Joint National Trust - English Heritage meetings on the A303 at Stonehenge and related road issues

C. Smith made this Freedom of Information request to Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England

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 partially successful.

Dear Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England,

I request under Freedom of Information all communications, notes and minutes including but not limited to documents and emails, which discuss the joint National Trust - English Heritage meetings on the A303 at Stonehenge and related road issues dated between 01/12/13 and 31/03/2015.

Yours faithfully,

C. Smith

FOI, Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England

Our Reference:17/1755

Dear Mr Smith,

Re: Information Request – Stonehenge A303

Thank you for your email on 23 November in which you have requested all communications, notes and minutes including but not limited to documents and emails, which discuss the joint National Trust - English Heritage meetings on the A303 at Stonehenge and related road issues dated between 01/12/13 and 31/03/2015.

Your request will be considered under the Freedom of Information Act (2000)/ the Environmental Information Regulations (2004). We will be writing to you within the statutory 20 working day timeframe with a response to your request. You will be informed if this is not possible.

Yours sincerely,

The Information Rights Team

Pearson, Jennifer, Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England

REF: 17/1755

Dear Mr Smith,

I am writing to you today with regard to your information request for 'all communications, notes and minutes including but not limited to documents and emails, which discuss the joint National Trust - English Heritage meetings on the A303 at Stonehenge and related road issues dated between 01/12/13 and 31/03/2015'.

In terms of the A303 road improvement scheme, meetings involving English Heritage and the National Trust are organised by Highways England, and they send out the meeting invites and the subsequent minutes.

Having worked on your request, I am currently unclear as to what you mean by 'all communications which discuss the joint National Trust - English Heritage meetings'. As it stands your request is solely for discussions about the meetings. Is this what you meant in placing your request? Please could you clarify this, and whether it is information concerning the A303 road improvement scheme that you are most interested in? I am happy to look into this for you, however I currently require clarification of this to ensure that I am searching for information that is of most use and relevance to you.

You have given a date range of 01/12/13 - 31/03/2015.

Please be aware that I will not be able to progress your request further until I receive clarification from you, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs Jennifer Pearson

Senior Information Rights Officer - Weds, Thurs, Fri
Information Management and Technology Department
The Engine House, Room 2/07, Swindon, SN2 2EH

We help people understand, enjoy and value the historic environment, and protect it for the future. Historic England is a public body, and we champion everyone’s heritage, across England.

This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal views which are not the views of Historic England unless specifically stated. If you have received it in error, please delete it from your system and notify the sender immediately. Do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way nor act in reliance on it. Any information sent to Historic England may become publicly available.

Dear Mrs Pearson,

Thank you for responding. Yes, thank you, I am aware of Highways England's position and role. The information I seek does indeed concern the A303 road improvement scheme. If it helps, this information would include communications relating to exchanges before a formal scheme was announced in December 2014, to include background arrangements such as mutually convenient dates and more substantial discussion relating to information sharing and exploring mutual positions throughout the period and before Historic England and English Heritage split.
Yours sincerely,

C. Smith

Pearson, Jennifer, Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England

Dear C Smith,

Many thanks for your email, and thank you for your patience. As I am sure you can appreciate this is a very complex site and scheme, for which a great deal of information is held within the timeframe specified. To be of most help to you and in order to use the finite resources of Historic England and English Heritage most efficiently, I do want to be sure I understand what it is that you are specifically interested in receiving before I can begin my thorough searches for any information in scope.

I have summarised your request as I understand it below, however I need further detail from you in order to proceed. Please could you be very specific about what you mean by communications related to mutually convenient dates, information sharing and exploring mutual positions?

I understand your request to be for:

'Copies of all communications, notes and minutes including but not limited to documents and emails, which discuss the joint National Trust - English Heritage meetings on the Stonehenge Road Improvement Scheme and communications related to mutually convenient dates (for what?), information sharing (with who and about what?) and exploring mutual positions (related to what exactly?), dated between 01/12/13 and 31/03/2015'.

Please accept my apologies for coming back to you again and I look forward to hearing from you.

With many thanks and best wishes,

Jenny

Mrs Jennifer Pearson
Senior Information Rights Officer - Weds, Thurs, Fri
Information Management and Technology Department
The Engine House, Room 2/07, Swindon, SN2 2EH
Direct Dial: 01793 414537

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Dear Mrs Pearson,

Thank you once again. To recap my request relates to the meetings between the National Trust and English Heritage in relation to the A303 road improvement scheme through which mutual understanding was reached prior to and quite separate from those meetings that involved Highways England. In relation to this I am interested in the immediate background to the meetings as the context for discussion. When meetings on any new subject are arranged for the first time it is quite usual that mutually convenient dates are discussed in exchanges to arrange the earliest meetings. Subsequent meeting dates may but not always be set at the meeting itself the first of which I believe was March 7 2014. During these early few arrangement communications there are exchanges of information that establish the immediate context for discussions relating to liaison in relation to the forthcoming scheme and establishing mutual positions. This sets the scene for the meeting but there in likelihood were very few exchanges unless for some reason the first meeting was delayed or rearranged. From the date of the first meeting one imagines the minutes would constitute the bulk of the information requested unless something arose requiring specific input. The following would be correct but now appears more complex and extensive than it is.

'Copies of all communications, notes and minutes including but not limited to documents and emails, which discuss the joint National Trust - English Heritage meetings on the A303 Road Improvement Scheme at Stonehenge: early communications related to mutually convenient dates on which meetings can be arranged, information sharing between English Heritage and the National Trust about the road scheme and related aspects such as local communities, and exploring mutual positions in relation the road scheme, dated between 01/12/13 and 31/03/2015'.

I hope this is now clearer, I am very sorry this has taken up more of your time.

Yours sincerely,

C. Smith

Pearson, Jennifer, Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England

Dear C Smith,

Thank you for your email below, and for taking the time to set this out.

I can confirm that I will process your request to be as follows:

'Copies of all communications, notes and minutes including but not limited to documents and emails, which discuss the joint National Trust - English Heritage meetings on the A303 Road Improvement Scheme at Stonehenge: early communications related to mutually convenient dates on which meetings can be arranged, information sharing between English Heritage and the National Trust about the road scheme and related aspects such as local communities, and exploring mutual positions in relation the road scheme, dated between 01/12/13 and 31/03/2015'. You have confirmed that you would like to receive copies of any minutes of meetings that took place between English Heritage and the National Trust within the specified timeframe, with regard to the A303 Road Improvement Scheme at Stonehenge.

Your request will be considered under the Freedom of Information Act (2000)/ Environmental Information Regulations (2004). We will be writing to you within the statutory 20 working day timeframe with a response to your request. You will be informed if this is not possible.

Yours sincerely,

Jenny Pearson

Mrs Jennifer Pearson
Senior Information Rights Officer - Weds, Thurs, Fri
Information Management and Technology Department
The Engine House, Room 2/07, Swindon, SN2 2EH
Direct Dial: 01793 414537

We help people understand, enjoy and value the historic environment, and protect it for the future. Historic England is a public body, and we champion everyone’s heritage, across England.

This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal views which are not the views of Historic England unless specifically stated. If you have received it in error, please delete it from your system and notify the sender immediately. Do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way nor act in reliance on it. Any information sent to Historic England may become publicly available.

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Pearson, Jennifer, Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England

1 Attachment

Our Reference:17/1755

 

Dear Mr Smith,

 

RE: Information request - Joint National Trust - English Heritage meetings
on the A303 at Stonehenge and related road issues

 

Thank you for your email on 7 December, in which you kindly clarified your
request to be as follows:

 

'Copies of all communications, notes and minutes including but not limited
to documents and emails, which discuss the joint National Trust - English
Heritage meetings on the A303 Road Improvement Scheme at Stonehenge: 
early communications related to mutually convenient dates on which
meetings can be arranged, information sharing between English Heritage and
the National Trust about the road scheme and related aspects such as local
communities, and exploring mutual positions in relation the road scheme,
dated between 01/12/13 and 31/03/2015'. You have confirmed that you would
like to receive copies of any minutes of meetings that took place between
English Heritage and the National Trust within the specified timeframe,
with regard to the A303 Road Improvement Scheme at Stonehenge.

 

Having looked into your request and spent time working on it, I am sorry
to inform you that it is currently unlikely I will be able to meet the
deadline of 9 January. This is due to the unusually high workload we are
experiencing, and the compulsory Christmas office closure which means the
office is closed from 23 December and re-opens on 2 January. Access to
Information requests have a 20 working day deadline, and due to the office
closure we lose 3 days on every request that crosses this period. While I
will make every effort to respond on time, it may not be possible due to
these exceptional circumstances.

 

I am sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

 

I will keep you updated and will send a full response to your request as
soon as I am able.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Jenny

 

Mrs Jennifer Pearson

Senior Information Rights Officer - Weds, Thurs, Fri

Information Management and Technology Department

The Engine House, Room 2/07, Swindon, SN2 2EH

 

 

 

[1]Historic England Logo

We help people understand, enjoy and value the historic environment, and
protect it for the future. [2]Historic England is a public body, and we
champion everyone’s heritage, across England.
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This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal
views which are not the views of Historic England unless specifically
stated. If you have received it in error, please delete it from your
system and notify the sender immediately. Do not use, copy or disclose the
information in any way nor act in reliance on it. Any information sent to
Historic England may become publicly available.

References

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Gibbons, Frances, Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England

28 Attachments

REF: 17/1755

 

Dear Mr Smith,

 

Thank you for your information request, the scope of which was confirmed
with my colleague, Jenny Pearson, on 8 December. You have requested the
following:

 

Copies of all communications, notes and minutes including but not limited
to documents and emails, which discuss the joint National Trust - English
Heritage meetings on the A303 Road Improvement Scheme at Stonehenge: 
early communications related to mutually convenient dates on which
meetings can be arranged, information sharing between English Heritage and
the National Trust about the road scheme and related aspects such as local
communities, and exploring mutual positions in relation the road scheme,
dated between 01/12/13 and 31/03/2015'. You have confirmed that you would
like to receive copies of any minutes of meetings that took place between
English Heritage and the National Trust within the specified timeframe,
with regard to the A303 Road Improvement Scheme at Stonehenge.

 

Your request has been processed under the Environmental Information
Regulations 2004 (EIR).

 

Having looked into your request I can confirm that Historic England
(formally English Heritage) holds information that falls within the scope
of your request and under the EIR I am able to provide you with the
relevant documents as attached.

 

You should be aware that I have removed some personal information from the
attached documents. In making this decision I have relied upon Regulation
12(3) of the EIR- Third party personal information, the disclosure of
which would breach one or more of the data protection principles in the
Data Protection Act.

 

In addition to this I have removed one document in its entirety. In making
this decision I have relied upon Regulation 12(5)(d) of the EIR.

 

12(5)(d) - Confidentiality of Proceedings.

 

The exception in Regulation 12(5)(d) of the EIR is concerned with
protecting the confidentiality of proceedings by a public authority, where
such confidentiality is provided by law.

 

On reviewing the information in question, I have concluded that it forms a
'proceeding' as it consists of ongoing strategies and discussions that
have not yet been implemented in regards to Stonehenge and the A303 case,
and fulfils the degree of formality for a 'proceeding' as set out in the
EIRs. I am also of the view that it is reasonable to consider the
information to be confidential at this time.

 

As the application of the exception in Regulation 12(5)(d) of the EIR is
subject to a public interest test it is not sufficient for me to say, for
the reasons above, that I consider the exception to be engaged. I also
have to consider whether, in all circumstances of the case, the public
interest in maintaining the exception outweighs the public interest in
disclosing the information.

 

In favour of disclosure I have considered the public interest in the
transparency of the work of Historic England and our accountability and
openness as a public authority when involved in detailed discussions with
third parties, like The National Trust. I also acknowledge the presumption
in favour of disclosure that is contained within the EIR.

 

In favour of withholding the information I have considered the argument
that the document relates to ongoing promotional strategies and other
discussions that have not yet been implemented. To release the detail of
these discussions would lead to a breach of the obligation of confidence
and trust with partner organisations and authorities.   It is essential
that other organisations and authorities feel able to communicate openly
with Historic England. By having free and frank communications all areas
of discussion can be covered, ensuring that the best possible outcome is
achieved. It is important to note that any information released under the
EIR is considered to be in the public domain. While I accept that
transparency and accountability are important, I believe that the release
of the information in question at this time would have an adverse effect
on the process.

 

Having considered the above arguments I have concluded that the public
interest is currently best served by maintaining the exception.

 

Finally, you should note that information that falls outside the scope of
your request has also been removed.

 

I hope that the information I have been able to provide is useful to you.
Details of our review procedure are attached.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Frances Gibbons

 

Mrs Frances Gibbons
Senior Information Rights Officer- Tues, Wed, Thurs

Information and Records Management

Historic England | Room 2/07 | The Engine House | Fire Fly Avenue |
Swindon | Wiltshire | SN2 2EH

01793 414445

 

 

 

[1]Historic England Logo

We help people understand, enjoy and value the historic environment, and
protect it for the future. [2]Historic England is a public body, and we
champion everyone’s heritage, across England.
Follow us:  [3]Facebook  |  [4]Twitter  |  [5]Instagram     Sign up to our
[6]newsletter     

Help us create a list of the 100 places which tell England's remarkable
story and its impact on the world. [7]A History of England in 100
Places sponsored by [8]Ecclesiastical.

This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal
views which are not the views of Historic England unless specifically
stated. If you have received it in error, please delete it from your
system and notify the sender immediately. Do not use, copy or disclose the
information in any way nor act in reliance on it. Any information sent to
Historic England may become publicly available.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.historicengland.org.uk/
2. http://bit.ly/1OuxROd
3. https://www.facebook.com/HistoricEngland
4. https://twitter.com/HistoricEngland
5. https://www.instagram.com/historicengland/
6. http://bit.ly/1p49z1e
7. https://historicengland.org.uk/100places
8. http://www.ecclesiastical.com/fororganis...

Dear Mrs Gibbons,

Can you supply all text documents in a single pdf please, and the maps in a second pdf please.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

C. Smith

Gibbons, Frances, Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England

2 Attachments

Dear C Smith,

Please find attached as requested.

Mrs Frances Gibbons
Senior Information Rights Officer- Tues, Wed, Thurs
Information and Records Management
Historic England | Room 2/07 | The Engine House | Fire Fly Avenue | Swindon | Wiltshire | SN2 2EH
01793 414445

We help people understand, enjoy and value the historic environment, and protect it for the future. Historic England is a public body, and we champion everyone’s heritage, across England.

We have moved! Our new London office is at 4th Floor, Cannon Bridge House, 25 Dowgate Hill, London, EC4R 2YA.

This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal views which are not the views of Historic England unless specifically stated. If you have received it in error, please delete it from your system and notify the sender immediately. Do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way nor act in reliance on it. Any information sent to Historic England may become publicly available.

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