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Andrew Smith made this Freedom of Information request to Middlesbrough 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 successful.

Dear Middlesbrough Council,

Please can you provide me with the following information under the
Freedom Of Information Act 2000:-

(a) addresses of "empty and derelict” properties that are
within Peterborough Council area; and

(b) the names of the owners of those properties referred to in

(c) The period of time they have been unoccupied for

The above questions relates to both residential and commercial
properties

Yours faithfully,

Andrew Smith

Middlesbrough Council

Dear Mr Smith

Thank you for your email, attached below.

The information you have requested is in relation to Peterborough Council,
however you have sent your request to Middlesbrough Council.

Therefore we cannot process your request and you will need to redirect it
to Peterborough Council.

Regards
Janette Anderson
Freedom of Information Officer.

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Dear Middlesbrough Council,

Sorry, this should read Middlesbrough Council NOT Peterborough

I look forward to the requested information

Yours faithfully,

Andrew Smith

Middlesbrough Council

Dear Mr Smith

REF NO: 3503.1

Thank you for your recent enquiry, received on 08/02/2013, in relation to
housing.  I can confirm that your enquiry is receiving attention and a
response will be provided within 20 working days following receipt of your
enquiry as allowed under the Freedom of Information Act legislation.

In some circumstances a fee may be payable and if that is the case, I will
let you know the likely charges before proceeding.

Please do not hesitate to contact me direct on (01642) 729696/729698 or
email [Middlesbrough Council request email] should you require any further advice or
assistance with this or any other matter.

Yours sincerely

Kate Broom
Information Governance Assistant

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Dear Middlesbrough Council,

A response regarding this FOI request was due yesterday. My original request asked for names and addresses of owners of these properties - this information can be omitted

Yours faithfully,

Andrew Smith

Middlesbrough Council

Dear Andrew Smith,

REF NO: 3503.1

Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience caused by the delayed
response to your request, we are working to gather the information you
requested and a response will be forthcoming shortly.

Please do not hesitate to contact me direct on (01642) 729696/729698 or
email [Middlesbrough Council request email] should you require any further advice or
assistance with this or any other matter.

Yours sincerely,

Joseph Bartoletti
Corporate Records Management Officer

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Middlesbrough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Smith,
 
REF NO:  3503.1
I am writing to confirm that Middlesbrough Council has now completed its
search for the information you requested on 08/02/2013 in relation to
empty and derelict Properties.

In your request you asked for the following information:

Please can you provide me with the following information under the Freedom
Of Information Act 2000:-
   
    (a) addresses of "empty and derelict” properties that are
    within Middlesbrough Council area; and      
    (b) the names of the owners of those properties referred to in
   
    (c) The period of time they have been unoccupied for
   
    The above questions relates to both residential and commercial
    properties

Response:

Please attached below a list of empty and derelict Properties within
Middlesbrough.  In regards to residential properties the release of this
information is exempt under both Section 40 and 31 of the Freedom of
information Act.

Section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act provides an exemption from
release where the personal data of any third party, if disclosure would
breach any of the data protection principles contained in the Data
Protection Act 1998. We feel to release this information would breach the
first principle of the Data Protection Act 1998, that personal data i.e.
"should be processed fairly and lawfully". Your request is therefore
refused under section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000'

For the above reasons, to release the addresses of vacant properties that
belong to individual homeowners would be to disclose personal data as
defined by the Data Protection Act. In view of this, the Council is exempt
from the general duty to release this information by reason of Section 40
of the Freedom of Information Act.

Section 31(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act exempts any information
where the disclosure would prejudice, or be likely to prejudice, the
prevention of crime. The Council takes the view that empty properties,
especially in inner areas where most empty properties in Middlesbrough are
situated, are extremely vulnerable to theft, arson, criminal damage, and
illegal occupation.
They are more likely to be targeted for theft and vandalism than occupied
properties. The Council therefore takes the view that the disclosure of
addresses of empty properties would be likely to have a significant
negative impact on the prevention of crime, and that Section 31 of the
Freedom of Information Act therefore applies.
Section 31 of the report is a qualified exemption. This means that if the
Council believes that the information requested is exempt under the
provision of Section 31 then the Council must go on to apply a public
interest test. This means that the Council has to determine whether or not
it is in the public interest to release the information that it holds.
It is the view of the Council that the impact of crime on individuals is
far greater than the impact on companies or public bodies. Also, the fear
of crime has a very real impact on individuals. The Council therefore
believes that where properties are owned by individuals the public
interest in applying the exemption outweighs the public interest in
disclosure. It is therefore the view of the Council that in respect of
those properties that are owned by individuals, Section 31 of the Freedom
of Information Act should be applied, and that the information requested
is exempt from disclosure.

To summarise:

In respect of empty properties that are owned by individuals the provision
of addresses would breach the requirements of the Data Protection Act, and
this is therefore exempt under Section 40 of the Freedom of Information
Act; the provision of addresses of vacant properties would be likely to
significantly prejudice the prevention of crime; where properties are
owned by individuals the public interest in applying the exemption
outweighs the public interest in disclosure, and that Section 31 of the
Freedom of Information Act therefore applies.

If you have any queries about this response, please do not hesitate to
contact me direct on (01642) 729696/729698 or email
[Middlesbrough Council request email].  Please remember to quote the reference number
shown above in any future communications.

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled you may ask
for an internal review within 40 days of receipt of the response. You
should write to:-

Chris Davies,
Corporate Complaints Manager,
P.O. Box 503,
Ground Floor,
Town Hall,
Middlesbrough,
TS1 9FX
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for an
independent review.  The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: -
Information Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House,
Water Lane,
Wilmslow,
Cheshire,
SK9 5AF
Yours sincerely

Nathan Oxnard
Freedom of Information Officer

Members' Office
P.O. Box 503
Ground Floor
Town Hall
Middlesbrough
TS1 9FX

Tel.  01642 729696

FAX. 01642 729882
Email:   [Middlesbrough Council request email]
 

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