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Property and Assets and Buildings

Viran Patel made this Freedom of Information request to Durham County Council as part of a batch sent to 500 authorities

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

We're waiting for Viran Patel to read recent responses and update the status.

Dear Organisation,

I would like to know a full list of Vacant Properties held by your organisation and any of its subsidiaries.

If possible their market value for sale or to let, whether they would be considered for a community asset transfer, if not then whether they are for sale or to let. In a clear and easy to read format. It would be supportive if the property is for sale or to let that it is listed on here too: https://e-pims.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/gove... and that you inform us of this intention or such listing in the request.

In the previous case in Voyias v IC and LB Camden (EA/201v1/0007), the requesters asked for substantially similar information, and the judge favoured disclosure. I appreciate the circumstances here are quite different, but the same principles should apply.

I understand there is a risk that your empty properties would be targeted by squatters should this the list of empty properties be public, but this is a very slim risk. The prejudice to law enforcement should be real, likely and substantial, as per Hogan v the ICO and Oxford City Council. I can assure you that my request is not sent in order to cause trouble for the authority, it is predominantly for my own research, with publication as part of campaigning materials. I am concerned at the sale of public assets, not a not an advocate for their illegal occupation. I would also say that I cannot imagine the disclosure of this list of properties to significantly affect a squatting problem that pre-existed my interest in the organisation. Overall the prejudice to law enforcement is very slim, and not severe. Since 12 months will be the time that this information will be released onto this site, unless others request this information separately. The requester is not liable for any issues that may arise in between or after.

It is in the public interest and transparency that this information is made publicly available under the public sector duty under the equality act allowing people to know of this information and make use of it under the Community Asset Transfer scheme and under the Human Rights Act Article 11 enabling the community to gather and make decisions on the allocation of such assets.

Yours faithfully,

Viran Patel

Freedom of Information, Durham County Council

REQUEST FOR INFORMATION

 

This letter is our acknowledgement of your request received 30-JULY-2018. 
Please note the reference number in the subject line of this email and
refer to it in any future correspondence. The case officer dealing with
your request is:

 

Lawrence Serewicz Tel. 03000 268038

 

Depending on the type of request, it will be handled under the Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) or the Environmental Information Regulations
(EIR).  Both of these have a statutory 20 working day deadline for a
response however, in some cases, the deadline may be extended to 40
working days. The deadline for an FOIA request can be extended if an
extended public interest test is required before deciding to respond. The
deadline for an EIR request can be extended if the information requested
is too voluminous or complex to respond to fully within the 20 day
timescale. If this is the case, we will write to explain that to you.

 

If we hold this information, we will let you know and in most cases supply
it to you.  You may request a particular format for receiving the
information and we will do our best to accommodate. In most cases, we will
respond by email or letter in 12 point Arial font.  If you have a
particular need to receive the material in a different format, please let
us know.

 

In some cases, the information you request will be exempt from disclosure.
What this means is that the legislation allows the Council to refuse to
provide the information. Where this occurs, we will tell you the reasons
why and we will explain how to appeal that decision.

 

If your requests refers to a third party, then they may be consulted about
disclosing the information before we decide whether to release the
information to you.  For example, if someone asks about a contract with a
supplier, we will contact the supplier to consider their views about
disclosing the information.

 

NB: There may be a charge for environmental information. Please contact us
if you have any questions about that charge.

 

In some cases, we may require a payment to cover photocopying, postage, or
other production costs on requests that require large amounts of
photocopying. However, we will discuss this with you and look for ways to
provide the information in electronic formats if possible.  If a payment
is required, it must be provided before we can send you the information. 
If a payment is required, the 20 working day time limit for responses is
suspended until the payment is received. 

 

We may also need to contact you to clarify your request. We are obliged to
do this under s.16 of the Act, which refers to the duty to provide advice
and assistance to applicants.  When we ask to clarify your request, the 20
working day countdown stops until we hear back from you. If you have not
contacted us about the request within 30 days, we will close it.

 

Please note that your request and our response will be put on the
Council’s disclosure log.  What this means is that we keep a log of all
the requests and responses if anyone wants to look at them. When we put
the request and response on the log, we remove the applicant’s name and
any personal references. In any case, where personal information remains,
it will be done in accordance with the Data Protection Act (DPA).

 

If you have any questions or need further information, then please
contact:

 

The Information Management Team

Durham County Council

Assistant Chief Executive’s Office

Room 4/143-148

County Hall

Durham

DH1 5UF

Tel. 03000 268038

Email: [1][Durham County Council request email]

 

Further information is also available from the Information Commissioner
at:

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Telephone: 01625 545 745

Fax: 01625 524 510

Email: [2][email address]

[3]www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

 

Yours sincerely,

 

The Information Management Team

 

 

 

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Freedom of Information, Durham County Council

Dear Viran Patel,

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION – APOLOGY

 

We regret that we have been unable to provide the information within the
20 day deadline.

 

Rest assured that every effort is being made to provide the information
and we shall endeavour to respond to you as soon as possible.

 

Your request is currently with the service area, we will contact the
service area to remind them of the request and provide it to you as soon
as it is available.

 

In the meantime, please accept our sincere apologies and please contact
the relevant case officer – Lawrence Serewicz Tel. 03000 268038, should
you wish to discuss this matter further.

 

We wish to take this opportunity to thank you for your patience.

 

Our main contact details are:

 

The Information Management Team

Durham County Council

Assistant Chief Executive’s Office

Room 4/143-148

County Hall

Durham

DH1 5UF

Tel: 03000 268038

Email: [1][Durham County Council request email]

 

Yours sincerely,

 

The Information Management Team

 

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Lawrence Serewicz, Durham County Council

2 Attachments

Dear Viran Patel,

 

Please find attached our response to your request for information. If you
have any further questions or need any additional information, please
contact the Information Management Team at [Durham County Council request email]

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Lawrence Serewicz

 

Lawrence Serewicz

Information and Records Manager

Transformation and Partnerships

Durham County Council

County Hall

Room 143-148 4th Floor

Durham

County Durham

DH1 5UF

 

Direct 03000 268 038

Switchboard 03000 26 0000

 

www.durham.gov.uk

Follow us on Twitter @durhamcouncil

Like us at facebook.com/durhamcouncil

Follow us on linkedin.com/company/durham-county-council

 

 

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Customer Notice

We have recently updated our terms and conditions for all our services,
including making some important updates to our privacy notices. To find
out more about how we collect, use, share and retain your personal data,
visit: [2]www.durham.gov.uk/dataprivacy

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References

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1. https://www.durham.gov.uk/dataprivacy
2. https://www.durham.gov.uk/dataprivacy

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Viran Patel please sign in and let everyone know.