Information relating to the common good land at Park Av Dunfermline

The request was partially successful.

Dear Fife Council,

Please supply all internal and external emails, notes, minutes and dialogs relating to the "Common Good land" at Park Avenue Dunfermline, specifically including Fife Council employee Michael Mc Ardle (Lead Professional). Any dialogs/emails to/from anyone connected to, or representing "Alhambra" should also be included.

Yours faithfully,

J Stewart

Fife Council

Dear J Stewart,

ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION (SCOTLAND) REGULATIONS 2004 – REQUEST FOR INFORMATION

I refer to your request for information dated 07/03/2018, Common Good Land, Park Ave, Dunfermline, our ref: 21053.

The information you have requested is subject to the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004, therefore, requires us under Freedom of Information Act 2002 to apply exemption S39 (2)(a) Health, Safety and the Environment, as the information is obliged by regulations under S62 to make available to the public in accordance with the regulation.

We will continue to proceed with your request under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004, which allows us 20 working days from the date after receipt of your original request.

If you are not satisfied with the way we have handled your request, you have the right to request a review of the decision. Please write to: Head of Legal Services, Finance & Corporate Services, Fife House, North Street, Glenrothes, KY7 5LT or e-mail to [email address]. The law provides for you to make this request up to 40 workings days from when you receive this correspondence. We add a further three working days to allow time for delivery of our response giving you up to 43 working days from the date of this correspondence to ask for a review. Where the outcome of the review fails to resolve the matter to your complete satisfaction you have the right to apply to the Scottish Information Commissioner for a decision.

Fife Council will consider and seek to resolve any request to the Head of Legal Services that falls outside this timescale.

Yours sincerely

K. Henderson

Dear Fife Council,

FOI dated 07/03/2018, Common Good Land, Park Ave, Dunfermline, your ref: 21053.

This is now overdue - please advise when I will get the information requested.
I expect this to be prior to Friday 13th May.

Yours faithfully,

J Stewart

Info Review, Fife Council

Dear J Stewart

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (SCOTLAND) ACT 2002 - REQUEST FOR REVIEW
I refer to your e-mail dated and received on 10 April 2018.

                       
Your e-mail has been passed to the Head of Legal Services for review.

A response will be sent to you within 20 working days of receipt of your
e-mail.

If you are dissatisfied with the Councils response to your request for a
review, you have the right to make an application to the Scottish
Information Commissioner in terms of Section 47(1) of the Freedom of
Information (Scotland) Act.  Any such application must be made before the
expiry of the 6 months after the date of receipt of our review letter and
should be sent to the Scottish Information Commissioner, Kinburn Castle,
Doubledykes Road, St Andrews Fife KY16 9D or online at
[1]www.itspublicknowledge.info/Appeal.

Yours sincerely

 

 

Lynn Cunningham

Info Review Contact

for Head of Legal Services

 

                

 

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References

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1. http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/Appeal

Info Review, Fife Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Stewart,

 

Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (the “Regulations”)

Request for Review Ref: R64.18 & R72.18

 

I refer to your email dated 10 April 2018 which has been taken as a
request to review the Council’s lack of response to your requests for
information which were logged twice under ref FCIR:21046 and FCIR:21053.
The matter has been passed to me to investigate on behalf of the Head of
Legal Services.

 

I note that on 7 March you requested “all internal and external emails,
notes, minutes and dialogs relating to the “Common Good Land” at Park
Avenue, Glenrothes, specifically including Fife Council employee Michael
McArdle (Lead Professional). Any dialogs/emails to/from anyone connected
to, or representing “Alhambra” should also be included.”

 

The Council has failed to respond to your request within the statutory
timescales. The Council is obliged, in terms of the Regulations, to
respond to your requested within 20 working days. Clearly this timescale
has not been met and I can only apologise for any inconvenience this may
have caused. The Council is experiencing a very high number of requests at
the moment which is causing delays in issuing responses. However the
Council does endeavour to meet the statutory timescales.

 

I have now had the opportunity to investigate this matter and consider the
information in terms of the Regulations. I attach the correspondence that
I am able to release. Personal data has been redacted in terms of
Regulation 11.

 

The following items have been withheld:

 

1.       Internal Communications. This is subject to the exception
contained in Regulation 10(4)(e).

A  Scottish Public Authority  may refuse to make environmental information
available to the extent the request involves making available internal
communications. I have established that the emails in question are
internal communications.

 

I now need to apply the public interest test. I acknowledge that the
internal discussions relating to a proposal for the use of common good
land would be of interest to the public. However it is essential that
staff are able to brief senior officers, take internal advice and discuss
options and issues freely and openly. This protects the Council’s need for
a “private thinking space”. I consider that the public interest in
allowing Council officers to discuss matters in private outweighs the
public interest in the disclosure of the information.

 

2.       Some of the correspondence from the Alhambra to the Council. This
is subject to the exception contained in Regulation 10(5)(f) Third party
interests.

 

“A Scottish public authority may refuse to make environmental information
available to the extent that its disclosure would, or would be likely to,
prejudice substantially

(f) the interests of the person who provided the information where that
person–

(i)was not under, and could not have been put under, any legal obligation
to supply the information;

(ii)did not supply it in circumstances such that it could, apart from
these Regulations, be made available; and

(iii)has not consented to its disclosure;”

 

This exception is designed to encourage the voluntary flow of information.
In this case the information was provided voluntarily by the Alhambra to
the Council in relation to their proposals for the area in question. The
Alhambra have requested that the information is to remain confidential and
they have not consented to the disclosure.

 

Disclosure is likely to prejudice substantially the Alhambra’s interests
as it provides more information on their own internal thinking and
commercial position than would otherwise be in the public domain.  This
may provide competitors with an advantage if there was other interest in
providing similar projects in the area.

 

Public Interest Test

 

I must take into account the third party’s position that information was
provided voluntarily and on the expectation that it would remain private.
Disclosure of information provided voluntarily by third parties would harm
the duty of confidence underpinning the free flow of information to the
Council. I consider that disclosure of the information is not in the
public interest. These are private negotiations and disclosure would
hinder the process.

 

I trust this explanation is of some assistance to you.

 

If you are dissatisfied with the Council’s response to your request for a
review, you have the right to make an application to the Scottish
Information Commissioner in terms of Regulation 17 of the 2004
Regulations.  Any such application must be made before the expiry of six
months after the date of receipt of this letter and should be sent to the
Scottish Information Commissioner, Kinburn Castle, Doubledykes Road, St
Andrews, Fife, KY16 9DS or online at
[1]www.itspublicknowledge.info/Appeal. You also have the right of appeal
to the Court of Session (on a point of law only) if dissatisfied with a
decision issued by the Commissioner.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Alison Marr

Solicitor on behalf of the Head of Legal Services

                

 

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References

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