Information relating to the original Whitcliffe Mount School building

Lindsey Pickles made this Freedom of Information request to Kirklees Borough 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.

Lindsey Pickles

Dear Kirklees Borough Council,

I would like to submit a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. I have set out a number of questions below that relate to the original Edwardian building and these are as follows:

Is the building due to be demolished and if so when is this scheduled to happen?

Is the building owned by the Council or the School Trust and has some sort of land swap taken place? If so could you please provide any information, documentation, minutes, correspondence etc relating to this swap.

What is the reason that this building is being demolished and what are the long term plans for the site? Again please provide information, documentation, minutes, correspondence etc relating to the decision to demolish and the long term plans.

Did the Council oppose the Civic Trusts application to the have the building listed and if so please provide any information, documentation, minutes, correspondence etc relating to the decision and reason for opposition.

Does the building contain asbestos and if so what risk assessments and agreements are in place with the demolition contractors to have it removed? Is the contractor a certified specialist and if not is one being employed? Please provide any information, documentation, minutes, correspondence etc relating to risk assessments and any agreements that are in place.

Have any checks been made to confirm whether bats are roosting in the building and if so how does the Council plan to meet the requirements as set out by the following legislation: Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) (as amended) and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations (2010). Please provide any information, documentation, minutes, correspondence etc relating to any bat survey that might have been carried out.

Could you also confirm whether the public consultation for the demolition of Whitcliffe Mount Sports Centre also covered the demolition of the original school building?

Please also provide any information, documentation, minutes, correspondence etc relating to the decision not to hold a public consultation on the demolition plans for the Edwardian School Building and/or the Sports Centre prior to the contracts being signed and a complaint lodged and upheld by the Ombudsman.

I am aware that personal information may be contained in any documentation provided and I am happy for this to be supplied with appropriate redactions.

Yours faithfully,

Lindsey Pickles

Freedom Info, Kirklees Borough Council

Dear Lindsey

I confirm receipt of your information request and that I am looking into this.

I will respond to you in due course.

Regards

Information Access Team
Legal, Governance & Monitoring
Telephone: 01484 221000 (voice activated switchboard – please ask for Freedom of Information)

This email and any attachments are confidential. If you have received it in error - notify the sender immediately, delete it from your system, and do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way. Kirklees Council monitors all emails sent or received.

Dear Freedom Info,

Could you let me know when you propose to respond to my request for information dated the 11th July? Under the Act responses are meant to be sent 'promptly and in any event not later than the twentieth working day following the date of receipt.’ The 20 day limit fell on the 8th August and so the response is now three days overdue.

I have had no further correspondence from you since your acknowledgement of receipt on the 11th to explain that you need an extension to the deadline or clarification.

Yours sincerely,

Lindsey Pickles

Freedom Info, Kirklees Borough Council

Dear Ms Pickles

15504 - Information relating to the original Whitcliffe Mount School building

Please accept my sincere apologies for the delay in responding to you. We are in the process of responding to your request and collating through the information to be disclosed.

There is a significant amount of information and it is unlikely that I will be able to email it to What Do They Know because of file sizes.

Can you please provide a postal address to which we can send a CD with the information to be disclosed? If you can send this to us at [email address] that would be really helpful.

Regards

Information Access Team
Legal, Governance & Monitoring
Governance & Democratic Services
Civic Centre 3, High Street, Huddersfield, HD1 2TG

Telephone: 01484 221000 (voice activated switchboard – please ask for Freedom Info)

This email and any attachments are confidential. If you have received it in error - notify the sender immediately, delete it from your system, and do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way. Kirklees Council monitors all emails sent or received.

Freedom Info, Kirklees Borough Council

Dear Ms Pickles

 

15504 - Information relating to the original Whitcliffe Mount School
building

 

I am writing in response to your request dated 11 July 2017.  This has
been dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

The Council’s response to your specific questions is set out below:

 

1.       Is the building due to be demolished and if so when is this
scheduled to happen?

 

LO’R (Lang o’rourke) take possession of the existing school buildings from
the end of August 2017. The order of works is up to LO’R who will
determine the most efficient sequence so it is difficult to determine when
the Edwardian Building will be demolished

 

2.       Is the building owned by the Council or the School Trust and has
some sort of land swap taken place? If so could you please provide any
information, documentation, minutes, correspondence etc relating to this
swap.

 

The building is owned by a Charitable Trust which is a separate entity to
the School. As the new building was to be built on Council owned land to
the rear of the site (largely on what was the Sports Centre) a Land Swap
was required under Charity Commission Rules to ensure that the Trust
effectively   maintain the extent of their asset. The Land Swap takes
place at the end of the contract when all former school buildings have
been demolished and the landscaping completed. This was agreed by Kirklees
Council’s Cabinet on 17dec2013

 

3.       What is the reason that this building is being demolished and
what are the long term plans for the site? Again please provide
information, documentation, minutes, correspondence etc relating to the
decision to demolish and the long term plans.

 

The new School at Whitcliffe Mount is part of the Department for
Education’s Priority Schools Building Programme which is intended to
tackle those premises nationally that are in the worst condition.
Whitcliffe Mount is one of seven schools being built as part of private
finance contract. The Edwardian Building, along with the rest of the
existing School, does not meet modern educational standards and is being
demolished to allow for its replacement. Although the land which will be
transfered to the Council will be ‘unfettered with buildings’ it is still
designated as school land by the DfE and will require consent from the
Secretary for State for Education to use it for any other purpose for a
period of eight years. At this time there are no plans for its use.

 

               

4.       Did the Council oppose the Civic Trusts application to the have
the building listed and if so please provide any information,
documentation, minutes, correspondence etc relating to the decision and
reason for opposition.

 

No

 

5.       Does the building contain asbestos and if so what risk
assessments and agreements are in place with the demolition contractors to
have it removed? Is the contractor a certified specialist and if not is
one being employed? Please provide any information, documentation,
minutes, correspondence etc relating to risk assessments and any
agreements that are in place.

 

It is understood that there is asbestos in the Edwardian Building as well
as other parts of the existing school. Kirklees Council are not a party to
the contract between the DfE (via the Education and Skills Funding Agency,
ESFA) and their contractor Laing O’Rourke and consequently have no details
of any sub-contractors that might be employed. However, current Health and
Safety legislation and the Construction (Design and Management)
Regulations 2015 will require that any asbestos be surveyed, stripped out
and disposed of in an approved manner

 

6.       Have any checks been made to confirm whether bats are roosting in
the building and if so how does the Council plan to meet the requirements
as set out by the following legislation: Wildlife and Countryside Act
(1981) (as amended) and the Conservation of Habitats and Species
Regulations (2010). Please provide any information, documentation,
minutes, correspondence etc relating to any bat survey that might have
been carried out.

 

A Planning Application was submitted by Laing O’Rourke on 16dec2014 for
the ‘Demolition Of Existing Facilities And Erection Of New School and
Sports Hall with Associated Landscaping Works’ with the subsequent
permission being granted on 31mar2015 with a Condition being that they
comply with the all current Wildlife and Habitats directives and
legislation

 

7.       Could you also confirm whether the public consultation for the
demolition of Whitcliffe Mount Sports Centre also covered the demolition
of the original school building?

 

Laing O’Rourke held a public consultation on 04dec2014 prior to them
submitting the Planning Application for the Demolition Of Existing
Facilities And Erection Of New School and Sports Hall with Associated
Landscaping Works which covered all the buildings on the site including
the demolition of both the Sports Centre and the Edwardian Building

 

8.       Please also provide any information, documentation, minutes,
correspondence etc relating to the decision not to hold a public
consultation on the demolition plans for the Edwardian School Building
and/or the Sports Centre prior to the contracts being signed and a
complaint lodged and upheld by the Ombudsman.

 

The demolition of the Edwardian Building is a component of the
construction package for the new school as part of the DfE’s Priority
Schools Building Programme. A proposal of this scale constitutes a Major
Development under Planning Law and so the contractor was obliged to
undertake a public consultation

 

The Council does have documents to release to you in respect of your
request, but this amounts to just of 20MB and I am unable to email it to
What Do They Know because of file sizes.

Can you please provide a postal address to which we can send a CD with the
information to be disclosed? If you can send this to us at
[1][email address] or ring 014284 221000 and ask for ‘freedom
of information’ at the voice activated switchboard, I can supply these to
you.

 

If you are not content with the handling of your request, you have the
right to ask for an internal review.  Requests for internal reviews should
be submitted within 2 months of the date of receipt of the response to
your original request and should be addressed to the Monitoring Officer,
1st floor, Civic Centre 3, Market Street, Huddersfield HD1 2EY. 
Alternatively, you can send an email to:
[2][email address]. 

 

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of any review you have the right
under section 50 of the 2000 Act to apply to the Information Commissioner
for a decision as to whether your request for information has been dealt
with in accordance with the requirements of the Act.  The Information
Commissioner’s website is at [3]www.ico.org.uk and gives more information
about the role and duties of the Commissioner.  The Information
Commissioner can be contacted at: Information Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Information Access Team

Legal, Governance & Monitoring

Telephone: 01484 221000 (voice activated switchboard – please ask for
Freedom of Information)

 

This email and any attachments are confidential. If you have received it
in error - notify the sender immediately, delete it from your system, and
do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way. Kirklees Council
monitors all emails sent or received.

 

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Dear Freedom Info,

I have spoken to Whatdotheyknow and they have confirmed that the file size is not a problem for them. If the issue is with your own servers then you can send the documents to the website using more than one email, Wetransfer, or Dropbox. Alternatively, if you contact the website yourselves, they will provide you with further advice.

Yours sincerely,

Lindsey Pickles

Dear Kirklees Borough Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Kirklees Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Information relating to the original Whitcliffe Mount School building'.

You seem to have included the name and email address of a previous FOI requester in documents under the references 11874 and 11751. This information seems to be redacted in some documents and not in others suggesting a DPA breach. I will assume that you will contact the website to rectify this if need be.

The majority of the information that you have provided to me appears to be documentation already sent out to other information requests and a large proportion of it relates solely to the Sports Centre and not the Edwardian Foundation Building. As this information was already collated why did it take you over the 20 working day deadline to provide a response and why was good practice not followed in terms of keeping me informed of the delay? I note from the previous responses you have supplied that you also failed to follow good practice and respond within the legislative timescale to a number of these.

In response to question 2 you have provided some documentation that relates to previous requests but have not confirmed whether this includes all correspondence, documentation etc, as per my request. You certainly have not confirmed to me what information/documentation you do hold but are not releasing or whether an up to date public interest test has been applied to my request. For instance I assume that you have a copy of the land swap agreement but are witholding it in its entirety and in that case I would ask that you reconsider your decision to this, given the continued and complete lack of transparency from the Council around this issue, and the volume of public support to stop the demolition of the Edwardian Building.

Your response to question 3 is also not very transparent. You have suggested that this demolition is taking place to facilitate the building of the new school but this is not the case, as the new school has been built and does not incorporate this land. The Council made the decision to take this area of land in a land swap with the Trustees 'unfettered by buildings' at Cabinet in December 2013 but no real documentation has been released to support the reasons for this decision, except that the Council did not want responsibility for the buildings upkeep. This suggests that you either haven't explored any options to keep the building or you have further information that you haven't released.

In addition to this you have suggested 'Although the land which will be transfered to the Council will be ‘unfettered with buildings’ it is still designated as school land by the DfE and will require consent from the
Secretary for State for Education to use it for any other purpose for a period of eight years. At this time there are no plans for its use.'

This is somewhat misleading because it does not explain why the land remains designated as school land post the swap, or whether you intend to submit a change of use request to the SoS. This is contrary to the information provided by Council Leader David Sheard who confirmed that the reason for the demolition of the building is so that the land can be immediately sold to housing developers.

Again, there is a discrepancy here that suggests that there is information available that you have not released.

Your response to question 6 does not answer my question as you have not confirmed that the Laing O'Rourke have carried out these requirements. If they have you have not confirmed whether this is information you hold or whether it is in the public domain as part of the planning application.

Question 7 - Could you please provide more detail on why Laing O'Rourke were tasked with holding a public consultation on whether the the Edwardian Building should be demolished or not and why this was not carried out by the EFA or the Council. You have also not clarified whether you hold any documentation/information relating to this public consultation.

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

Yours faithfully,

Lindsey Pickles

Freedom Info, Kirklees Borough Council

Dear Ms Pickles

I confirm receipt of your internal review request and that I have passed this on to the Monitoring Officer, who will contact you about this.

Regards

Information Access Team
Legal, Governance & Monitoring
Telephone: 01484 221000 (voice activated switchboard – please ask for Freedom of Information)

This email and any attachments are confidential. If you have received it in error - notify the sender immediately, delete it from your system, and do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way. Kirklees Council monitors all emails sent or received.

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Freedom Info, Kirklees Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Pickles

 

15504 - Information relating to the original Whitcliffe Mount School
building

 

Further to my email of 16 August 2017, please find attached a replacement
zip file containing the documents for disclosure.

 

Thank you for drawing this to our attention that the zip file which was
sent on 18 August 2017 contained the name and email address of a previous
applicant. 

 

The redaction of the previous applicants’ names and contact email
addresses has been done by virtue of s40 of the Freedom of Information Act
2000 because they are the personal information of those individuals. 
Personal data is information which relates to a living individual who can
be identified from the requested information or from a combination of that
information and other information known to the data controller. 

 

Personal data of a third party is exempt from disclosure under Section
40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 if its disclosure to a member
of the public would contravene any of the Data Protection Principles.   In
this case the Council considers that it breaches the first Data Protection
Principle which requires personal data to be “fairly and lawfully
processed”.

 

The first data protection principle states:

 

Personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully and, in particular,
shall not be processed unless—

(a)at least one of the conditions in Schedule 2 is met, and

(b)in the case of sensitive personal data, at least one of the conditions
in Schedule 3 is also met.

 

The Schedule 2 conditions are based on consent or necessity.

 

The Council believes that disclosure of the information requested would
give rise to actionable breach of data protection principle 1, which
states that personal information must be processed fairly and lawfully.  
The conditions for processing personal information are largely based on
the “necessity” to process personal information and the Council does not
consider the disclosure of the requested information to be necessary.  The
Council does not have the consent of the individuals concerned to release
their personal data into the public domain, nor does it believe they would
have any expectation that the Council would disclose their addresses into
the public domain.

 

The Council appreciates that responses to FoI requests are in the public
domain, and that for requests made through the What Do They Know website
applicant names are in the public domain, but as requests are “applicant
and purpose blind” it would not normally disclose the names, and certainly
not the contract details, of applicants not using a public website for
making a request.  The Council believes that an applicant not using a
public website for making requests would have no expectation that the
Council would release their name and personal contact details into the
public domain.

 

I have made arrangements with the site administrators to remove the
original zip file sent and replace it with the attached.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Information Access Team

Legal, Governance & Monitoring

Telephone: 01484 221000 (voice activated switchboard – please ask for
Freedom of Information)

 

This email and any attachments are confidential. If you have received it
in error - notify the sender immediately, delete it from your system, and
do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way. Kirklees Council
monitors all emails sent or received.

 

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Monitoring Officer, Kirklees Borough Council

Dear Ms Pickles

Freedom of Information/Environmental Information Regulations 2004
Request for Review

I refer to your email dated 21 August 2017 addressed to the Freedom of Information team.

The Council aims to process requests for any review of the handling of Freedom of Information and we will endeavour to provide this within 20 working days and certainly before the 40 working day deadline. Ms Muscroft will write to you when the review has been completed. If you wish to provide any further information to assist Ms Muscroft with her conduct of the review you are welcome to do so.

The Information Commissioner's website at www.ico.org.uk sets out detailed information about his role, the operation of the Freedom of Information Act and includes the Commissioner's detailed guidance.

Yours sincerely

Julie Muscroft
Monitoring Officer
Legal, Governance & Commissioning (Monitoring Officer)
1st Floor
Civic Centre III
Huddersfield HD1 2EY

Richard Taylor left an annotation ()

As you can see from the above correspondence a replacement response has been issued by the council.

The council let us know they had accidentally included personal information in their response, they promised to provide a replacement which they did.

We have deleted the original response sent by Freedom Info, Kirklees Borough Council on 18 August 2017

--
Richard - WhatDoTheyKnow.com volunteer

Samantha Lawton, Kirklees Borough Council

6 Attachments

  • Attachment

    Review letter 15504.pdf

    357K Download View as HTML

  • Attachment

    Contract 26 April 2016 Redacted.pdf

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  • Attachment

    PSPB Landowners Agreement WMS redacted.pdf

    1.8M Download View as HTML

  • Attachment

    15504 Pickles Information relating to the original Whitcliffe Mount School building.txt

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  • Attachment

    15504 Information relating to the original Whitcliffe Mount School building.html

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  • Attachment

    15504 Internal review of Freedom of Information request Information relating to the original Whitcliffe Mount School building.txt

    5K Download View as HTML

Dear Ms Pickles,

 

Please find attached the review regarding your freedom of information
request and accompanying attachments.

 

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

 

 

Samantha Lawton

Senior Legal Officer, On behalf of the Monitoring Officer

Legal, Governance & Commissioning

 

Tel: 01484 221 000

Fax: 01484 221 423

 

Please note my working days are Monday - Thursday

 

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Dear Samantha Lawton,

Thank you for your response.

I note that this has been supplied on the deadline.

I also note that your response is heavily weighted towards me clarififying information I was not asked to clarify and also knowing about the existence of webcasts without being told of their existence or being directed towards them.

This is hardly in the spirit of the Act.

Yours sincerely,

Lindsey Pickles