Internal communications regarding AFC Kingsford development; Planning Application 170021

Clare Davidson made this Freedom of Information request to Aberdeen City Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Aberdeen City Council should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Aberdeen City Council,

I would like any internal communications, to include letter, memos, notes, e-mails, report, draft report and any other communication between: ACC Employees including - ACC officers / managers/ employees/ executives/councillors, In relation to the Aberdeen Football Club application for a stadium / training facilities as covered by application 170021: Between the Planning Department and any other department or internal person; Roads Development Management Department and any other department or internal person;Economics department and any other department or internal person ;Environmental Department and any other department or internal person. internal correspondence between officers in the following departments in relation to application 170021 : Economics Department ,Roads Development Management Department ,Environmental Department, Planning and Sustainable Development Department. Any internal correspondence between officers in any of these departments and the Head of Planning, Chief Executive, and the Director of Communities, Housing and Infrastructure in relation to application 170021: Economics, Planning and Sustainable Development , Roads Development Management Department; Any internal correspondence between any of these parties in relation to planning application 170021: Angela Scott , Eric Owens, Bernadette marjoram, Mark Reilly, Richard Sweetman, Jamie Coventry, Gavin Evans, Garfield Prentice, Mark Wilkie. Any correspondence to /from any sitting councillor in relation to planning application 170021 and Angela Scott , Eric Owens, Bernadette marjoram, Mark Reilly, Richard Sweetman, Jamie Coventry, Gavin Evans, Garfield Prentice, Mark Wilkie. All the above requests are for the period 1st January 2017 to 29th January 2018

Yours faithfully,

Clare Davidson

Foi Enquiries, Aberdeen City Council

2 Attachments

Dear Ms Davidson,

 

Information enquiry reference EIR-18-0457.

 

Thank you for your recent request for information, which we received on 14
March 2018.   

 

The scheduled date for our response to your request for information is on
or before 12 April 2018.

 

However, we have concerns that the scope of your request is too broad and
it is likely to be considered manifestly unreasonable to respond to your
information request, breaching Section 12 – Excessive Cost of Compliance –
of the FOISA.

 

After discussion with the relevant service, they have advised that your
request will probably be manifestly unreasonable to respond to. This is
because of the number of officers that will require to search their
correspondence and identify those relevant to your request. As your
request stands, we would need to ask every officer within ACC to search
their electronic and hardcopy records to identify whether they hold any
information in relation to your request. As you can imagine, this will be
a significant task and one which ACC may consider manifestly unreasonable
to undertake.

 

To ensure your request is not refused on the grounds outlined above, we
would ask you to consider whether you could specify a certain team/officer
and ask for the relevant correspondence received by them regarding this
planning application. For example, you may wish to revise your request to
only correspondence received by the Case Officer/the Head of Planning and
Sustainable Development etc. This will not only narrow down the scope of
the request but will also help you to get access to the information you
are looking for. Please see below the contact details of the relevant Head
of the Service and Case Officer who you can contact directly in relation
to your request should you wish to discuss:

 

o Eric Owens (Head of Planning and Sustainable Development):
[1][email address]
o Gavin Evans (Case Officer): [2][email address]

 

I would also like to highlight that a significant amount of information
regarding the Kingsford Stadium is published on our website, through our
planning application portal which can be found here:

 

[3]https://publicaccess.aberdeencity.gov.uk...

 

The Kingsford Stadium application can be found by searching for
‘Kingsford’.

 

We have also responded to previous requests for information regarding
Kingsford Stadium. These can be found on our Disclosure Log:

 

FOI-17-0545 – Kingsford Stadium:

[4]https://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/sites/ab...

 

EIR-17-0748 – Kingsford Stadium:

[5]https://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/sites/ab...

 

EIR-17-0846 – Kingsford Stadium:

[6]https://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/sites/ab...

 

EIR-17-1428 – Kingsford Stadium:

[7]https://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/sites/ab...

 

EIR-17-1440 – Kingsford Stadium

[8]https://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/sites/ab...

 

EIR-17-1877 – Kingsford Stadium Funding

[9]https://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/sites/ab...

 

It may also be beneficial to you to read over the attached guidance note,
Tips for Requesters. This note was produced by the Scottish Information
Commissioner and provides handy tips on the best way to request
information.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any queries in the
meantime.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Salomeh Kheyri Rad
Information Compliance Officer

Information Compliance Team
Customer Service
Corporate Governance
Aberdeen City Council
3rd Floor North

Business Hub 17
Marischal College
Broad Street
ABERDEEN AB10 1AQ

[10][Aberdeen City Council request email]

Tel 03000 200 292

 

*03000 numbers are free to call if you have ‘free minutes’ included in
your mobile call plan.

Calls from BT landlines will be charged at the local call rate of 10.24p
per minute (the same as 01224s).

 

[11]www.aberdeencity.gov.uk

 

 

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This e-mail (including any attachment to it) is
confidential, protected by copyright and may be privileged. The
information contained in it should be used for its intended purposes only.
If you receive this email in error, notify the sender by reply email,
delete the received email and do not make use of, disclose or copy it.
Whilst we take reasonable precautions to ensure that our emails are free
from viruses, we cannot be responsible for any viruses transmitted with
this email and recommend that you subject any incoming email to your own
virus checking procedures. Unless related to Council business, the
opinions expressed in this email are those of the sender and they do not
necessarily constitute those of Aberdeen City Council. Unless we expressly
say otherwise in this email or its attachments, neither this email nor its
attachments create, form part of or vary any contractual or unilateral
obligation. Aberdeen City Council's incoming and outgoing email is subject
to regular monitoring.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. mailto:[email address]
3. https://publicaccess.aberdeencity.gov.uk...
4. https://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/sites/ab...
5. https://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/sites/ab...
6. https://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/sites/ab...
7. https://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/sites/ab...
8. https://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/sites/ab...
9. https://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/sites/ab...
10. mailto:[Aberdeen City Council request email]
11. http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/

Foi Enquiries, Aberdeen City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Davidson,

 

Thank you for your information request of 14 March 2018.  Aberdeen City
Council (ACC) has completed the necessary search for the information
requested.

 

I would like any internal communications, to include letter, memos, notes,
e-mails, report, draft report and any other communication between: ACC
Employees including - ACC officers / managers/ employees/
executives/councillors, In relation to the Aberdeen Football Club
application for a stadium / training facilities as covered by application
170021: Between the Planning Department and any other department or
internal person; Roads Development Management Department and any other
department or internal person;Economics department and any other
department or internal person ;Environmental Department and any other
department or internal person. 

 

internal correspondence between officers in the following departments in
relation to application 170021 : Economics Department ,Roads Development
Management Department ,Environmental Department, Planning and Sustainable
Development Department.

 

Any internal correspondence between officers in any of these departments
and the Head of Planning, Chief Executive, and the Director of
Communities, Housing and Infrastructure in relation to application
170021:  Economics, Planning and Sustainable Development , Roads
Development Management Department;  Any internal correspondence between
any of these parties in relation to planning application 170021: Angela
Scott , Eric Owens, Bernadette marjoram, Mark Reilly, Richard Sweetman,
Jamie Coventry, Gavin Evans, Garfield Prentice, Mark Wilkie.  

 

Any correspondence to /from any sitting councillor in relation to planning
application 170021 and Angela Scott , Eric Owens, Bernadette marjoram,
Mark Reilly, Richard Sweetman, Jamie Coventry, Gavin Evans, Garfield
Prentice, Mark Wilkie.  All the above requests are for the period 1st
January 2017 to 29th January 2018

ACC is unable to provide you with information on as it is excepted from
disclosure. In order to comply with its obligations under the terms of
Regulation 13 of the EIRs, ACC hereby gives notices that we are refusing
your request under the terms of Regulation 10(4)(b) – Manifestly
Unreasonable – of the EIRs.

 

In making this decision ACC considered the following points:

 

The information requested by the Applicant:

ACC holds information related to planning application 170021/DPP,
including written correspondence (emails, letters, documents) submitted by
Aberdeen FC and its representatives and between AFC (and it
representatives) and employee and Members of ACC and between employees
and/or Members. The information is held for the purpose for assessing and
processing that planning application.

 

The information sought is potentially held by –

 

- the Chief Executive and support staff;

- the interim Director of CHI and support staff;

- the interim Head of Planning and Sustainable Development (P&SD) and
support staff;

- potentially all/or at least several officers within the following P&SD
teams – Development Management, Environmental Policy, Development
Planning, Roads Development Management, Applications Support Team, Public
Transport Unit, Transportation Strategy & Programmes, over and above those
specifically identified in the information request;

- Numerous other Council Services including Economic Development,
Environmental Health, Contaminated Land Unit, Flooding & Coastal
Protection, Asset Management, Waste Strategy, City Centre Masterplan Team,
Legal & Democratic Services and Committee Services

- All Elected Members (this could also potentially include correspondence
held for Elected Members who did not return to office after the May
elections, if held).

 

The information is held: on the planning portal on the Council’s website
(under planning application 170021/DPP); in email accounts; and
potentially in shared and personal computer drives/folders. There is
potential for information to be contained in written notes and diaries.
The broad nature of the information request is such that the information
sought has various uses, but in general terms it relates to the
submission, consideration and determination of a single application for
planning permission (ref 170021/DPP), including associated administrative
arrangements relating to the scheduling and management of two
pre-determination hearings and a special council meeting. The information
relied upon by the planning authority in determining the application is
publicly available via the planning portal.

 

The time and resources required:

The request made covers a period of more than a year. Its scope would
include (i) all correspondence internal to ACC and (ii) correspondence
between all ACC officers and elected members.

 

The broad nature of the request is such that ACC must consider the number
of parties who could be expected to have engaged in correspondence in
relation to this matter. Planning is not a Council function which is
contained exclusively within a single service, as consultation is commonly
undertaken with teams across the organisation with particular areas of
interest/expertise. For a planning application of a lesser scale, this
might involve only a few people, largely contained within the Planning &
Sustainable Development service. In the context of the AFC application at
Kingsford, the application is defined as a ‘Major’ application by the
relevant legislation, and the nature of the proposal is such that it
necessitated a broad spectrum of both statutory and non-statutory
consultation across the Council and with other external consultation
bodies (as specified in the report to Full Council on 29th January). In
responding to consultations on a planning application of this scale and
complexity, internal teams such as Environmental Health and Roads
Development Management would normally involve multiple officers (e.g.
before finalising a Roads Development Management response, officers within
that team would often consult with colleagues with other roads and
transportation remits, including Transport Strategy and Traffic
Management), with further correspondence between those parties before a
formal response is finalised. The result is that no one officer would be
capable of providing this information in its entirety and therefore
searches would need to be undertaken by a large number of parties and the
results cross-referenced in order to provide the information sought.

 

Additionally, all necessary officers would be required to search through
their notebooks/diaries over the last 13 months for any notes taken in
meetings, for letters, draft reports etc.

 

The impact of the request of ACC’s Core Operations:

The main concern with this request is that it would involve such a large
number of individuals across the service that the burden of providing the
information requested would affect a number of different teams, with
different duties and functions. These would include, but are not limited
to the following:

 

Development Management, Development Plan, Roads Development Management,
and Environmental Policy teams within Planning & Sustainable Development.

 

These teams are responsible for the delivery of statutory planning
functions relating to the determination of planning and listed building
applications; the delivery, monitoring and review of Aberdeen’s Local
Development Plan; role as a consultee in relation to planning applications
with implications for roads and transportation matters; role as a
consultee in planning applications raising environmental issues, including
consideration of surveys relating to protected species and assessment of
impacts on national environmental designations and the process of Habitats
Regulations Appraisal.

 

The wide-ranging searches to be undertaken would take staff resource away
from the consideration of applications for planning permission, listed
building consent and other forms of consent, with the quality of service
delivered to individual applicants suffering as a result. Officers would
have less time to consider and assess proposals within the statutory
periods, and would be diverted from the core business of preparing reports
and the authorisation/review of those reports from senior officers.
Statutory periods for determination of such applications are set by
legislation, however those can be extended by agreement with applicants.

 

Aberdeen City Council, in its role as planning authority, is monitored on
performance, with quarterly returns submitted to the Scottish Government
in relation to average time taken to determination and other Key
Performance Indicators. The Scottish Government has in recent years raised
the possibility of a portion of the income from planning application fees
being withheld from local authorities who are not seen to be performing
adequately, so there is potentially a link between declining performance
and Council finances.

 

The broad scope of this information request is such that it would require
the involvement of a large number of officers across the organisation,
with various different areas of responsibility. It has been estimated that
the cumulative time taken, and associated expense in terms of staff cost,
would be excessive and disproportionate. This would prejudice officers’
ability to provide a good public service in their respective areas of
work, which include a number of statutory functions. The wider public
interest would be served by refusing this request and offering advice in
terms of narrowing the focus of the request in order to reduce the burden
that it would place upon the authority and its ability to carry out its
day-to-day work.

 

The agenda and other committee papers for the Special Meeting of Council
on 29th January can be found at: 
[1]https://committees.aberdeencity.gov.uk/i...

 

Documents relating to the application, including correspondence issued by
the applicants and their appointed planning, architectural,
transportation, engineering and legal representatives, can be found on the
planning portal, along with documents lodged in support of the application
and the various consultation responses from third parties (including
internal and external sources). These can be found at:

[2]https://publicaccess.aberdeencity.gov.uk...

 

ACC would be happy to discuss way in which you may refine your request, so
we can provide some information of interest to you. For example, by
reducing the time period you are interested in, or by reducing the number
of officers required to search (perhaps focusing on one or some named
officers i.e. the relevant case officer, the Head of Service etc).

 

It may also be helpful if you could clarify your request more
specifically. This can be done by reducing the scope of the request or by
providing us with keywords you would like us to search on. Please do
contact the Information Compliance team, who will be happy to advise you,
if this is something you would like to pursue.

 

We hope this helps with your request.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Grant Webster

Information Compliance Officer

 

INFORMATION ABOUT THE HANDLING OF YOUR REQUEST

 

As the information which you requested is environmental information, as
defined under Regulation 2(1) of the Environmental Information (Scotland)
Regulations 2004 (the EIRs), ACC considered that it was exempt from
release through FOISA, and must therefore give you notice that we are
refusing  your request under Section 39(2) of FOISA (Freedom of
Information (Scotland) Act 2002).  However, you have a separate right to
access the information which you have requested under Regulation 5 of the
EIRs, under which ACC has handled your request. Please refer to the
attached PDF for more information about your rights under the EIRs.

 

 

Information Compliance Team | Customer Feedback | Customer Experience
Aberdeen City Council, Business Hub 17, 3^rd Floor North, Marischal
College, Broad Street, Aberdeen, AB10 1AQ
Tel 03000 200 292
Email [3][Aberdeen City Council request email]

[4]www.aberdeencity.gov.uk

 

*03000 numbers are free to call if you have ‘free minutes’ included in
your mobile call plan.

Calls from BT landlines will be charged at the local call rate of 10.24p
per minute (the same as 01224s).

[5]www.aberdeencity.gov.uk

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This e-mail (including any attachment to it) is
confidential, protected by copyright and may be privileged. The
information contained in it should be used for its intended purposes only.
If you receive this email in error, notify the sender by reply email,
delete the received email and do not make use of, disclose or copy it.
Whilst we take reasonable precautions to ensure that our emails are free
from viruses, we cannot be responsible for any viruses transmitted with
this email and recommend that you subject any incoming email to your own
virus checking procedures. Unless related to Council business, the
opinions expressed in this email are those of the sender and they do not
necessarily constitute those of Aberdeen City Council. Unless we expressly
say otherwise in this email or its attachments, neither this email nor its
attachments create, form part of or vary any contractual or unilateral
obligation. Aberdeen City Council's incoming and outgoing email is subject
to regular monitoring.

References

Visible links
1. https://committees.aberdeencity.gov.uk/i...
2. https://publicaccess.aberdeencity.gov.uk...
3. mailto:[Aberdeen City Council request email]
4. http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/
5. http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/