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Property and Assets and Buildings

Viran Patel made this Freedom of Information request to 3C Shared Services 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 a recent response 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

3C Shared Services

1 Attachment

 

Dear Viran Patel,

RFI: 3413   (HDC) Empty Properties

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:
[1]https://e-pims.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/gove...
and that you inform us of this intention or such listing in the request.

 

Thank you for your request for information above, which we have dealt with
under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I can confirm that the council holds this information; however this
information is exempt under sections 31(1)(a).

Under section 31(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act, an exemption
applies where disclosure would be likely to prejudice the prevention or
detection of crime. Disclosure of information of empty residential
properties could provide an opportunity for criminal acts to be committed,
either through crimes against property, anti-social behaviour or identity
fraud.

In line with the terms of this exemption in the Freedom of Information Act,
we have also considered whether it would be in the public interest for us
to provide you with the information, despite the exemption being
applicable.

Public interest considerations favouring disclosure

* There is an inherent interest within the Freedom of Information Act
that public disclosure promotes better government through transparency
and accountability.

* This information may add to local discourse surrounding housing
shortages or help bring properties back into use.

Public interest considerations favouring withholding the information

* Empty properties are vulnerable to illegal occupation or other forms of
anti-social behaviour which will affect not just the owners but also
any nearby residents and communities.

* In addition, the risk of criminal damage also brings with it increased
costs of security measures, repairs, increased insurance premiums and
local property values.

* Cambridge is an area of high levels of identity fraud (CIFAS UK fraud
trends report 2014), publishing of excessive identifying information
could facilitate identity theft.

In this case we have concluded that the public interest favours withholding
the information. Although there is public interest in this matter, the
council already acts to bring empty properties back into use and disclosure
of this information may pose a risk to property, the property owners and
also any neighbouring communities.

There is a real risk that this information could be used for fraudulent
activity and the disclosure of this ready collated information increases
that risk of prejudice to the prevention of crime, in the form of criminal
damage to property and squatting, arson and anti-social behaviour.

There is also a strong public interest in avoiding personal distress to the
victims of crime and in relation to damage to properties those in the
neighbourhood may be negatively affected.
The risk of prejudice to the prevention and protection of crime ranging
from anti -social behaviour to identity fraud at significant public expense
means the public interest in avoiding prejudice and maintaining the
exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

You will notice in the tribunal you referred to (EA/2011/0007) that the
final decision decided that the public interest in maintaining the
exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

We aim to provide a quality service to you and hope that you are satisfied
with this response, however if you have any questions please contact us.

We aim to provide a high quality service to you and hope that you are
satisfied with this response. If you have any questions please do not
hesitate to contact us.

Yours sincerely

Information Management Team

3C Shared Services

Telephone: 01954 713318 & 01480 388850
Email:
For South Cambridgeshire DC - [email address]
For Cambridge City Council -[email address]
For Huntingdonshire DC - [3C Shared Services request email]

 

3C Shared Services is a strategic partnership between Cambridge City
Council, Huntingdonshire District Council and South Cambridgeshire
District Council

Appeals Process

The Council is committed to transparency and openness, and it is our
intention to comply fully with the laws that govern access to information.
If you have any cause to believe that the terms of the FOI Act or EIR
Regulations are not being met by us, please let us know in the first
instance. If you are still dissatisfied you can address your complaint to
the Information Governance Manager who will undertake an Internal Review
of your case. Internal review requests should be submitted within two
months of the date of receipt of the response to your original request.
Further to this you have the subsequent option to contact the Information
Commissioner’s Office.

Copyright

Provision of this information does not automatically infer the right to
copy publish or alter the information. In most cases the Council will own
the copyright of the information provided here, or the information will be
provided under the Open Government Licence (OGL), but the rights to some
information may belong to a third party and if so a re- use licence may be
required. Please contact us for advice.

References

Visible links
1. http://track.vuelio.uk.com/z.z?l=aHR0cHM...

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.