Please provide costs relating to recent Planning Appeal re: land at Grove Farm / land north of Netherhouse Copse.

The request was successful.

Christine Strudwick

Dear Hart District Council,
In December 2016 Planning Committee deferred the decision on application 16/01651. The developers announced their intention to appeal on the grounds of non-determination. At a meeting of full council on 26th January 2017 Councillor Crookes requested that Councillor Ambler state whether the Council would defend the decision at Inquiry and asked for an estimate of the Council’s direct costs for the defence? Also, If the Council should fail to successfully defend the decision and the Inspectorate were to grant planning permission, what would be the extent of the financial risk to this Council in terms of legal costs, loss of New Homes Bonus and loss of community benefit in S106 and any other contributions? Councillor Ambler, Chairman Planning, replied that the application had been deferred, and he believed the application could still come back to Committee for determination, but could not himself estimate the costs. He would consult with Officers and circulate a written answer which would be appended to the minutes.
I have been unable to find such a response from Cllr Ambler which should be in the Council’s meeting minutes and therefore available to the public.
As we now know the Grove Farm planning application was granted at appeal in September 2017 and at full Council meeting on 26th October 2017 a member of the public, Mr David Turver asked the following questions:
Can you please set out the cost of defending the appeal including:
a) External legal and consultant costs
b) Internal time costs of officers
c) Any potential loss of New Homes Bonus
d) Lost time on the Local Plan due to resources being diverted to defend the appeal
e) Appellant costs
and
Did the council receive legal advice on the chances of success in defending the appeal? In accordance with the Hart Code of Conduct objectives for openness and transparency, can you answer the following:
a) What, in summary, did the advice say?
b) Will you make the advice public?
c) Was the provider of this legal advice the same organisation that helped defend the appeal?
d) How much did the advice cost?
Cabinet member for Planning, Cllr Cockerill responded that the costs could not be broken out in this way, internal time costs were not accounted for, a separate team worked on the Appeal therefore not impacting work on the Local Plan, there would be no loss of new homes bonus, HDC were not responsible for appellant costs and that no legal advice had been required.
Please would HDC now provide a full and detailed account of all costs relating to this appeal specifically answering the questions raised above?

Yours faithfully,
Christine Strudwick

FOI User, Hart District Council

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FOI User, Hart District Council

Hello Christine
I acknowledge receipt of your request for information under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 received on 29th October 2017. Assuming we hold this
information I will endeavour to supply the data to you as soon as possible
but no later than 23rd November 2017.
I will advise you as soon as possible if we do not hold this information
or if there are exemptions to be considered and/or any costs for providing
the information. Please quote the above reference in any communication
regarding this request.
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Barbara Williams
FOI Co-Ordinator
Hart District Council
Harlington Way
Fleet
GU51 4AE

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From: Christine Strudwick <[FOI #441589 email]>
Sent: 29 October 2017 18:21
To: FOI User
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Please provide costs relating to
recent Planning Appeal re: land at Grove Farm / land north of Netherhouse
Copse.
 
Dear Hart District Council,
In December 2016 Planning Committee deferred the decision on application
16/01651. The developers announced their intention to appeal on the
grounds of non-determination. At a meeting of full council on 26th January
2017 Councillor Crookes requested that Councillor Ambler state whether the
Council would defend the decision at Inquiry and asked for an estimate of
the Council’s direct costs for the defence? Also, If the Council should
fail to successfully defend the decision and the Inspectorate were to
grant planning permission, what would be the extent of the financial risk
to this Council in terms of legal costs, loss of New Homes Bonus and loss
of community benefit in S106 and any other contributions? Councillor
Ambler, Chairman Planning, replied that the application had been deferred,
and he believed the application could still come back to Committee for
determination, but could not himself estimate the costs. He would consult
with Officers and circulate a written answer which would be appended to
the minutes.
I have been unable to find such a response from Cllr Ambler which should
be in the Council’s meeting minutes and therefore available to the public.
As we now know the Grove Farm planning application was granted at appeal
in September 2017 and at full Council meeting on 26th October 2017 a
member of the public, Mr David Turver asked the following questions:
Can you please set out the cost of defending the appeal including:
a)      External legal and consultant costs
b)      Internal time costs of officers
c)      Any potential loss of New Homes Bonus
d)      Lost time on the Local Plan due to resources being diverted to
defend the appeal
e)      Appellant costs
and
Did the council receive legal advice on the chances of success in
defending the appeal? In accordance with the Hart Code of Conduct
objectives for openness and transparency, can you answer the following:
a)      What, in summary, did the advice say?
b)      Will you make the advice public?
c)      Was the provider of this legal advice the same organisation that
helped defend the appeal?
d)      How much did the advice cost?
Cabinet member for Planning, Cllr Cockerill responded that the costs could
not be broken out in this way, internal time costs were not accounted for,
a separate team worked on the Appeal therefore not impacting work on the
Local Plan, there would be no loss of new homes bonus, HDC were not
responsible for appellant costs and that no legal advice had been
required.
Please would HDC now provide a full and detailed account of all costs
relating to this appeal specifically answering the questions raised above?

Yours faithfully,
Christine Strudwick

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Nick Steevens, Hart District Council

Dear Ms Strudwick,

I refer to your recent request for information regarding the costs
relating to recent Planning Appeal re: land at Grove Farm / land north of
Netherhouse Copse. The responses to your questions are in blue text
below: 

Can you please set out the cost of defending the appeal including:
a) External legal and consultant costs
The Council holds the information that you seek. The costs were
£109,858.59.
b) Internal time costs of officers
The Council does not hold the information that you seek.
c) Any potential loss of New Homes Bonus
The Council does not hold the information that you seek
d) Lost time on the Local Plan due to resources being diverted to defend
the appeal
The Council does not hold the information that you seek
e) Appellant costs
The Council does not hold the information that you seek
Did the council receive legal advice on the chances of success in
defending the appeal? 
The Council does not hold the information that you seek
a) What, in summary, did the advice say?
The Council does not hold the information that you seek
b) Will you make the advice public?
The Council does not hold the information that you seek
c) Was the provider of this legal advice the same organisation that helped
defend the appeal?
The Council does not hold the information that you seek
d) How much did the advice cost?
The Council does not hold the information that you seek
Although not part of this formal FOI response further background
information associated with your request can be found in the draft minutes
of the Council meeting held on Thursday  26 October 2017  
 [1]https://www.hart.gov.uk/sites/default/fi...
If you are unhappy with the way your request for information has been
handled, you can request a review by writing to:
FOI Co-Ordinator
Hart District Council
Civic Offices
Fleet
GU51 4AE
[2][Hart District Council request email]
Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.
If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request , you have a
right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at: 
Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Telephone 0845 630 6060 or 01625 545 745

Kind regards,

Nick

Nick Steevens

Head of Regulatory Services

Hart District Council

01252 774296

[3]www.hart.gov.uk 

Twitter: [4]@HartCouncil

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Please consider completing our short [8]Customer Feedback Form so that we
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