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Peter de Figueiredo ‘historic buildings adviser’. Representations in support of demolishing historic buildings?

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Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

To ask Wirral Council Planning Department
1) in how many planning over the last ten years Peter de Figueiredo has made representations?
2) in how many applications Peter de Figueiredo has been a consultant for the applicant?
3) in how many applications heritage expert Peter de Figueiredo has written a report for an applicant in favour of demolition of an historic building?
4) in how many applications Peter de Figueiredo has written a report for an applicant in favour of retaining an historic building?
5) in relation to how many applications Peter de Figueiredo has written personal representations in favour of demolition of an historic building?
6) in relation to how many applications Peter de Figueiredo has written personal representations in favour of retaining an historic building?

Yours sincerely,

Kiron Reid

20 West Albert Road
Liverpool
L17

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

Further to my request just sent, the first point should read "1) in how many planning applications over the last ten years Peter de Figueiredo has made representations?"

My apologies for any confusion.

Many thanks,

Kiron Reid

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Reid

 

Thank you for your recent request for information shown below.  Your
request has been dealt with under the Environmental Information
Regulations 2004 (EIRs) as the information requested is considered to be
‘environmental information’ under Regulation 2(1) (c) of the EIR
Regulations 2004 (EIR 2004) which provides that information on activities,
measures etc. affecting or likely to affect the elements of the
environment will be environmental information.

 

The Council is unable to supply any information to you in response to your
enquiry and is relying on 2 exceptions within the EIR regulations.  I have
explained these in more detail below.

 

1.       The level of information you are asking for is not recorded on
our electronic Planning system and we would have to instigate a manual
search of all our physical planning records over a 10 year period.  This
would be manifestly unreasonable as it would create unreasonable costs to
the public purse.  The Council therefore seeks to rely on Regulation
12(4)(b) of the legislation and states that your request is manifestly
unreasonable as dealing with your request would create unreasonable costs
or an unreasonable diversion of resources.

2.       If the information did exist within our records, it would
constitute personal data of a person other than yourself.  The Council
therefore seeks to rely on the exception contained within regulation
12(3).  When information is the personal data of someone other than the
enquirer then regulation 12(3) requires us not to disclose that personal
data.  

If you are dissatisfied with this response you have the right to make
representation to ask another Officer to review the response and you can
do this by emailing [1][Wirral Borough Council request email].    If you remain
dissatisfied after any review has taken place then you have the right to
complain to the Information Commissioner at
[2]https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/

Yours sincerely

 

 

Lynette Paterson

Principal Information Management Officer

Business Management

 

Treasury Building

Argyle Street
Birkenhead
Wirral
CH41 1AH

 

[3]Tel: 0151 691 8201

[4][Wirral Borough Council request email]

 

 

[5]LGC Awards15_Winner_MIP

 

 

This information supplied to you is copyrighted and continues to be
protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.   You are free
to use it for your own purposes, including any non commercial research you
are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for
example commercial publication, would require our specific permission, may
involve licensing and the application of a charge

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Peter de Figueiredo ‘historic buildings adviser’. Representations in support of demolishing historic buildings?'.

The request has been refused on the following grounds:
"The Council is unable to supply any information to you in response to your
enquiry and is relying on 2 exceptions within the EIR regulations. [...]

1. The level of information you are asking for is not recorded on
our electronic Planning system and we would have to instigate a manual
search of all our physical planning records over a 10 year period. This
would be manifestly unreasonable as it would create unreasonable costs to
the public purse. The Council therefore seeks to rely on Regulation
12(4)(b) of the legislation and states that your request is manifestly
unreasonable as dealing with your request would create unreasonable costs
or an unreasonable diversion of resources.

2. If the information did exist within our records, it would
constitute personal data of a person other than yourself. The Council
therefore seeks to rely on the exception contained within regulation
12(3). When information is the personal data of someone other than the
enquirer then regulation 12(3) requires us not to disclose that personal
data."

I contest both of these reasons for refusal by the Council.
Your Reason 1. i). This is a failure of your system and inadequacy of retrieval processes, not a problem caused by my request. ii). You have made no attempt to try and fulfil the request at all, simply decided without trying that it is unreasonable. iii). The Council have not made any effort to provide any of the information requested. Presumably you could easily and quickly do a manual or computer search for one year, or two years or three years and that could be a reasonable way to fulfil the request - by providing some but not all of the information requested. iv). I doubt that you do not have computerised records with the information - there must be searchable computer files of the Planning Department that contain the information, or at least recent files must exist. Unless the Council only holds Planning information on a database which is inadequately searchable?

Your reason 2. This is an understandable but mistaken interpretation of the regulation, leading to a mistaken application of the regulation. "When information is the personal data of someone other than the
enquirer then regulation 12(3) requires us not to disclose that personal data." This is not personal data because it is public information - it is information that should be published and should be publicly available. The planning process is in principle open and transparent. Unless there are good reasons for anonymising the details of respondents, the name and submissions of those who comment on planning applications should be publicly available. So in this situation the reporting on representations by Mr. de Figueiredo is not personal data and this exception does not apply.

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

Yours sincerely,

Kiron Reid

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Reid

 

We write further to your request for an internal review of the Council’s
decision not to disclose the requested information under Regulation
12(4)(b) and Regulation 12(3) of the Environmental Information Regulations
2004 (EIRs). 

 

Your original request

1) in how many planning over the last ten years Peter de Figueiredo has
made representations?

2) in how many applications Peter de Figueiredo has been a consultant for
the applicant?

3) in how many applications heritage expert Peter de Figueiredo has
written a report for an applicant in favour of demolition of an historic
building?

4) in how many applications Peter de Figueiredo has written a report for
an applicant in favour of retaining an historic building?

5) in relation to how many applications Peter de Figueiredo has written
personal representations in favour of demolition of an historic building?

6) in relation to how many applications Peter de Figueiredo has written
personal representations in favour of retaining an historic building

 

 

Our response

1.    The level of information you are asking for is not recorded on our
electronic Planning system and we would have to instigate a manual search
of all our physical planning records over a 10 year period.  This would be
manifestly unreasonable as it would create unreasonable costs to the
public purse.  The Council therefore seeks to rely on Regulation 12(4)(b)
of the legislation and states that your request is manifestly unreasonable
as dealing with your request would create unreasonable costs or an
unreasonable diversion of resources.

2.    If the information did exist within our records, it would constitute
personal data of a person other than yourself.  The Council therefore
seeks to rely on the exception contained within regulation 12(3).  When
information is the personal data of someone other than the enquirer then
regulation 12(3) requires us not to disclose that personal data.  

I have reviewed the scope of your original request, the Council’s response
and all guidance issued in relation to the exceptions applied.  I am
satisfied that the exceptions were correctly applied to your request.

In accordance with the terms of our privacy notice, an extract of which is
shown below, information provided on an individual case basis in relation
to planning applications should not be further processed for any other
purpose, i.e. seeking aggregated information about a third party.  I am of
the view that respondents would not reasonably expect for their
involvement to be shared outside of the scope of the specific planning
application to which they are responding.

 

Who might we share your information with?

This information forms part of a public register and can be viewed online
or the hard copy case file can be viewed in full in person by appointment
at our offices.

As part of the process we are required to carry out publicity on
applications which may include publication in local newspapers or display
of notice on site. Notices published in local newspapers will include
names and addresses of the applicant. Notices displayed on site will
include names and addresses of applicant and agent.

We will make details of planning applications available online so that
people can contribute their comments. We will sometimes need to share the
information we have with other parts of the council-for example to
establish how long a building has been used as a dwelling.

All comments received are also available for inspection. Summarised
comments may also be included in reports to the Council’s Planning
Committee or in Delegated Decision reports.

 

We operate a policy where we routinely redact the following details before
making forms and documents available online:

·         personal contact details for the applicant – e.g. telephone
numbers, email addresses, signatures, special category data - e.g.
supporting statements that include information about health conditions or
ethnic origin, information agreed to be confidential

Sometimes we might decide it is necessary, justified and lawful to
disclose data that appears in the list above. In these circumstances we
will let you know of our intention before we publish anything. If you are
submitting supporting information which you would like to be treated
confidentially or wish to be specifically withheld from the public
register, please let us know as soon as you can - ideally in advance of
submitting the application. The best way to contact us about this issue is
by email to [1][email address]

Your application information (excluding signatures or personal contact
details for the applicant) will be shared when we consult statutory,
external and internal consultees for their views on the proposal. We will
not share your information for marketing purposes with companies outside
of the authority. We do not sell your information to other organisations.
We do not use your information for automated decision making.

 

In relation to Q2-6 of your original request, I am also of the view that
your request was manifestly unreasonable given its scope and the
limitations outlined to you in our reply.  The Council has no statutory
obligation to record the name of any consultant used by an applicant or
agent and there is no data capture field built into the software to record
this information, nor are we required to record the name of anyone who has
written a report for an applicant.  I do not accept that this is a failing
or due to inadequate retrieval processes. 

 

To manually retrieve and review each individual planning record for the
timescale sought would be manifestly unreasonable, given the volume of
applications lodged each year.  However, I am mindful of the Council’s
duty under Regulation 9 of the EIRs to provide reasonable advice and
assistance, the reasonableness of which is decided on the circumstances of
each individual request.

 

Upon review I consider that we can significantly reduce the number of
files to be retrieved and manually reviewed if we were to undertake a
search for any Listed Building Consent application types with the word
“demolition” within the proposal description, received between 01/01/2009
and 01/01/2019. If this provision was also applied to your remaining
questions 3-6, this would substantially reduce the number of case files to
be manually reviewed and consequently the resources required to retrieve
the information.

 

Please advise by return whether you wish us to undertake this more focused
search and we will endeavour to provide some information in response to
your enquiry.  This will be treated as a new request under the
Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

 

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of this review, your next step
would be to complain to the Information Commissioner who can be contacted
at: [2]https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

Tracy O'Hare

Information Management Officer

Business Management

Treasury Building

Argyle Street

Birkenhead
Wirral
CH41 1AH

[3]Tel:0151 691 8397

[4][Wirral Borough Council request email]

 

 

 

 

This information supplied to you is copyrighted and continues to be
protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.   You are free
to use it for your own purposes, including any non commercial research you
are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for
example commercial publication, would require our specific permission, may
involve licensing and the application of a charge

 

 

 

 

 

 

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References

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