Land Title Number TY46688

Len Lowther made this Freedom of Information request to Sunderland City Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was refused by Sunderland City Council.

Dear Sunderland City Council,

On the 10 of December 2013, Jane Rigsby requested information as follows; Customer Request Number:13 12 47

Please publish all documents relating to the sale of a development
site at Roker (Title Number TY46688) by Sunderland City Council to
 a company named BEACHBAR LEISURE LIMITED of 1 Grange Crescent,
Sunderland, which is owned by local architect Mr. xxxxxxxx, on the 16th of January 2008.



Since the land was sold [potentially defamatory material removed] known [potentially defamatory material removed]
 of xxxxxxxx [potentially defamatory material removed], this is a matter of serious 
interest to all Sunderland residents and cannot be rejected on the 
spurious grounds of being 'vexatious'.

Under the terms of the 1972 Local Government Act the land was
 obliged to have been offered for sale on the open market in order
 to realise the best possible price; I would like to see evidence 
that the sale of this land was undertaken by lawful due process.



We would also like to see the written proposal Mr. xxxxxxxxx was 
obliged to submit to the council when he approached the authority
 expressing an interest in purchasing the site and evidence from
 council officers that the issue was discussed and handled in an
 appropriate manner - which of course involves discussing the
 disposal of the site with all 3 Ward councillors at the time of
 initial approach.


https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/l...

Sunderland Council has now classed this request for information as vexatious. In fact Sunderland council has classed all requests for information regarding this land as vexatious. I ask why all requests regarding this land is being classed as vexatious?

Sunderland Council also stated it considered the request as potentially defamatory.

(Defamatory} damaging the good reputation of someone; slanderous or libellous.

{Additionally, please note that the council considers that the content of your email is potentially defamatory and this will be brought to the attention of the appropriate agencies.}

I ask in what way Sunderland Council considers the request as potentially defamatory?

I ask why Sunderland Council is refusing all requests for information regarding this land?

I would also like to see the assessment, which allowed Fitz Architects to swap a piece of land (Title Number:TY513697) with no other use than a garden for a strip of land that should have been subject to land marriage value.

Marriage value: The value released by the merger of two or more interests in land, often when combining land parcels to assemble a development site.

FYI I do not know Jane Rigsby and can assure Sunderland Council it is not a pseudonym I use.

Regards Len Lowther

Yours faithfully,

Len Lowther

Dear Sunderland City Council,

Good day this request for information has not been acknowledged and is still waiting response from Sunderland Council. The request is to answered no later than the 12th of February.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives a general right of public access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities including Sunderland City Council.

This right is subject to prescribed conditions and the exemptions set out in Sections 21 to 44 in Part II of the Act. This includes the right to be told whether information exists as well as the right to receive information. Section 1 of the Act came into force in January 2005 and gives members of the public the right to make specific requests for non-personal information held by public authorities covered by the Act.

Sunderland Council can not view the request as vexatious in the sense of being a manifestly unjustified, inappropriate or improper use of FOIA or cause a disproportionate or unjustified level of disruption, irritation or distress.

Notes of caution

Judge Wikeley confirmed that the term ‘vexatious’ here applies to the request, not the requester (Dransfield, para 19).

He also warned that the right to deem a single request vexatious “should not be seen as giving licence to public authorities to use section 14 as a means of forestalling genuine attempts to hold them to account” and that “a lack of apparent objective value cannot alone provide a basis for refusal under section 14, unless there are other factors present which raise the question of vexatiousness. In any case, given that the legislative policy is one of openness, public authorities should be wary of jumping to conclusions about there being a lack of any value or serious purpose behind a request simply because it is not immediately self-evident” (Dransfield, paras 36 and 38 respectively).

Yours faithfully,

Len Lowther

Len Lowther left an annotation ()

Disabled access to the proposed development is also under scrutiny:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/l...

OCEFOI, Sunderland City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Len Lowther

 

In order to respond to your request for information, I am writing to
inform you that a short extension is required to consider a relevant
public interest exemption, Section 43 (Commercial Interests).

 

I anticipate that you will receive a response by Wednesday 26 February at
the latest.

 

Kind regards 

 
Julia Harper
Business Development Officer
Office of the Chief Executive
Sunderland City Council
Room 3.92 - Civic Centre
Sunderland
SR2 7DN
Tel: 0191 5611573 
Email: [1][email address
 

show quoted sections

Dear OCEFOI,
Thank you for your reply. As you know three independent requests for information have been submitted regarding the sale / lease / transfer or gift of land on Marine Walk.

Obviously there is great public interest as to how the former Jobes Cafe site which as previous planning applications prove, was confined to the area defined by the existing retaining wall, now greatly extends both north and south.

Previous requests for information about this land were wrongly refused by SCC under Regulation 12 (4) (b) of the Environmental Information Regulations and Regulations under section 14 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act.

It appears that as I have requested the same information and it has not been refused under the same regulations you agree it was wrong to refuse my previous requests for information under this premise.

Sunderland City Council are now informing me they will try to refuse disclosure of information held by using Section 43 ( Commercial Interests ).

If it was the case that the information requested could have been refused using Section 43 ( Commercial Interests ) why was it that Section 43 was not previously used instead of simply classing the requests as vexatious without grounds to do so.

Section 43 ( Commercial Interests )

Factors that might weigh in favour of the public interest in withholding information in this area include:

 where disclosure would make it less likely that companies or individuals would provide the department with commercially sensitive information in the future and consequently undermine the ability of the department/agency to fulfil its role

 where disclosure would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of the department by affecting adversely its bargaining position during contractual negotiations which would result in the less effective use of public money

 where disclosure would, as a consequence, make it more difficult for individuals to be able to conduct commercial transactions or have other dealings with public bodies which are not a typical commercial transaction - for example where an organisation obtains a grant or financial assistance from a public authority - without fear of suffering commercially as a result. It would not, for example, be in the public interest to disclose information about a particular commercial body if that information was not common knowledge and would be likely to be used by competitors in a particular market to gain a competitive advantage

The price paid is freely available ( land registry ). It is the case that the land in question is unique in location therefore no future commercial bargaining could be claimed effected.

The information requested; was the land offered for sale on the open market in order
 to realise the best possible price can not be classed as commercially sensitive information.

The request for evidence from
 council that the issues were discussed and handled in an
 appropriate manner - which of course involves discussing the
 disposal of the site with all 3 Ward councillors at the time of
 initial approach.
 This request can not be classed as commercially sensitive as it simply asks were council procedures followed.

The request to see the assessment, which allowed Fitz Architects to swap a piece of land (Title Number:TY513697) with no other use than a garden for a strip of land that should have been subject to land marriage value.

Marriage value: The value released by the merger of two or more interests in land, often when combining land parcels to assemble a development site.

This request for information asks were council procedures followed to realise the best possible price for the public purse. Once again this cannot be classed as commercially sensitive information as it is a request for information to prove council procedures were followed.

Yours sincerely,

Len Lowther

OCEFOI, Sunderland City Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Lowther

 

Further to your request for information submitted on 15 January, while
this is clearly thematically linked to a lengthy history of correspondence
in pursuit of a campaign, and the council would therefore be entitled,
should it so choose, to refuse your request as vexatious, in the interest
of transparency, I attach a copy of the valuation report which comprises
the assessment of land value you have requested.

 

It has been necessary to redact some financial information from the
attached valuation report in accordance with Section 43 (Commercial
Interest), but you will note from the conclusion that the value of the
land acquired by the council exceeded the value of the land exchanged, and
a land swap with no consideration was recommended by the valuer. 

 

With regard to the questions you raise, these are requests for opinion not
recorded information. I can advise however that any suggestion of
impropriety in relation to the council's approach to development on this
site is entirely unfounded, and therefore potentially defamatory. The
reasons for refusal of previous requests as vexatious have been fully set
out.  Essentially, this ongoing campaign is making disproportionate
demands on limited, publicly funded, resources.

 

Kind regards

 

Julia Harper
Business Development Officer
Office of the Chief Executive
Sunderland City Council
Room 3.92 - Civic Centre
Sunderland
SR2 7DN
Tel: 0191 5611573 
Email: [1][email address
 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]

Jane Rigsby (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

There is no ' campaign' regarding this matter. All people want to know is the sale of this property was conducted by lawful process. It is simply your refusal to answer perfectly reasonable questions relating to this matter that is fuelling suspicion. Are we to assume that you cannot provide the information requested because it does not exist? You can either provide answers to my FoIR or a report will be submitted to BBC current affairs program 'Inside Out' and a journalist will be picking up the story - the choice is yours.

Dear OCEFOI, Sunderland City Council are now claiming due to more than one person requesting information about the same subject they are thematically linked (themed) and could be refused by classing the request for information as vexatious.

Why is there an issue with a theme, bearing in mind this theme has been created by SCCs refusal to provide information requested? It is simply SCCs refusal to provide information to several people about the sale of a large area of prime seafront development land for £25,000 that fuels the suspicion of maladministration.

The requests are from unrelated persons who have themselves previously asked SCC for information using this website. I presume they ask for the same information to be made available in the interests of transparency, and to ensure the sale of this land was conducted by lawful process thus achieving best value for the public purse.

The lengthy history of correspondence would not have occurred if SCC had released the information originally requested for all to read. This would have dramatically reduced the demands on limited, publicly funded, resources.

The attached valuation report states: (The proposed development is NOT RESTRICTED in terms of land as the owner has further land where the development could be moved etc. Ransom value is therefore not considered applicable.)

South Tyneside Council building control department provided pre application planning advice and have stated: (South Tyneside’s Building Control team have strived to achieve the best possible solution that they consider to be reasonable considering the application as a whole and the SITE CONSTRAINTS.)

These completely opposing statements prove the complicity of both councils involved. Constraints of the site are none other than, the cost of providing a retaining wall for this hillside development on made ground.

Both councils have accepted plans that do not provide appropriate disabled access to the development contravening building regulations and the Equality Act 2010. Approved Document M precludes consideration of costs as reason not to provide reasonable provision for people with mobility issues to gain access to and use of buildings and facilities.

The attached valuation report does not consider ransom value relevant but ignores the fact, that to move the development would require a large financial outlay to provide a retaining wall. The fact that the building cannot be moved without the requirement of a hugely expensive retaining wall being built was reason enough for ransom value to be applied.

Once again it is completely obvious that both councils have manipulated the facts to ensure Fitz Architects desire to have a seafront office is achieved with as little expenditure as possible. This has resulted in denying the true value of the land recently swapped on land title deed TY513697 thus robbing the public purse of funds.

The attached valuation report confirms the fact that there are no constraints to the site that would legally allow the development to be built without access for all.

SCC could put an end to wasting further publicly funded resources being used to deny rate payers inquiries about the sale of the land on title deed TY466883 by simply supplying the information requested.

1. Why are all requests regarding this land being classed as vexatious. This is not a request for opinion but a request for the facts as to how this decision was arrived at.

2. Why is it Sunderland City Council considers Jane Rigsby’s request for information on 10th December 2013 as potentially defamatory. This is not a request for opinion but a request for the facts as to how this decision was arrived at.

3. Why is Sunderland City Council refusing all requests for information regarding this land. This is not a request for opinion but a request for the facts as to how this decision was arrived at.

4. Please provide the valuation report that allowed a very large piece of seafront development land to be sold for £25,000, the land sold on land title deed TY466883.

5. Where was the land advertised for sale?

6. Please provide all relevant evidence that the sale of this land was undertaken lawfully.

7. Please provide the written proposal Beachbar Leisure Ltd submitted to the council when expressing an interest in purchasing the site.

8. Please provide minutes of the meeting that took place with the 3 ward councillors in respect of the sale of this land.

Yours sincerely,

Len Lowther

OCEFOI, Sunderland City Council

Dear Mr Lowther

Thank you for your email which was received on Monday 10 March. I have since passed this to my colleagues who will respond in due course.

Kind regards

Julia Harper
Business Development Officer
Office of the Chief Executive
Sunderland City Council
Room 3.92 - Civic Centre
Sunderland
SR2 7DN
Tel: 0191 5611573
Email: [email address]

show quoted sections

Solicitor - Freedom of Information, Sunderland City Council

Dear Mr Lowther

Further to your e-mail below - your numbered (new) questions below have been logged under FOI Request Reference Number 14-03-40 and will now receive attention from the appropriate officers.

Kind regards,

Sunderland City Council

show quoted sections

Arthur left an annotation ()

The valuation report looks false to me. I would ask who produced this report. It seems strange not to have a letter head even if it was an in house report from the estates department. I totally agree the public purse has been robbed the report should have considered the cost of moving the buildings. Interesting that the council need so much time to give the answers about Marine Walk. They might be finding it hard to get someone credible to say they were involved and it was done legally. If I was Mr
Craig Fitzackerleys father or Paul Watson I would have cleared my name by now and sued Jane Rigsby.

Dear Solicitor - Freedom of Information,
can you please inform me as to when I can expect a reply to my questions?

Yours sincerely,

Len Lowther

OCEFOI, Sunderland City Council

Dear Mr Lowther

I write in response to the further requests for information as set out in
your email of 9 March

 

1.         'Why are all requests regarding this land being classed as
vexatious. This is not a request for opinion but a request for the facts
as to how this decision was arrived at.'

The council is entitled to refuse this and your further requests below as
vexatious for the reasons previously provided. The disproportionate
demands made by this series of requests mean that the council estimates it
has now spent more than 200 hours of officer time responding to this line
of correspondence, equivalent, if billed for at commercial rates, to a
cost to the taxpayer of over £16,000. If the council had also responded to
each of the requests it has refused as vexatious these figures would be
significantly higher.

2.         'Why is it Sunderland City Council considers Jane Rigsby’s
request for information on 10th December 2013 as potentially defamatory.
This is not a request for opinion but a request for the facts as to how
this decision was arrived at.'

This is because, within the request for information, there is a statement
regarding an alleged 'long-term friendship' between a member of the public
and the council leader. The facts as to how this decision was arrived
at are that this member of the public has met the leader of the council on
only one occasion.

3.         'Why is Sunderland City Council refusing all requests for
information regarding this land. This is not a request for opinion but a
request for the facts as to how this decision was arrived at.'

The council considers each request on its merits. Where a
particular request has been refused see 1 above.

For the remainder of the questions you raise you are referred to the
following; [1]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s...

 

I hope this is satisfactory.  If, however, you are dissatisfied with our
response to your request for information, you can ask for the decision to
be reviewed in reply to this letter.  The review will be removed from the
Directorate and coordinated by the Council's Information Governance
Officer.  A request for review should be directed, by email to
[2][Sunderland City Council request email], by post or hand addressed to:
Information Governance Officer, Governance Services, Civic Centre, PO Box
100, Sunderland SR2 7DN.

You are of course entitled to apply to the Information Commissioner at any
time, although the Commissioner will not usually investigate until the
public authority's internal review procedure has been concluded.

Kind Regards

 

Steve Hanratty

Business Development Manager

Office Of The Chief Executive

Sunderland City Council

Tel: 0191 5617808

[3]www.sunderland.gov.uk

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Len Lowther [[FOI #193053 email]]

Sent: 09 March 2014 15:14

To: OCEFOI

Subject: Re: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST 14 01 148

 

Follow Up Flag: Follow up

Flag Status: Purple

 

Dear OCEFOI, Sunderland City Council are now claiming due to more than one
person requesting information about the same subject they are thematically
linked (themed) and could be refused by classing the request for
information as vexatious.

 

Why is there an issue with a theme, bearing in mind this theme has been
created by SCCs refusal to provide information requested? It is simply
SCCs refusal to provide information to several people about the sale of a
large area of prime seafront development land for £25,000 that fuels the
suspicion of maladministration.

 

The requests are from unrelated persons who have themselves previously
asked SCC for information using this website. I presume they ask for the
same information to be made available in the interests of transparency,
and to ensure the sale of this land was conducted by lawful process thus
achieving best value for the public purse.

 

The lengthy history of correspondence would not have occurred if SCC had
released the information originally requested for all to read. This would
have dramatically reduced the demands on limited, publicly funded,
resources.

 

The attached valuation report states: (The proposed development is NOT
RESTRICTED in terms of land as the owner has further land where the
development could be moved etc. Ransom value is therefore not considered
applicable.)

 

South Tyneside Council building control department provided pre
application planning advice and have stated: (South Tyneside’s Building
Control team have strived to achieve the best possible solution that they
consider to be reasonable considering the application as a whole and the
SITE CONSTRAINTS.)

 

These completely opposing statements prove the complicity of both councils
involved. Constraints of the site are none other than, the cost of
providing a retaining wall for this hillside development on made ground.

 

Both councils have accepted plans that do not provide appropriate disabled
access to the development contravening building regulations and the
Equality Act 2010. Approved Document M precludes consideration of costs as
reason not to provide reasonable provision for people with mobility issues
to gain access to and use of buildings and facilities.

 

The attached valuation report does not consider ransom value relevant but
ignores the fact, that to move the development would require a large
financial outlay to provide a retaining wall. The fact that the building
cannot be moved without the requirement of a hugely expensive retaining
wall being built was reason enough for ransom value to be applied.

 

Once again it is completely obvious that both councils have manipulated
the facts to ensure Fitz Architects desire to have a seafront office is
achieved with as little expenditure as possible. This has resulted in
denying the true value of the land recently swapped on land title deed
TY513697 thus robbing the public purse of funds.

 

The attached valuation report confirms the fact that there are no
constraints to the site that would legally allow the development to be
built without access for all.

 

SCC could put an end to wasting further publicly funded resources being
used to deny rate payers inquiries about the sale of the land on title
deed TY466883 by simply supplying the information requested.

 

1.         Why are all requests regarding this land being classed as
vexatious. This is not a request for opinion but a request for the facts
as to how this decision was arrived at.

 

2.         Why is it Sunderland City Council considers Jane Rigsby’s
request for information on 10th December 2013 as potentially defamatory.
This is not a request for opinion but a request for the facts as to how
this decision was arrived at.

 

3.         Why is Sunderland City Council refusing all requests for
information regarding this land. This is not a request for opinion but a
request for the facts as to how this decision was arrived at.

 

4.         Please provide the valuation report that allowed a very large
piece of seafront development land to be sold for £25,000, the land sold
on land title deed TY466883.

 

5.         Where was the land advertised for sale?

 

6.         Please provide all relevant evidence that the sale of this land
was undertaken lawfully.

 

7.         Please provide the written proposal Beachbar Leisure Ltd
submitted to the council when expressing an interest in purchasing the
site.

 

8.         Please provide minutes of the meeting that took place with the
3 ward councillors in respect of the sale of this land.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Len Lowther

[4]Proud - Decent - Together

References

Visible links
1. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s...
2. blocked::mailto:[Sunderland City Council request email] mailto:[Sunderland City Council request email] blocked::mailto:[Sunderland City Council request email] mailto:[Sunderland City Council request email]
file:///tmp/blocked::mailto:[Sunderland City Council request email]
3. http://www.sunderland.gov.uk/
4. file:///tmp/foiextract20190215-2096-j82hb7#mapMap

Dear OCEFOI,
Sunderland Council say; The disproportionate demands made by this series of requests mean that the council estimates it has now spent more than 200 hours of officer time responding to this line of correspondence, equivalent, if billed for at commercial rates, to a cost to the taxpayer of over £16,000.

£16,000 divided by 200 = £80 per hour!!! 40 hr week = £3,200... Nice work if you can get it.....

On the 24th November 2013 Katy Green offered to pay for the information requested by Len Lowther / Matt Black / Laura Green / David Beech / John Keyworth.

Sunderland Council ignored Katy Greens offer to pay for the information requested. Why???

Could it be Sunderland Council are trying to avoid the public finding out that the land on Marine Walk, was not, offered for sale on the open market in order to realise the best possible price for the public purse as required by law.

Sunderland Council state; The council no longer holds records pre-dating the agreement to sell, given the length of time elapsed since the sale was first agreed.

The valuation report attached to this request for information states; "from RECEIVING THE FILE it appears that the exclusion of the land from the original sale was an error due to an inaccurate old plan which made it look like the land was a foot path". The valuation report then goes on to explain the agreement to sell the land for the development of a public house.

Therefore the valuation officers obviously had access to information of the original sale of this land on the 14th August 2013.

Whether the land was not included by mistake is irrelevant, the Council retained an asset and the Council are required by law to maximise the return from that asset. As previously stated the valuation report ignores the fact that without the strip of land "swapped" the development could not have proceeded without major financial outlay for a retaining wall. This should have been reason enough to invoke land marriage value. Therefore once again the public purse is robbed, as with the original sale of the massive piece of land on Marine Walk for a measly £25,000!!!

Please provide the contents of the file, including the old plan mentioned which will allow the public to judge whether or not Sunderland Council have anything to hide.

Sunderland Council are refusing to provide information because protocols have not been followed, laws have been ignored and the public purse robbed.

Please stop wasting more time and money publish the information from the FILE.

Yours sincerely,

Len Lowther

Dear Sunderland City Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Sunderland City Council's handling of my FOI request 'Land Title Number TY46688'.

Sunderland Council may be breaching the Freedom of Information Act by:

failing to respond adequately to a request for information;

failing to adopt the model publication scheme, or do not publish the correct information;

or deliberately destroy, hide or alter requested information to prevent it being released.

This last point is the only criminal offence in the Act that individuals and public authorities can be charged with.

Please provide the information requested or simply refuse my request giving legal reason for doing so.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000...

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

Yours faithfully,

Len Lowther

Solicitor - Freedom of Information, Sunderland City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Lowther

I acknowledge your email below requesting a review of your FOI request.

I can confirm that this will now be allocated to an officer, independent
of the original decision, to undertake a review of the information
supplied.

The review normally takes 15 working days, however should there be a delay
you will be kept informed.

Yours sincerely
 
Bev Seldon
 
Beverley Seldon
Complaints and Feedback Officer
Commercial & Corporate Services
Sunderland City Council
Tel:  0191 561 7993
Fax: 0191 5531020
Email: [1][email address]
 
[2]www.sunderland.gov.uk
 

show quoted sections

Jane Rigsby (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

I have had a friend, who is a member of the RICS and an experienced developer, examine this project by Craig Fitzakerly. He values the total development at around £1.1m on completion. Using the standard principles of one-third land cost, one-third construction cost and the remaining third gross profit the development site should have been valued by Sunderland Council somewhere between £350,000-£400,000.

The councils failure to ensure the site was sold in accordance with recommended procedures has cost Sunderland taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds and landed Mr. Fitzakerly with a very handsome profit. [Potentially defamatory material removed]

Arthur left an annotation ()

Just found this one on the readytogo net"..... "We did a scheme for that site, not me personally but our practice put a scheme in as part of a competition and the council chose the winning scheme and that's why the price was so low as they wanted a quality scheme that would provide the best for Sunderland. If it had been put on the open market then they would get a few grand more but end up with few crap apartments with shite basic design 'typical' developer shoe boxes with no architectural quality"

It all seems very suspicious to me. Won a competition sounds like no competition to me just who you know.

Jane Rigsby (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Firstly, can you prove there was a design contest? I think there is a deliberate attempt to cause confusion with this claim because there was indeed a contest further up the coast to develop the old shelter next to Morrison's supermarket - which by sheer coincidence Fitz Architects also won which means the same company is developing two sites on the sea front. This issue affects land near the Roker Pier.

Secondly; 'If it had been put on the open market then they would get a few grand more but end up with few crap apartments with shite basic design 'typical' developer shoe boxes with no architectural quality" This is exactly what Fitzakerley is doing with this site and as I stated above the land was worth far, far more than the £25,000 paid to acquire it.

It is clear an investigation needs to be conducted into the situation. At the very least into malaministration by Sunderland Council although if it can be proved a relationship exists between the parties alleged to be involved then it becomes a criminal matter and worthy of the attention of Northumbria Police.

Dear Solicitor - Freedom of Information,

Good day I believe that taking into account public holidays you are due to reply today.

Yours sincerely,

Len Lowther

This message has been hidden. This particular message has been hidden because it is a duplicate of one sent on the same date. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Good day I am still waiting for the information I have requested. It is not a campaign, it is not vexatious and could easily be provided within the £450 limit. [Extraneous material removed - WhatDoTheyKnow Team]

Kind Regards Len Lowther

Dear Solicitor - Freedom of Information,
This request for information is now overdue as are other requests for the same information.

This is a statement from the council leader in the Sunderland Echo on 15th May 2014 “This land was sold in 2007 for £25,000 and there is independent confirmation the council received above-market value for council tax payers from the sale.

Please provide the amount Sunderland Council has spent denying the public access to the information the council leader says is now available.

Bearing in mind the council has quoted (that the council estimates it has now spent more than 200 hours of officer time responding to this line of correspondence, equivalent, if billed for at commercial rates, to a cost to the taxpayer of over £16,000.)

On the 20th January 2014 Heather Fagan asked
Please provide documents relating to the sale of Title Number TY46688 at Roker Sea Front by Sunderland City Council to Beachbar Leisure Limited

The councils reply stated that it no longer holds records pre-dating the agreement to sell, given the length of time elapsed since the sale was first agreed.

There seems to be some confusion within the council as to whether it holds the information requested or not.

Please provide the independent confirmation the council received above-market value for council tax payers from the sale, which the council leader now says they hold.

The council records show Proposed Sale of Freehold Reversionary Interest in Ford and Hylton Club, Poole Road, Pennywell 2008. Lynn Hunt of District Audit stated that as they did not know if the Ford and Hylton Social Club was an isolated case, they had extended a sample to a dozen leases and had pulled together initial findings. It was also planned to so some work on the strategic approach to asset management across the Council. District Audit was encouraged by the statements made by the Council in the action plan.

Can you pleases advise was the the sale of this land a consideration of audit commissions work on asset management across the Council.

Yours sincerely,

Len Lowther

Dear Sunderland City Council,

can you please provide an acknowldgement that this request has been received.

Yours sincerely,

Len Lowther

Dear Solicitor - Freedom of Information, on the 16th of April you replied as follows;
( I acknowledge your email below requesting a review of your FOI request.

I can confirm that this will now be allocated to an officer, independent
of the original decision, to undertake a review of the information
supplied.

The review normally takes 15 working days, however should there be a delay you will be kept informed. )

Can you please let me know if you still intend to undertake an internal review or are you simply refusing to reply?

If you do not reply by the 30th of May 2014 I will take it that you simply do not want to reply to me as you stated on the 16th of April 2014.

Yours sincerely,

Len Lowther

Rhiannon Hood, Sunderland City Council

Dear Mr Lowther

I have reviewed the further correspondence and in the context of past
correspondence and your further recent contacts with this authority and
others, I have concluded that this request, and the supplementary
questions you have raised above should also be refused as vexatious. 

In summary, you appear to be exploring every avenue, and engaging with
others, in opposition to a development to which the planning record shows
you raised no objection at the appropriate stage of the planning process.

Your comments above do not accurately reflect, or take account of, the
number of times you have contacted the council and a number of other
public authorities by letter and other email. This, in addition to the
requests you have made on this site, continues to make disproportionate
demands on the limited resources available. I doubt you will agree, but
hope you can appreciate that others would consider that staff time and
resources will be better spent on providing services to people
who use those services more responsibly. 

If you are dissatisfied with this response you are entitled to approach
the Information Commissioner again. The Council will, again, give the
Commissioner's office every assistance with their enquiries.

The Commissioner can be contacted at:-

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House,

Water Lane,

Wilmslow,

Cheshire,

SK95AF

Tel: 08456 30 60 60

Fax: 01625 524 510

Website: [1]www.ico.gov.uk

I appreciate that you are receiving this reply later than would usually be
the case. In the context outlined above it is now necessary to prioritise
responses to other members of the public, and close this correspondence. 

Regards

Rhiannon Hood

Rhiannon Hood
Assistant Head of Law and Governance
Commercial and Corporate Services Sunderland City Council
Tel: 0191 561 1005
Email: [email address]
[2]www.sunderland.gov.uk
 

[3]Proud - Decent - Together

References

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2. http://www.sunderland.gov.uk/
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Dear Rhiannon Hood, Thank you for your response.

[Link to potentially defamatory material removed]

Yours sincerely,

Len Lowther