Funding of Humbug Shop Building 16 Marine Drive and 42 High Street, Margate

Margate Conservation Area Advisory Group made this Freedom of Information request to Kent County Council

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

The request was successful.

Margate Conservation Area Advisory Group

Dear Kent County Council,

We are writing to request information under the Freedom of
Information Act about your funding of the following organisation or
project. Specifically, we would like to know:

Re: Humbug Shop Building 16 Marine Drive and 42 High Street,
Margate

1. Has any money from public funds been given to any owners /
developers of this building since 2005 and, if so:

2. What is the total amount of the money given?

3. What were the conditions under which the money was given and
have the recipients of the money complied with those conditions?

4. How has that compliance been verified by the Council Officers of
MRP?

5. What action has been taken, or is to be taken, if the recipients
have not complied with the conditions of the funding?

6. Can an amendment to the original contract be authorised because
the grant now relates to a different property ie only 16 Marine
Drive and not 42 High Street now excluded?

7. Is this a new contract that would have to go back for new
planning approval and, does the grant have to be re-applied, by
MRP, on different terms because it's such a fundamental change of
use?

Our preferred format to receive this information is by electronic
means. If one part of this request can be answered sooner than
others, please send that information first followed by any
subsequent data. If you need any clarification of this request
please feel free to email me. If FOI requests of a similar nature
have already been asked could you please include your responses to
those requests.

Many public authorities release their contracts with private
vendors in line with the Freedom of Information Act. The exemption
for commercial interest under the Act (section 43) is a qualified
exemption, which means information can only be withheld if it is in
the public’s interest. The public have an interest in knowing the
terms of contracts and grants awarded by public authorities,
whether or not public money changes hands immediately.

If you are relying on section 41 (the exemption for legal breach of
confidence) then we would like to know the following:
• When these confidentiality agreements were agreed
• All correspondence and email in which these confidentiality
agreements were discussed.
• The precise wording of the confidentiality agreements

We ask these questions because guidance issued by both the Lord
Chancellor (draft guidance on FOI implementation) and the Office of
Government Commerce (Model terms and conditions for goods and
services) specifically state that public authorities should not
enter into these types of agreements. They go directly against the
spirit of the laws of disclosure. We would also point to the
Information Commissioner’s guidance on accepting blanket commercial
confidentiality agreements: ‘Unless confidentiality clauses are
necessary or reasonable, there is a real risk that, in the event of
a complaint, the Commissioner would order disclosure in any case.’

Finally, within the law of confidence there is also a public
interest test. Therefore, the information should be disclosed in
full. If any parts are redacted they must be for information that
can be proven to be a legal breach of confidence in court, and only
then where secrecy can be shown to be in the public interest. These
are difficult positions to argue when public money is at stake or
where a public authority is offering a private company a monopoly
to charge its stakeholders.

We would be grateful if you could confirm, in writing, that you
have received this request, and we look forward to hearing from you
within the 20-working day statutory time period.

Yours faithfully,

Margate Conservation Area Advisory Group

Kent County Council

Dear Margate Conservation Area Advisory Group
Thank you for your email below.
Kent County Council acknowledges your request for information under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000. Assuming KCC holds this information, we
will endeavour to supply the data to you as soon as possible but no later
than 21st July 2010 (20 working days from date of receipt).

We will advise you as soon as possible if we do not hold this information
or if there are exemptions to be considered and/or any costs for providing
the information. Please quote our reference - FOI/10/0749 - in any
communication regarding this particular request.

Best regards

Corporate Access to Information Team, Chief Executive's Department
Kent County Council, Legal & Democratic Services, Room B.48, Sessions
House, County Hall, Maidstone. ME14 1XQ.
Tel: 01622 696265 or 01622 694261 - Fax: 01622 696075
[1]http://www.kent.gov.uk/your_council/have...

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Kent County Council

Dear Margate Conservation Area Advisory Group

Thank you for your request for information. Please accept my sincere
apologies for the slight delay in responding to you; I appreciate that the
Council has not complied with statutory timescales on this occasion.

I have been unable to find any record to suggest that Kent County Council
has provided any funding for the Humbug Shop Building, 16 Marine Drive and
42 High Street, Margate. Therefore, the remaining questions (2 to 7) are
not applicable.

If you are unhappy with his response, and believe KCC has not complied
with legislation, please ask for a review by following our complaints
process; details can be found at this link
[1]http://www.kent.gov.uk/your_council/have...
on our website. Please quote reference FOI/10/0749.

If you still remain dissatisfied following an internal review, you can
appeal to the Information Commissioner, who oversees compliance with the
Freedom of Information Act 2000. Details of what you need to do, should
you wish to pursue this course of action, are available from the
Information Commissioner's website
[2]http://www.ico.gov.uk/complaints/freedom...

Best regards

Caroline Dodge
Corporate Access to Information Coordinator, Chief Executive's Department
Kent County Council, Legal & Democratic Services, Room B.48, Sessions
House, County Hall, Maidstone. ME14 1XQ.
Tel: 01622 221652 - Fax: 01622 696075
[3]http://www.kent.gov.uk/your_council/have...

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