Premium paid for the Bradford Odeon

Richard Killip made this Freedom of Information request to Yorkshire Forward

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 refused by Yorkshire Forward.

Dear Sirs

You have previously sent me a copy of the development agreement for the former Odeon cinema in Bradford. My request and your response can be found here: http://bit.ly/zJ02fP.

Among other redactions, the premium figure was omitted from this disclosure. I am writing to request disclosure of the premium figure.

The premium was redacted in my previous request under the exemption provided by section 43 - commercial interests. This is however a qualified exemption and is subject to the public interest test.

You will be aware that one of the parties to the agreement, Artisan H Limited, entered receivership in December completing only six of 121 homes for which they had received £1.8m from the Homes and Communities Agency (please see http://bit.ly/AA4Zfy and http://bit.ly/wBlYgA).

This shifts the balance in favour of disclosure and I therefore require the amount of the premium paid by the developer to be disclosed.

Yours faithfully

Richard Killip

Rachel Mason, Yorkshire Forward

1 Attachment

Dear Mr. Killip,

Further to your request for disclosure of the 'premium figure' referred to in the Bradford Odeon Development Agreement, a redacted copy of which was recently disclosed to you. Following consultation with the developer who is party to the Agreement and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), to whom Yorkshire Forward transferred ownership of the Bradford Odeon building in September 2011, you will be aware that both the HCA and YF have recently considered disclosure of the premium figure. Both organisations considered the development agreement in its entirety and determined, at initial enquiry and subsequent Internal Review stage, that the premium figure was exempt from disclosure.

We do not see how the factors considered have materially altered in the short period which has passed since Yorkshire Forward's Internal Review response was communicated. We do not feel that the commercial sensitivity of this information has in any way diminished since the request was originally considered, and we do not believe that the public interest has changed; indeed, at the time the request was considered by both Yorkshire Forward and the HCA, the developer (Artisan H) were already in administration and our decision to withhold was made mindful of this fact.

Additionally, the present position of Artisan H does not mean that the development is no longer viable. Rather, a cross-company guarantee is in place to ensure that delivery of the scheme is not jeopardised. Existence of this cross-company guarantee is public knowledge by way of communications with the local media and Yorkshire Forward and HCA's responses to correspondence via Whatdotheyknow.com. Artisan H's administration does not directly change the sensitivity of the information.

Both Yorkshire Forward and the HCA fully recognise the high level of public sentiment towards this site and the significant local concern about its future; and decisions to pro-actively publish information relating to the surveys completed and (where possible) to respond fully and promptly to FOIA requests have been influenced by appreciation of the building's local importance. These factors were given weight when considering the public interest.

In conclusion, we maintain the Regulation 12(5)(e) which concerns the confidentiality of commercial or industrial information where such confidentiality is provided by law to protect a legitimate economic interest, as outlined in our initial response of 27th January and confirmed in our response to your Internal Review into the handling of your request.

As this request has been logged as a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act, Yorkshire Forward is obliged to offer you the right to complain. If you are not satisfied with the way we have handled your request, or if you are unhappy with our response, you can appeal via our Complaints Procedure, a copy of which is attached. The Yorkshire Forward Directorate that has been dealing with your request is Finance. If you are still dissatisfied after pursuing our Complaints Procedure, then you may wish to appeal to the Information Commissioner at: Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF, telephone: 01625 545700, fax: 01625 524510 or email [email address] The Information Commissioner’s website is: www.ico.gov.uk

Yours sincerely

Rachel Mason
Corporate Information Manager

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Richard Killip left an annotation ()

I have referred this matter to the Office of the Information Commissioner with the following narrative:

I requested a copy of the development agreement made between Yorkshire Forward and Langtree Artisan Limited with regard to the former Bradford Odeon cinema. This is a site of intense public interest which the majority of people want to see restored but Yorkshire Forward have decided to demolish.

Yorkshire Forward provided the agreement but made certain redactions regarding the financial arrangements on the basis of exemptions contained in sections 41 and 43. I do not think that Yorkshire Forward were correct to apply these exemptions.

One of the parties to the agreement, Artisan H Limited, entered administration after taking £1.8m of public money to build homes in Sheffield which they did not complete. Incidentally this was via the Homes & Communities Agency, the organisation that has inherited this building from Yorkshire Forward. This casts serious doubt over Langtree-Artisan's ability to perform on this development.

The agreement entered into by Yorkshire Forward has the potential to make a material difference to the public purse.

This tips the balance in favour of disclosure of this information.

I suspect that the real reason that Yorkshire Forward does not want to disclose the amount of the premium paid for the lease is not to protect commercial interests but to hide an embarassingly meagre payment for this high profile site.

I have asked Yorkshire Forward again to disclose the amount of the premium in light of the revelations about Artisan H Limited but it has refused.