NH/88/2019 restriction of planning consent at LG10 (Letchworth Garden City)

Leigh Brookes made this Freedom of Information request to Hertfordshire County Council

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Dear Hertfordshire County Council,

Please provide meeting minutes, (inc. committee/ sub committee), correspondence, e.g. email, letter, memos, phone transcripts, etc. regarding the recent decision to support the above referenced development from a highways stand point in spite of the fact that it contravenes HCCs own guidance on access roads and footpaths.

The communications requested should include those from HCC to HCC, HCC to councillor, HCC to external parties to HCC, e.g. NHDC, developers, Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, etc. in either direction, i.e. sent or received.

Many thanks!

Yours faithfully,

Leigh Brookes

Information Governance, Hertfordshire County Council

3 Attachments

Dear Ms Brookes

 

Reference number: EIR/ENV/09/20/19707

 

Thank you for your email of the 17^th September 2020 requesting the
following information:-

 

Please provide meeting minutes, (inc. committee/ sub committee),
correspondence, e.g. email, letter, memos, phone transcripts, etc.
regarding the recent decision to support the above referenced development
from a highways stand point in spite of the fact that it contravenes HCCs
own guidance on access roads and footpaths.

 

The communications requested should include those from HCC to HCC, HCC to
councillor, HCC to external parties to HCC, e.g. NHDC, developers,
Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, etc. in either direction, i.e.
sent or received.

 

Your request for information is being considered under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000/ Environmental Information Regulations 2004. We will
respond to your request as quickly as possible, and by the end of 15^th
October 2020 at the latest.

 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me, quoting
the reference number above.

               

Yours sincerely

 

 

Ingrid Howard
Information Access Practitioner

Information Access Team
Hertfordshire County Council  
223 County Hall, Pegs Lane, Hertford, SG13 8DE, Postal Point: CH0320
T: 01992 555848 (Internal 25848) 
E: [1][Hertfordshire County Council request email]

 

[2]Hertfordshire County Council Facebook[3]Hertfordshire County Council
Twitter[4]Hertfordshire County Council email updates

 

References

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Information Governance, Hertfordshire County Council

3 Attachments

 

Dear Ms Brookes

 

Reference number: EIR/ENV/09/20/19707

 

Further to our email of 17^th September 2020, acknowledging your request
for information, we are currently processing your request under the
Environmental Information regulations 2004  Unfortunately we are still
considering your request under the Regulations and will therefore be
unable to meet this deadline.  As a result we would like to extend the
deadline by 10 working days to 29^th October 2020.  I apologise for the
delay in responding to your request and will endeavour to provide a
response before that date  if at all possible.

 

Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.

 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us, quoting
the reference number on this email.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Ingrid Howard
Information Access Practitioner

Information Access Team
Hertfordshire County Council  
223 County Hall, Pegs Lane, Hertford, SG13 8DE, Postal Point: CH0320
T: 01992 555848 (Internal 25848) 
E: [1][Hertfordshire County Council request email]

 

[2]Hertfordshire County Council Facebook[3]Hertfordshire County Council
Twitter[4]Hertfordshire County Council email updates

 

References

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3. http://www.twitter.com/hertscc
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Information Governance, Hertfordshire County Council

3 Attachments

Dear Ms Brookes

 

Reference number: EIR/ENV/09/20/19707

 

Further to our acknowledgement email of 17^th September 2020, and to my
email of 20^th October delaying our response to your request for
information, we are currently processing your request under the
Environmental Information regulations 2004  Unfortunately we are still
considering your request under the Regulations and will therefore be
unable to meet the 29^th October  deadline.  As a result we would like to
extend the deadline by a further 10 working days to 12^th November 2020. 
I apologise for this further delay in responding to your request and will
endeavour to provide a response before that date  if at all possible.

 

Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.

 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us, quoting
the reference number on this email.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Ingrid Howard
Information Access Practitioner

Information Access Team
Hertfordshire County Council  
223 County Hall, Pegs Lane, Hertford, SG13 8DE, Postal Point: CH0320
T: 01992 555848 (Internal 25848) 
E: [1][Hertfordshire County Council request email]

 

[2]Hertfordshire County Council Facebook[3]Hertfordshire County Council
Twitter[4]Hertfordshire County Council email updates

 

From: Ingrid Howard On Behalf Of Information Governance
Sent: 20 October 2020 18:43
To: 'Leigh Brookes' <[FOI #692013 email]>
Subject: Reference number: EIR/ENV/09/20/19707

 

 

Dear Ms Brookes

 

Reference number: EIR/ENV/09/20/19707

 

Further to our email of 17^th September 2020, acknowledging your request
for information, we are currently processing your request under the
Environmental Information regulations 2004  Unfortunately we are still
considering your request under the Regulations and will therefore be
unable to meet this deadline.  As a result we would like to extend the
deadline by 10 working days to 29^th October 2020.  I apologise for the
delay in responding to your request and will endeavour to provide a
response before that date  if at all possible.

 

Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.

 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us, quoting
the reference number on this email.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Ingrid Howard
Information Access Practitioner

Information Access Team
Hertfordshire County Council  
223 County Hall, Pegs Lane, Hertford, SG13 8DE, Postal Point: CH0320
T: 01992 555848 (Internal 25848) 
E: [5][Hertfordshire County Council request email]

 

[6]Hertfordshire County Council Facebook[7]Hertfordshire County Council
Twitter[8]Hertfordshire County Council email updates

 

****Disclaimer****

The information in this message should be regarded as confidential and is
intended for the addressee only unless explicitly stated. If you have
received this message in error it must be deleted and the sender notified.
The views expressed in this message are personal and not necessarily those
of Hertfordshire County Council unless explicitly stated. Please be aware
that emails sent to or received from Hertfordshire County Council may be
intercepted and read by the council. Interception will only occur to
ensure compliance with council policies or procedures or regulatory
obligations, to prevent or deter crime, or for the purposes of essential
maintenance or support of the email system.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Hertfordshire County Council request email]
2. https://www.facebook.com/hertscountycoun...
3. http://www.twitter.com/hertscc
4. https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/statweb...
5. mailto:[Hertfordshire County Council request email]
6. https://www.facebook.com/hertscountycoun...
7. http://www.twitter.com/hertscc
8. https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/statweb...

Information Governance, Hertfordshire County Council

3 Attachments

Dear Ms Brookes

 

Reference number: EIR/ENV/09/20/19707

 

On 17^th September 2020 we received the following request for information
from you:-

 

Please provide meeting minutes, (inc. committee/ sub committee),
correspondence, e.g. email, letter, memos, phone transcripts, etc.
regarding the recent decision to support the above referenced development
from a highways stand point in spite of the fact that it contravenes HCCs
own guidance on access roads and footpaths.

 

The communications requested should include those from HCC to HCC, HCC to
councillor, HCC to external parties to HCC, e.g. NHDC, developers,
Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, etc. in either direction, i.e.
sent or received.

 

Our Response

 

Your request for information has been considered under the Environmental
Information Regulations 2004 I can confirm that Hertfordshire County
Council does hold the information you have requested, and can respond as
follows:-

 

Please see pdf’s which are being sent separately, via HertsFX, our secure
file transfer portal. Instructions on how use the system are provided
below.

 

Redactions

 

Personal information has been redacted under Regulation 13 of the
Environmental Information regulations. This includes unpublished email
addresses and phone and mobile numbers

 

Regulation 13 (1) (redacted in black)

This section of the Regulations applies to any requested information which
is personal data, in that it relates to an identifiable person. The
Regulations prevent the County Council from disclosing personal data to
the public if doing so “would contravene any of the data protection
principles”. One such data protection principle (set out in Article 5(1)
of the GDPR), requires that personal data shall be processed “fairly”. In
order to process personal data fairly, the County Council must only handle
it in ways that people would reasonably expect; and not use it in ways
that have unjustified adverse effects on them.

 

In relation to your request, individuals, working for external
organisations would have no expectation that we would provide the public
with copies of such personal information .

 

As part of our consideration we have noted the following Public Interest
Test reasoning:

 

The public interest arguments for releasing this information are as
follows:

* To release the information would show accountability for the actions of
the Council and its officers

 

The public interest arguments for withholding the information are as
follows:

* That the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the
public interest in disclosing it.
* Disclosure would be an unfair and unwarranted interference with the
individual’s privacy

 

On balance we feel the public interest is better served by withholding
this information. As it would not be appropriate, fair or lawful
processing of their personal data and we are consequently satisfied the
exemption also applies to the information you have requested.  

 

Regulation 12(5)(e) (redacted in green)

The Council considers that this information is exempt from disclosure
under Regulation 12(5)(e) of the 2004 regulations on grounds that
disclosure would adversely affect the confidentiality of commercial or
industrial information where such confidentiality is provided by law to
protect a legitimate economic interest.

 

In applying this exception, we have had to balance the public interest
test in withholding the information against the public interest in
disclosure.

 

The factors we have considered which are in favour of disclosure are:

·        To facilitate the accountability and transparency of public
authorities for decisions taken by them including the planning process.

·        Allow individuals to understand decisions made by public
authorities affecting their lives and, in some cases, assist individuals
in challenging those decisions.

·        Disclosure may further the understanding of and participation in
the debate and issues of the day. 

 

The factors we have considered which are against disclosure are:

·        The disclosure of the requested information would potentially
cause detriment to the commercial interests of the developer, specifically
where negotiations are ongoing and the negotiation may effect development
costs, for instance in relation to S106 agreements  

·        The terms of S106 agreements will be published, once finalised,
as part of the Planning Officer’s report to the Planning Committee.

·        The public interest in ensuring companies are able to compete
fairly.

·        The public interest in ensuring that there is competition for
planning developments and not discouraging the private sector from seeking
advice from the Council as they formulate their planning proposals

·        The public interest in ensuring that any future bargaining
position during contractual negotiations which the County may have is
maintained which would result in effective use of public money.

·        Disclosure may make it more difficult for individuals/commercial
bodies to be able to conduct commercial transactions or have other
dealings with public bodies.

 

On balance, it is considered that it is not in the public interest to
disclose the requested information, as its disclosure would or would be
likely to prejudice the commercial interests of third parties and or the
Council.

 

The Council is withholding the following correspondence under the
following exception: -

 

Regulation 12(5)(b)

The County Council seeks to rely upon the exception contained within
Regulation 12(5)(b) of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004,
relating to “the course of justice, the ability of a person to receive a
fair trial or the ability of a public authority to conduct an inquiry of a
criminal or disciplinary nature”.  This exception is subject to a public
interest test.

 

The factors we have considered to be in favour of disclosure are:

o To allow individuals to better understand decisions made by the County
Council in relation to the above matter.
o To facilitate the accountability and transparency of public
authorities for decisions taken by them.

 

The factors we have considered which are against disclosure are:

o The meaning of “the course of justice” is quite broad and would
include the concept of legal professional privilege. Legal
professional privilege is intended to provide confidentiality between
professional legal advisers and clients to ensure openness between
them and to safeguard access to fully informed, realistic and frank
legal advice.  Disclosure of such advice would discourage future
communications and inhibit future discussions whereby legal guidance
is sought and given.
o Correspondence between lawyer and client, may be viewed as a lawyer
giving advice to the client and may even give an insight in to HCC’s
internal legal approach in these matters

 

On balance, it is considered that it is not within the public interest to
disclose the legal advice given by the County Council’s in-house
solicitors to County Council officers as the inherent public interest in
protecting the established convention of legal professional privilege is
not countered by at least equally strong arguments in favour of
disclosure.

 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me, quoting
the reference above. To find out more about Freedom of Information, please
visit [1]http://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/your-cou...

 

If you are unhappy with the way the County Council has handled your
request for information you may request an internal review of the request.
This will be carried out by a member of the County Council Legal Services
Team, who has had no prior involvement with the request. Requests for an
internal review should be sent to the Information Governance Unit at the
address above.

 

If you are unhappy with the outcome of the internal review you are
entitled to ask the Information Commissioner to investigate your
complaint. You should write to: FOI/EIR Complaints Resolution, Information
Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF.

 

HertsFX – how to use instructions

 

Documents too big to send by email will be sent to you via HertsFX which
is our secure file transfer portal. HertSFX is a fully self-serviced
browser based secure web site purely for transmitting files from HCC to
you.  The system will send email notifications to you with a link enabling
you to register. Once you have registered the portal can be used to
securely transfer files

As a registered HertsFX user, when I send the document to you, if you are
a new user, an automated email will inform you that a file has been sent
to you and to prompt you to register.

 

REGISTRATION

To start using the system you need to complete a simple one off
registration process on the secure portal. In order to register you must
visit the secure portal’s home page at [2]https://hertsfx.hertscc.gov.uk

 

Click on Register

Enter your email address

Enter your chosen password and confirm by entering again.

Enter your chosen 4 digit pin.

 

Your chosen password identifies you to the secure portal and as such you
are required to choose a password that is unique to you and cannot be
easily guessed. To comply with the minimum security standards whilst
providing sufficient protection your password must be at least 10
characters long containing at least 1 Upper Case character, 1 Lower Case
character and 1 number.

At registration you must enter a 4 digit Personal Identification Number
(PIN) of your choice. It is very important you remember this PIN. It will
only be used in the event that you forget your password. If you forget
this PIN the system will not allow you to reset your password.

 

Once you have entered your registration details the system will require
you to verify your email address.  It does this by sending you an email to
the email address you have supplied. The email contains a link that
verifies that you and only you have control of the email address you
supplied.

Clicking on this link completes the registration. You will be
automatically re-directed to the HertSFX logon screen. You may now login
and use the system.

 

Once you are registered, when a file arrives for your attention, you will
receive an automated alert email in your normal email address Inbox (which
you have registered previously) informing you of the files arrival. To get
the file, simply click on the link in the email and login to download the
file by selecting MY FILES and choose INBOX

1. Click on the ‘My Files’ tab on the home screen to access inbox. Select
the message you wish to view/download.

 

Each time you wish to use HertSFX you must log-on using your registered
email address and your chosen password. You have 5 attempts to enter your
password correctly before you are ‘locked out’ of the system.

 

If you do forget your password you can reset it by clicking the link
‘forgot my password’ on the login page. The link will re-direct you to the
‘Forgotten Password’ page. Enter your email address and the 4 digit PIN
number you chose at registration. If you correctly enter your PIN you will
be sent a reset link to your registered email. Click the link and follow
the instructions on screen to reset your password.

 

If you do not correctly enter your PIN you will receive an email to your
registered address to inform you of this and to ask you to try resetting
your password again.

You will have 3 attempts to enter your pin correctly. After 3 attempts the
account is permanently locked out and cannot be recovered, you will be
informed of this via email. The account can be deleted. Once account is
deleted you can re-register to use the system.

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

Ingrid Howard
Information Access Practitioner

Information Access Team
Hertfordshire County Council  
223 County Hall, Pegs Lane, Hertford, SG13 8DE, Postal Point: CH0320
T: 01992 555848 (Internal 25848) 
E: [3][Hertfordshire County Council request email]

 

[4]Hertfordshire County Council Facebook[5]Hertfordshire County Council
Twitter[6]Hertfordshire County Council email updates

 

****Disclaimer****

The information in this message should be regarded as confidential and is
intended for the addressee only unless explicitly stated. If you have
received this message in error it must be deleted and the sender notified.
The views expressed in this message are personal and not necessarily those
of Hertfordshire County Council unless explicitly stated. Please be aware
that emails sent to or received from Hertfordshire County Council may be
intercepted and read by the council. Interception will only occur to
ensure compliance with council policies or procedures or regulatory
obligations, to prevent or deter crime, or for the purposes of essential
maintenance or support of the email system.

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of HERTSFX unless explicitly stated. Please be aware that emails sent to
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of HERTSFX unless explicitly stated. Please be aware that emails sent to
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