building Regulations

Guide to vertical circulation in non domestic buildings

This advice note has been produced to assist members, promote good practice and encourage consistency of interpretation for the benefit of our clients. They are advisory in nature, and in all cases the responsibility for determining compliance with the Building Regulations remains with the Local Authority concerned.
This guide supersedes the technical advice note published in November 2009 Revision E, specifically where reference was previously made to the DDA this now reads Single Equalities Act 2010.
Introduction
Legislation relating to equality continues to change, most recently through the Equalities Act 2010 which encompasses access to buildings, services and employment’.
The aim of the Building Regulations (since 1985) as well as the supporting Approved Document M is to make new and altered buildings accessible to all people in order to help meet the ongoing requirements of the The Equalities Act 2010 for access to buildings, services and employment.
Whilst the requirement of the Building Regulations is for “reasonable provision to be made for people to gain access to and use the building and its facilities”, Approved Document M is very clear in recommending a lift in all buildings of two storeys or more to provide inclusive vertical circulation for all buildings users. As such every effort should be made to provide means of access that allows a person with ambulatory difficulties to move between different storeys of a building.

Key Issues
An area giving rise to differing interpretation is the requirement to provide a lift in a building.
The guidance in this document is intended to help achieve consistent decisions when determining how acceptable ‘alternative equivalent decisions’
may be when justifying the omission of a full passenger lift.
It is important to consider the ramifications of not providing a lift in relation to equality issues around employability and the potential discrimination that may result. Floor area, occupancy levels and the height of the building are significant factors, but other factors such as those discussed below also need to be considered before reaching a conclusion.
Appendix A offers a work flow approach to the decision making process.
It is the intention of Part M of the Building Regulations to assist in making the built environment accessible to all whether in accessing employment opportunities, goods or services or helping in maintaining independance. Therefore, the provision of a lift must be seen as the main solution for vertical travel.
As the guidance in Approved Document M 2000 does not include a minimum floor area to be accessed when considering the provision of a lift, it is important to recognise that whilst the provision of a passenger lift or, in certain situations a lifting platform is the recommended option, the requirement of Part M is to achieve a reasonable level of provision, and this can be achieved in a variety of ways.
All applications should be looked at on a case by case basis as each situation will be different, this being one of the main reasons for the introduction of Access Statements in 2006. It is an opportunity for designers to offer reasoned arguments that may vary on a project by project basis yet still achieve compliance with Part M.

Meeting the requirements of
Part M
In new buildings, it is anticipated that designers will, other than in exceptional cases, meet the requirements of the Building Regulations by following the guidance in Approved Document M.
In existing or extended buildings it is more likely that a case may be put forward for not meeting the requirements on full accessibility; however it is important to remember the intention of the Building Regulations is that all new and existing non-domestic buildings that are materially altered or extended are accessible to all.
In some instances on small scale developments it may be possible to adapt access provision where there is inadequate space for a passenger lift. In such cases it would be expected any alternative solutions would be supported by a full Access Statement.
In all cases the use of the building must be taken into consideration, and if there is no public access on upper or lower floors and it can be demonstrated the type of work activity precludes people with disabilities, the provision of a full passenger lift may be considered unreasonable. However, this type of decision cannot be made without knowing the intended occupancy and usage of the building. Any decision may also be influenced by possible future changes in occupancy type, therefore, any variation from Part M must be supported by an Access Statement.
Factors that may influence the
provision of or the type of lift
• Access is to one or two floors only and the area is limited
• Occupancy/floor space factors are low
• The building does not exceed 3 storeys
• Floor space does not contain a unique facility
• The constraints of the building preclude alterations, particularly if it is of historic interest
• Means of escape provision may not be achieved due to floor space/layout constraints
• Members of the public are not permitted on the floor
Nature of business precludes the use of persons with significant ambulatory difficulties
• There is effective full time management in place
• Space constraints of a site or unusual/irregular plan layout may limit provision of a lift
• All of the “unique facilities” and an accessible WC could be provided at an accessible level
• Management arrangements are in place to cater for disabled employees and visitors
• The provision of certain types of lifting devices may restrict means of escape routes i.e. stairlifts.
Remember
The first decision you should make is whether the provision of a lift is unreasonable, you may then go on to consider what other measures could be introduced. Should it be decided a lift is not reasonable the decision must be fully defensible under the The Equalities Act 2010 and other legislation. Whatever form of access is provided to floors above or below the ground floor, an ambulant disabled staircase should always be provided. This guidance is not exhaustive as each case will differ in usage, occupancy, management arrangements and other material factors. It merely gives guidance for consideration of particular situations.
Factors to consider when deciding on
the provision of lifts
In new buildings there is an “expectation” that a lift will be provided, but there may be circumstances where a reduced standard is acceptable, as in a small low rise building, or parts of buildings with low occupancy factors.
Similarly this may apply to extensions and material changes of use of buildings.
The requirement is for “reasonable” provision to be made for people to gain access to and use the building and its facilities. This allows for a variation of the requirements in cases where the provision of a lift might be considered unduly onerous.
The following are examples of different ways that might show compliance with Part M.
• Full passenger lift plus at least one ambulant disabled stair (Ideal)
• Platform lift or access to a goods lift plus at least one ambulant disabled stair
• Wheelchair platform stair-lift plus at least one ambulant disabled stair
• Single folding seat stair-lift plus at least one ambulant disabled stair
• At least one ambulant disabled stair or ramp (Minimum )
• At least one ambulant disabled stair and allowance for a future lift.
In every case where a full passenger lift is not to be installed, the “Access Statement” should state the reasons why, and include what other facilities are being provided.
Whilst a small floor area or low occupancy may be a major reason why the provision of a lift is not reasonable, any judgment should not be made solely on these factors, as there may be other over-riding reasons to require a lift.
If after reasoned deliberation it is decided not to install a lift, provision for future easy installation should be recommended. Whilst a building may be considered too small for a lift at present, if it is later extended, the requirement for a lift may apply and therefore a future installation through a removable section of floor in a suitable location would be a clear advantage. This circumstance may only be relevant where the use of the floor is limited and the business process would tend to suggest that an individual either would not need to access the floor in question or could not be employed on that floor due to the nature of the business. Any future change in the use of a building could utilise any structural openings in the floor to install an appropriate lifting mechanism. At all times it is important to consider whether the lack of any mechanical vertical circulation will prejudice any of the buildings users or occupants.
The provision of at least one ambulant disabled stair is considered to be the minimum standard of accessibility for the purposes of this document, in addition to whatever other method of vertical circulation is provided.
In all cases a combination of the following will be required to justify not providing a full passenger lift. Additional facilities, guidance or signage may be required where a full passenger lift is not provided.

Conclusion
It is important to take account of other key matters when considering alternative means of vertical access to ensure you do not reduce the effectiveness or ongoing viability of the building or service and also not create a legally indefensible position for the designer, building owner or service provider.
These should include:
• The ongoing duties and requirements of the The Equalities Act 2010 and other equality legislation
• Loss of, or reduced Public/Government grant funding for the business or service
• Achievement of an ‘Inclusive’ design and equality of access to employment and services
• Versatility in the current and future uses of the building
• Not restricting employment opportunities for people with ambulatory disabilities.

This planning approval is based on incorrect information
Conclusion
It is our view that the approved development is not inclusive and
• that the lack of access will significantly disadvantage many disabled people
• make it very difficult for service providers and employers to meet their obligations under the Single Equalities Act and defend any claims made against them.
• does not provide equality of access to employment and services.
• restricts employment opportunities for people with ambulatory disabilities.
• does not meet the council policies regarding access for disabled people and the Design and Access statement does not describe how the proposal meets the councils policies or any justification for not doing so .
• is not compliant with the Building Regulations Approved Document M and associated guidance documents.

Will the planning department now demand compliance with relevant legislation?

Will the approval be overturned and removed form this planned development?

Will the plans for the development be required resubmitted in full to the LPA?

Yours sincerely,

Michael

OCEFOI, Sunderland City Council

Dear Michael

I acknowledge receipt of your email requesting additional information in relation to FOI 130666 and confirm an officer of the Council will respond in due course.

Kind Regards

Steve Hanratty
Business Development Manager
Office Of The Chief Executive
Sunderland City Council
Tel: 0191 5617808
www.sunderland.gov.uk

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Julia Harper, Sunderland City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Michael

 

I refer to your email dated 19 July, regarding questions relating to the
planning application process and am now able to respond as follows on
behalf of the planning service:

 

This planning approval is based on incorrect information

Conclusion

It is our view that the approved development is not inclusive and

• that the lack of access will significantly disadvantage many disabled
people

• make it very difficult for service providers and employers to meet their
obligations under the Single Equalities Act and defend any claims made
against them.

• does not provide equality of access to employment and services.

• restricts employment opportunities for people with ambulatory
disabilities.

• does not meet the council policies regarding access for disabled people
and the Design and Access statement does not describe how the proposal
meets the councils policies or any justification for not doing so .

• is not compliant with the Building Regulations Approved Document M and
associated guidance documents.

We note your comments, however we cannot agree with them.  Our
interpretation is that your comments are presumptions, based on the
Planning Application and as previously explained, matters relating to the
provision of disabled facilities within a building are more appropriately
covered by the Building Control regime under Part M of The Building
Control Regulation 2010 (as amended).  

 

May I also refer to our response to your previous enquiry relating to the
Design and Access Statement:

“A Design and Access Statement (DAS) is a succinct report accompanying and
supporting an application to illustrate the process that has led to the
development proposal, and to explain the proposal in a structured way. The
level of detail required in a DAS depends on the scale and complexity of
the application and should be proportionate to the complexity of the
application. With reference to the ‘access’ element of the statement it is
important to note that this component relates only to ‘access to the
development’ such as public transport, general traffic and roads. It does
not extend to internal aspects of the development.” 

 

The Access Statement to which you refer to in your correspondence is a
separate document to the Design and Access Statement.  The Access
Statement is provided for Building Control purposes and is required for
Building Control approval where appropriate.  South Tyneside Building
Control Department has been appointed by Fitz Architects to assess
compliance with Part M of the Building Control Regulation 2010. 
Therefore, any questions relating to Building Control Approval should
therefore be addressed to that organisation.

 

Will the planning department now demand compliance with relevant
legislation?

The Planning Application accords with relevant planning legislation.

 

Will the approval be overturned and removed form this planned development?

No.  The Planning Application accords with relevant planning legislation.

 

Will the plans for the development be required resubmitted in full to the
LPA?

No.  However, should the requirements of the Building Control Regulations
bring about external physical changes to the approved development then the
applicant, and or their agent, may be required to submit a new planning
application to address those matters which were not previously approved.

 

Kind regards

 

Julia Harper

Business Development Officer

Office of the Chief Executive

Sunderland City Council

Room 3.92 - Civic Centre

Sunderland

SR2 7DN

Tel: 0191 5611573 

Email: [1][email address

 

 

[2]Proud - Decent - Together

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. file:///tmp/foiextract20190215-2096-12qkzhg#Map

Dear Julia Harper,
I disagree with your reply and request an internal review on all the questions I have asked in light of the following information.

National Planning Policy Framework

Inclusive design: Designing the built environment, including buildings and their surrounding spaces, to ensure that they can be accessed and used by everyone.

61. Although visual appearance and the architecture of individual buildings are very important factors, securing high quality and inclusive design goes beyond aesthetic considerations. Therefore, planning policies and decisions should address the connections between people and places and the integration of new development into the natural, built and historic environment.

Planning and access for disabled people: a good practice guide

Summary
The primary objective of this guide is to ensure the planning system in England successfully and consistently delivers inclusive environments as an integral part of the development process. An inclusive environment is one that can be used by everyone, regardless of age, gender or disability.

Foreword
The Government is fully committed to an inclusive society in which nobody is disadvantaged. An important part of delivering this commitment is breaking down unnecessary physical barriers and exclusions imposed on disabled people by poor design of buildings and places. Too often the needs of disabled people are considered late in the day and separately from the needs of others.

Yours sincerely,

Michael

Dear Julia Harper,
FYI planning guidance for planning officers to read and use!!!

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/sy...

Yours sincerely,

Michael

Julia Harper, Sunderland City Council

I am out of the office until Tuesday 20 August 2013 and will respond to
any emails upon my return.

If your email relates to Freedom of Information Requests, please redirect
to [email address].

Kind Regards

Julia Harper

[1]Proud - Decent - Together

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/foiextract20190215-2096-s59l3y#Map

OCEFOI, Sunderland City Council

Dear Michael

I acknowledge receipt of your email dated 17 August 2013.

Kind regards

Julia Harper
Business Development Officer
Office of the Chief Executive
Sunderland City Council
Room 3.92 - Civic Centre
Sunderland
SR2 7DN
Tel: 0191 5611573
Email: [email address]

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Dear Sunderland City Council,

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

I have request an internal review of Sunderland City Council's handling of my FOI request 'Fitz Architect'.

I have not received a reply as yet. Can you please reply?

I note from replies to other requests for information on the same development that Sunderland Council are grouping all requests for information together and classing them all as vexatious. Is this because Sunderland Council cannot provide the information requested without admission that the council did not consider the Equality Act 2010 while considering this planning application?

The public sector Equality Duty section 149 of the Act informs what duties have to be followed by council officials.

I also note Sunderland council has recognised that the Fitz proposal will not directly
 deliver the aspirations of objective 6 of the Masterplan. To create an area which is physically and intellectually
 accessible. Now that Sunderland Council has admitted that the aspirations of the area will not be physically and intellectually 
accessible what does Sunderland council propose to do to make it so. As is a requirement of the Equality Act 2010?

If Sunderland Council decides that my request for information is also vexatious please provide me your reasoning for doing so following the guidance of ICO. Dealing with vexatious requests (section 14)

Regards M. Edge

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,

Michael

Solicitor - Freedom of Information, Sunderland City Council

Dear Mr Edge
Having reviewed the correspondence against this reference on
whatdotheyknow.com, it is apparent that you have been provided with a
volume of information, primarily based on professional' knowledge and
opinion, rather than extracted from recorded information. If you believe
there is recorded information on any particular issue in the chain of
correspondence that has not been supplied please identify this.
If, however, your request is in fact for professional opinion on the
issues you raised, or interpretation of statute or guidance, I must make
it clear that, unless that opinion is already contained in a council
record, it cannot be made available under freedom of information
provisions.
Kind regards
Rhiannon Hood

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Len Lowther left an annotation ()

To view response from differing government departments on this illegal development follow this link.
http://www.scribd.com/mobile/doc/173425130

Dear Solicitor - Freedom of Information,
Firstly I apologise for the late response but I have been moving home. Thank you for your reply and I must state, I agree with you. The replies I have received thus far are primarily based on professional' knowledge and opinion, rather than extracted from recorded information. Some of the opinions I have received have been incorrect and exasperated the correspondence. I am requesting information on recorded facts, not opinion of the relevant legislation.

My particular issue is the legality of the planning approval of this proposed development. The plans submitted show no level access into the ground floor retail units or the public outdoor seating area? No lift provided for access to the 240 sq meters of office space at first floor level.

The delegated report decision reports on page 12 reports that.
In general, there are provisions to incorporate a lift / lifting platform to non-residential properties. However in this instance it is not required. LABC Services have national agreements that non residential units under 100sq and incorporate no unique facilities, do not require the provision of a lift / lifting platform. Such small commercial units, as in this instance cannot justify the costs / maintenance costs for such a small facility.

Page 14, notwithstanding the submitted plans no more than 240sq meters of the available 450 sq meters of internal floor space at first floor level shall be used for the purpose of use class B 1 (OFFICE USE)

Therefore a lift is required and this delegated report should be considered under the terms of maladministration. The officer argued the case not to require a lift by stating the first floor office space was under 100 sq. meters then approved 240 sq. meters of first floor office space?

Sunderland City Council undertakes Equality Impact Assessments (EIA) on new and existing services, functions, major projects and policies to demonstrate equality in everything it does. In keeping with this policy the Marine Walk masterplan has been subject to a full EIA which will be continually reviewed and updated as the project develops.

Planning application requirements:

A Design and Access Statement indicating how the proposal fulfils the requirements of this masterplan.

A Transportation Assessment and Travel Plan

A Sustainability Statement including energy assessment and renewable energy study

A Consultation Statement

A Noise Assessment

A site investigation report to assess ground stability and the potential for mine gas in accordance with PPG14

A Flood Risk Assessment to assess the risks of all forms of flooding to and from development in accordance with PPS25

A landscape design strategy

A health impact assessment

Design and access statement

In accordance with government guidance, a Design and Access Statement is required to accompany most new planning applications. The purpose of Design and Access Statements is to describe and illustrate the design thinking behind a proposal and to explain how the proposed design solution has been informed by the key principles of good design. Design and Access Statements for development within the masterplan area should set out the way in which a development will contribute towards meeting the requirements of current policy, frameworks and guidance, including this masterplan.

In particular,the Design and Access Statement should clearly demonstrate that the development proposal has had regard to the design principles set out in Section 5. All Design and Access statements should be prepared in line with the City Council’s Design and Access Statement Supplementary Planning Document. Further advice can be provided by the City Council on request or through pre-application discussions.

The intentions of Approved Document M are clear but have been ignored by Sunderland Council planning department therefore the department failed to comply with the Equality Act 2010 section 149 while considering this planning application. Public Sector Equality Duties were not adhered to may I ask why?

On the 16th of July I received this reply; With reference to the ‘access’ element of the statement it is 
important to note that this component relates only to ‘access to the
 development’ such as public transport, general traffic and roads. It does 
not extend to internal aspects of the development.

This statement is completely incorrect? Inclusion as the government demands starts at the planning stage of any new development.

Guidance was available to the planning officers whilst appraising the submitted plans in the form of;

The essential guide to the public sector equality duty.
http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/uploa...

Planning and access for disabled people: a good practice guide.
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/sy...

There is recorded information within the delegated report decision and Sunderland Councils UDP / Marine Walk Masterplan / BS 8300:2009+A1:2010 / Equalities Act 2010.

You state: I must make it clear that, unless that opinion is already contained in a council record, it cannot be made available under freedom of information provisions.

I am not asking for opinion or interpretation of the statute or guidance.

I am requesting factual information from available documents. Why has this planning application received approval when it clearly does not meet any of the principles set regarding access (inclusion) to services within all relevant documents and acts of parliament?

I am once again requesting an internal review and answer to my questions.

Yours sincerely,

Michael

Len Lowther left an annotation ()

Please see the delegated decision report which I have sent to ministers in relevant government departments by following the link below. I have also sent information to the ombudsman informing her of Sunderland Councils maladministration of this planning application.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/183082540/SUND...
Regards Len Lowther

Dear Sunderland City Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Sunderland City Council's handling of my FOI request 'Fitz Architect'.
Dear Rhiannon Hood
It is obvious after reading other peoples requests for information relating to this development on Marine Walk that SCC are reluctant to supply any!!! My response sent on the 27th of October has been ignored by SCC so far. I believe you will now respond as previously with information which is incorrect and avoid supplying the information requested. I also believe you will now consider whether or not you could class my request for factual information vexatious!!! This seems to be the method of choice that SCC adopt to avoid supplying the information they would find embarrassing if made public.

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,

Michael

Solicitor - Freedom of Information, Sunderland City Council

Dear Michael,
I have reviewed the correspondence and concluded that your email below
does not raise any new requests for recorded information. In relation to
the two enquiries in that email where you state you are asking for
recorded information there is nothing further to supply.
Your questions were:
1. "The intentions of Approved Document M are clear but have been
ignored by Sunderland Council planning department therefore the
department failed to comply with the Equality Act 2010 section 149 while
considering this planning application. Public Sector Equality Duties
were not adhered to may I ask why?"
2. I am requesting factual information from available documents. Why has
this planning application received approval when it clearly does not
meet any of the principles set regarding access (inclusion) to services
within all relevant documents and acts of parliament?
In connection with these questions, the council informed you on 15th
August that matters relating to the provision of disabled facilities
within a building are more appropriately covered by the Building Control
regime under Part M of The Building Control Regulation 2010 (as amended)
and that it considers it has complied with its legal obligations.

You also comment that "There is recorded information within the
delegated report decision and Sunderland Councils UDP / Marine Walk
Masterplan / BS 8300:2009+A1:2010 / Equalities Act 2010." This
information is already in the public domain.

I have also reviewed the responses you have received as a whole to
ascertain whether there are further records that should be supplied. I
apologise that it has taken some time taken to complete this review and
acknowledge that in this instance the council has not dealt promptly
with your request for review.
Having reviewed the correspondence I have concluded that, where relevant
information is held in council records the council has made this
available to you in full, and done so in accordance with the
requirements of the Freedom of Information Act. The Design and Access
Statement was provided to you on 16th July, and this, taken together
with the documents in the public domain that you have referred to,
comprise the full set of recorded information that is relevant to your
request.
In addition to the recorded information you have received, the council
has gone over and above the requirements of the Freedom of Information
Act in providing you with a significant amount of explanatory
information. Sadly, it is clear that you remain unwilling to accept that
your concerns are misplaced.
You are of course entitled to apply to the Information Commissioner for
review of the council's responses under Freedom of Information law.
Please note however that the majority of issues you are raising are not
matters for the Commissioner to address.

Kind regards

Rhiannon Hood
Assistant Head of Law and Governance
Commercial and Corporate Services Sunderland City Council
Tel: 0191 561 1005
Email: [email address]
www.sunderland.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Dear Solicitor - Freedom of Information,

Good day please see my reply to this mail in brackets.

3 January 2014

Dear Michael,
I have reviewed the correspondence and concluded that your email below does not raise any new requests for recorded information.

[None of my requests for information has received factual answers as you agreed on the 11 October 2013.]

In relation to the two enquiries in that email where you state you are asking for recorded information there is nothing further to supply.
Your questions were:
1. "The intentions of Approved Document M are clear but have been ignored by Sunderland Council planning department therefore the department failed to comply with the Equality Act 2010 section 149 while considering this planning application. Public Sector Equality Duties were not adhered to may I ask why?

2. I am requesting factual information from available documents. Why has this planning application received approval when it clearly does not meet any of the principles set regarding access (inclusion) to services within all relevant documents and acts of parliament?

In connection with these questions, the council informed you on 15th August that matters relating to the provision of disabled facilities within a building are more appropriately covered by the Building Control regime under Part M of The Building Control Regulation 2010 (as amended) and that it considers it has complied with its legal obligations.

[The council is correct that disabled facilities within a building are more appropriately covered by the Building Control regime under Part M of The Building Control Regulation 2010.

The council has failed in its duties under Part M of The Building Control Regulation 2010 / Equalities Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty by not considering disabled access to facilities. Access to 240 square meters of first floor offices / access to an elevated outdoor public seating area and level access to shop fronts have not been considered by the planning officer as required under the above regulations, acts, and duties.

My request for information has been denied as has other people’s requests for information regarding this approved development.]

You also comment that "There is recorded information within the delegated report decision and Sunderland Councils UDP / Marine Walk Masterplan / BS 8300:2009+A1:2010 / Equalities Act 2010." This
information is already in the public domain.

I have also reviewed the responses you have received as a whole to ascertain whether there are further records that should be supplied. I apologise that it has taken some time taken to complete this review and acknowledge that in this instance the council has not dealt promptly with your request for review.

[The council is refusing to answer many questions about this development. I believe the council is corrupt and doing its best to avoid complying to law and regulations simply to suit this architects desire to over develop a small piece of land and increase internal space by ignoring disabled access.]

Having reviewed the correspondence I have concluded that, where relevant information is held in council records the council has made this available to you in full, and done so in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act. The Design and Access Statement was provided to you on 16th July, and this, taken together with the documents in the public domain that you have referred to, comprise the full set of recorded information that is relevant to your request.

[The council’s acceptance and understanding of a Design and Access Statement is in error. The planning officer should have rejected the proposed design, as it does not comply with below. Please read below and understand access to this development should have been decided considering these requirements.]

S T A T U T O R Y I N S T R U M E N T S
2013 No. 1238
TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING, ENGLAND
The Town and Country Planning (Development Management
Procedure) (England) (Amendment) Order 2013

“Design and access statements
8.—(1) Subject to paragraph (4), this article applies to an application for planning
permission which is for—
(a) development which is major development;
(b) where any part of the development is in a designated area, development consisting
of—
(i) the provision of one or more dwellinghouses; or
(ii) the provision of a building or buildings where the floor space created by the
development is 100 square metres or more.
(2) An application for planning permission to which this article applies shall be
accompanied by a statement (“a design and access statement”) about—
(a) the design principles and concepts that have been applied to the development; and
(b) how issues relating to access to the development have been dealt with.
(3) A design and access statement shall—
(a) explain the design principles and concepts that have been applied to the
development;
(b) demonstrate the steps taken to appraise the context of the development and how
the design of the development takes that context into account;
(c) explain the policy adopted as to access, and how policies relating to access in
relevant local development documents have been taken into account;
(d) state what, if any, consultation has been undertaken on issues relating to access to
the development and what account has been taken of the outcome of any such
consultation; and
(e) explain how any specific issues which might affect access to the development have
been addressed.
(4) This article does not apply to an application for planning permission which is—
(a) for permission to develop land without compliance with conditions previously
attached, made pursuant to section 73 of the 1990 Act(a);
(b) of the description contained in article 18(1)(b) or (c);
(c) for engineering or mining operations;
(d) for a material change in use of the land or buildings;
(e) for development which is waste development.

In addition to the recorded information you have received, the council has gone over and above the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act in providing you with a significant amount of explanatory information.

[The council has not supplied any factual answers to my inquiries but have waisted taxpayers monies defending the indefensible]

Sadly, it is clear that you remain unwilling to accept that your concerns are misplaced.

[My concerns are certainly not misplaced having read Janet Johnsons, Deputy Chief Executive explanation as to how the council falsely interprets Approved Document M.]

http://www.scribd.com/doc/194407054/Simp...

You are of course entitled to apply to the Information Commissioner for review of the council's responses under Freedom of Information law. Please note however that the majority of issues you are raising are not matters for the Commissioner to address.

[I will of course be contacting the Information Commissioners Office as I am absolutely astonished that in todays society I am still going to be excluded from services simply because I am a wheelchair user.]

Yours sincerely,

Michael

Len Lowther left an annotation ()

Fitz Amendments but still trying to avoid Approved Document M

{To reduce cill heights to entrance doors on ground floor, reduction in length of detached office by 300mm. Reduction in length of timber decking area, reduction of roof light numbers to office units and removal of roof lights to apartments.}

I have spent 8 months with no assistance from my local councillors fighting this corrupt council decision. Fitz Architects are now trying to pass the amendments off as non-material amendments so they do not have to re-apply. As the new plans show major changes but are still subject to local, strategic, national planning policies the planning officer can impose new conditions. You never know we might get access for all now!!! http://www.scribd.com/doc/199130667/Town...