Removal of comments on planning applications

Mike Magee made this Freedom of Information request to Oxford City Council

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 successful.

Dear Oxford City Council,

I have noticed that after a planning application is made, public and other comments on the applications are removed. I have some questions which I'm sure you can answer.

1) If this is on the grounds of data protection can you explain why after an application is granted, you delete all comments from statutory bodies as well as residents?

2) On what grounds and on which due practice do you allow residents objections to remain, free for anyone to see, with their names and addresses subject to observation by, for example, the Oxford Mail.

3) Do you have an audit trail for all comments and objections that the public can view say, via a PDF.

Yours faithfully,

Mike Magee

MURDOCH Andrew, Oxford City Council

Dear Mr Magee

Thank you for the email

My colleagues in the Freedom of Information team have asked me to respond in my position as Development Management Team Manager.

The questions you have asked relate to our data protection policy. The details and answers to the questions can be found at the following link

https://www.oxford.gov.uk/info/20141/dat...

In answer to your specific queries, I would comment as follows

1) If this is on the grounds of data protection can you explain why after an application is granted, you delete all comments from statutory bodies as well as residents?

We are only required to keep certain documents relating to a planning application indefinitely as part of the planning register. The public comments and comments from statutory bodies are not part of the information we need to retain as part of the planning register. We do not delete comments but simply remove them from public view. A record of the public comments including from statutory bodies is set out in the officers report which is retained.

2) On what grounds and on which due practice do you allow residents objections to remain, free for anyone to see, with their names and addresses subject to observation by, for example, the Oxford Mail.

As set out in the link above, we make clear that when making a comment on an application the persons name and address will be made visible on the website during the course of the application and are removed form view once it has been determined. The privacy statement in the link attached states that comments are not treated confidentially (including name and address).

3) Do you have an audit trail for all comments and objections that the public can view say, via a PDF.

This is answered in the link above.

I trust that this answers your queries

Kind Regards

Andrew Murdoch

Andrew Murdoch | Development Management Service Manager | Planning, Sustainable Development and Regulatory Services | Oxford City Council | St. Aldate’s Chambers | 109-113 St. Aldate's | Oxford | OX1 1DS | 01865 252228
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