Rents Charged for the ELDC Kiosks/Retail Units on Either Side of the Grand Parade Entrance to Tower Gardens, Skegness.

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, East Lindsey District Council should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Peter Michael Stephenson

Dear East Lindsey District Council,

Please tell me the rents charged for the ELDC kiosks/retail Units on either side of the Grand Parade Entrance to Tower Gardens, Skegness.

Please note that I do not wish to know of any private arrangements with individual tenants relating to private matters like poor trade or possible bankruptcy. Nor do I wish to know the precise amounts of money where rent is affected by any profit sharing arrangements that are part of the tenancy. I would like to know the formula but not the actual amount.

I would also like to know the business rates chargeable on each property.

I do not require your reply to be extensively checked for errors of detail. This isn't for a court case. A reply that gives an honest and comprehensive general overview will be perfectly acceptable.

Many thanks. I trust your reply will be as prompt and helpful as your replies to my previous enquiries (formal an informal) have been.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Michael Stephenson

Management, Information, East Lindsey District Council

Thank you for your email to Information Management.

 

Should your email require a response a member of the team will make
contact with you shortly.

 

If you need to call us please do so on 01507 613409.

[1]The Council issues a regular newsletter by email to residents. It’s
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Management, Information, East Lindsey District Council

Re: Freedom of Information Act 2000 – Information Request 1718-01-563

We acknowledge your request for information received on 19 January 2018

Your request is being considered and you will receive the information
requested within the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by
the Freedom of Information Act 2000, subject to the information not being
exempt or containing a reference to a third party. 

If appropriate, the information may be provided in paper copy, normal font
size. If you require any alternative formats, e.g. language, audio, large
print etc. then please let me know.

For your information, the Act defines a number of exemptions that may
prevent release of the information you have requested. There will be an
assessment and if any of the exemption categories apply then the
information will not be released. You will be informed if this is the
case, including your rights of appeal.

There may be a fee payable for this information. We will charge
administration costs in all cases where costs exceed £10. Administration
cost is the cost of physically producing the information and posting it to
you if required. Where we intend to make a charge we will inform you and
you will need to make payment before we let you have the information. You
will be able to pay and collect your information from us.

Costs include:

·         Photocopying or printing material (10p per A4 sheet, 20p per
double paged sheet)

·         Postage

·         Producing material in an alternative format at the request of
the applicant, such as putting it onto CD-Rom, video, or audio  cassette

·         Providing extracts of databases

·         Translating information into a different language at the request
of the applicant.

 If the estimated cost of providing the information exceeds the
£450 statutory limit, then whilst we are not obliged to supply you with
the information, we may contact you to ask if you are happy to pay and
will not proceed until we have your confirmation.

If you have any queries or concerns, please contact Information Management
on [1][East Lindsey District Council request email]

Yours sincerely,

Information Management Team
Internal Audit and Information Governance
East Lindsey District Council,
Room 115, Tedder Hall, Manby Park, Manby
Louth, Lincolnshire, LN11 8UP

Tel: 01507 613409
E: information.management[2]@e-lindsey.gov.uk
Website: [3]www.e-lindsey.gov.uk  

'Lincolnshire's Coastal District'

 

[4]The Council issues a regular newsletter by email to residents. It’s
free and keeps you informed on the Council work and that of its partners.
If you’d like to subscribe to receive this please sign up at
www.e-lindsey.gov.uk/messenger

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Peter Michael Stephenson

Dear Management, Information,

Thank you for your prompt acknowledgement. Just to anticipate any objections I would reiterate that I do not require to know about any financial relationships with individual tenants but simply the prices and other outline financial arrangements as they would apply to any tenant. Typically this would be rent and conditions publicly offered if one of the kiosks became vacant. If the letting was by tender then I would ask to know of successful bids.

I have also asked about business rates just to check that they still have a rateable value of £9,500 and £10,750. These things do change from time to time.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Michael Stephenson

Management, Information, East Lindsey District Council

1 Attachment

 

Re: Freedom of Information Act 2000 – Request for Information 1718-01-563

 

Thank you for your recent request for information. Your request has now
been considered under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and
our response is attached.

 

Please note that East Lindsey District Council will be publishing copies
of decision notices issued in response to requests made under the Freedom
of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations
2004. Please be assured that no information regarding the identity of the
individuals making the requests will be published but if you have any
concerns regarding this, please contact the Council’s
Information Management Team (contact details given below).

 

Yours sincerely,

  

Information Management Team

 

 

Information Management

East Lindsey District Council,

Room 115, Tedder Hall, Manby Park, Manby

Louth, Lincolnshire, LN11 8UP

 

Tel: 01507 613409

E: information.management[1]@e-lindsey.gov.uk

 

Website: [2]www.e-lindsey.gov.uk  

Facebook: [3]www.e-lindsey.gov.uk/facebook
Twitter: [4]www.e-lindsey.gov.uk/twitter

 

'Lincolnshire's Coastal District'

 

 

[5]The Council issues a regular newsletter by email to residents. It’s
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Peter Michael Stephenson

Dear Management, Information,

I've been in the local government trade for 26 years and we both know your reply is rubbish.

Firstly there is no way the basic rent paid to a council by a tenant for a publicly owned building can be secret. Maybe any individual arrangements that relate to one particular tenant may be - but the basic rent cannot be. I have no doubt the Information Commissioner would reject your assertion.

Secondly, if there was secrecy about individual arrangements those would have to be covered by a clear individual or general undertaking given before any communication started - for which I very much doubt you can provide me with a signed agreement (as the FOIA requires).

I could drag you kicking and screaming to the Information Commissioner - where you would lose badly - but I see a way that we could both live with.

Why not send me the total rent realised from the four kiosks (gross and net figures would be nice). I'm not a hard man but this is heading to the appeal procedure (and not just your internal one) if you maintain this stance.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Michael Stephenson

Management, Information, East Lindsey District Council

Dear Sir

 

Thank you for your email. 

 

Could you please confirm whether you are now asking for the total rent
from all 4 kiosks and not individual rents.  Could you please also specify
the time period you require i.e. for the last financial year. 

 

Kind regards

Yours sincerely,

Information Management Team
Internal Audit and Information Governance
East Lindsey District Council,
Room 115, Tedder Hall, Manby Park, Manby
Louth, Lincolnshire, LN11 8UP

Tel: 01507 613409
E: information.management[1]@e-lindsey.gov.uk
Website: [2]www.e-lindsey.gov.uk  

'Lincolnshire's Coastal District'

 

 

From: Peter Michael Stephenson
[mailto:[FOI #458554 email]]
Sent: 14 February 2018 14:43
To: Management, Information <[email address]>
Subject: Re: FOI-1718-01-563

 

This message originated from outside your organization

Dear Management, Information,

I've been in the local government trade for 26 years and we both know your
reply is rubbish.

Firstly there is no way the basic rent paid to a council by a tenant for a
publicly owned building can be secret. Maybe any individual arrangements
that relate to one particular tenant may be - but the basic rent cannot
be. I have no doubt the Information Commissioner would reject your
assertion.

Secondly, if there was secrecy about individual arrangements those would
have to be covered by a clear individual or general undertaking given
before any communication started - for which I very much doubt you can
provide me with a signed agreement (as the FOIA requires).

I could drag you kicking and screaming to the Information Commissioner -
where you would lose badly - but I see a way that we could both live with.

Why not send me the total rent realised from the four kiosks (gross and
net figures would be nice). I'm not a hard man but this is heading to the
appeal procedure (and not just your internal one) if you maintain this
stance.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Michael Stephenson

show quoted sections

Peter Michael Stephenson

Dear Management, Information,

Thank you for your very prompt reply. I would be happy to receive an amount (hopefully both gross and net [ie after expenses]). My intention in this matter is simply to ascertain how much the income from the kiosks would offset the costs of anyone taking over Tower Gardens. That is the limit of my interest.

Many thanks.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Michael Stephenson

Peter Michael Stephenson

Dear Management, Information,

Sorry, my last message, written in haste, doesn't technically answer your question. Yes, the total amount (hopefully gross and net) for all four kiosks together would be perfectly acceptable. I have no interest in individual kiosks.

This is really just to check my facts. I know the rateable value for each is between £9,500 and £10,750 so, with an adjustment for inflation since 1 April 2015, they will probably be in the low teens. But I would rather have an up-to-date figure for them all together rather than my own guesstimate.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Michael Stephenson

Peter Michael Stephenson

Dear Management, Information,

Please tell me whether you intend to reply to my amended request or whether I should move on to an internal appeal.

Thanks you.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Michael Stephenson

Management, Information, East Lindsey District Council

Dear Sir

 

Thank you for your email.  We are dealing with your amended request and
will provide you with a response shortly. 

 

Kind regards

Yours sincerely,

Information Management Team
Internal Audit and Information Governance
East Lindsey District Council,
Room 115, Tedder Hall, Manby Park, Manby
Louth, Lincolnshire, LN11 8UP

Tel: 01507 613409
E: information.management[1]@e-lindsey.gov.uk
Website: [2]www.e-lindsey.gov.uk  

'Lincolnshire's Coastal District'

 

 

 

From: Peter Michael Stephenson
[mailto:[FOI #458554 email]]
Sent: 17 February 2018 11:07
To: Management, Information <[email address]>
Subject: Re: FOI-1718-01-563

 

This message originated from outside your organization

Dear Management, Information,

Please tell me whether you intend to reply to my amended request or
whether I should move on to an internal appeal.

Thanks you.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Michael Stephenson

show quoted sections

Peter Michael Stephenson

Dear Management, Information,

I consider that you have now had enough time to consider this request.

Please send me a substantive response to my question or I will take this to an appeal soon.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Michael Stephenson

Peter Michael Stephenson

Dear East Lindsey District Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of East Lindsey District Council's handling of my FOI request 'Rents Charged for the ELDC Kiosks/Retail Units on Either Side of the Grand Parade Entrance to Tower Gardens, Skegness.'.

While I can understand that you do not wish to disclose any individual arrangements with tenants – something I specifically excluded from my initial request – I cannot see how the basic rents of the kiosks can be legally confidential. Nor do I see how my amended request – to be told the total rent income of all four kiosks together (preferably with gross and net amounts) – could be even remotely confidential.

Under the FOIA most local authority transactions and documentation are only confidential if there is a previous agreement with the other party – in which case a signed copy of the document should be provided to the enquirer. You have not indicated that the information is confidential by such an agreement or provided me with a copy of any such document.

However, in both my original request and my amended request I have asked for no such confidential information. I simply wish to establish what rent is charged for the kiosks. I can see no technical reason why the request could not have been granted – and quite some ago to.

I will take this matter to the Information Commissioner if I have to because I believe your refusal is way outside both the spirit and the letter of the Act.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r...

Yours faithfully,

Peter Michael Stephenson

Management, Information, East Lindsey District Council

Dear Sir

 

Thank you for your email dated 2^nd March 2018                   

 

We note that you have requested an Internal Review of our decision in
relation to your Freedom of Information Request under reference
FOI-1718-01-563

 

We write to confirm that an Internal Review will now take place and you
will receive a response detailing the outcome of the review within 20
working days (ie by 30^th March 2018) . If for any reason this is not
possible, prior to the deadline, you will receive a full explanation of
the delay and will be advised of an estimated date of response.

Yours sincerely,

Information Management Team
Internal Audit and Information Governance
East Lindsey District Council,
Room 115, Tedder Hall, Manby Park, Manby
Louth, Lincolnshire, LN11 8UP

Tel: 01507 613409
E: information.management[1]@e-lindsey.gov.uk
Website: [2]www.e-lindsey.gov.uk  

'Lincolnshire's Coastal District'

 

[3]The Council issues a regular newsletter by email to residents. It’s
free and keeps you informed on the Council work and that of its partners.
If you’d like to subscribe to receive this please sign up at
www.e-lindsey.gov.uk/messenger

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http://www.e-lindsey.gov.uk/
3. http://www.e-lindsey.gov.uk/messenger

Peter Michael Stephenson

Dear Management, Information,

Thank you for confirming that your refusal to provide me with the information I requested is being reviewed.

I would however remind you that this enquiry was made on 19 January and that a your twenty days expired on 16 February. In fact twenty days is not the time you have to reply but the maximum you have if necessary. The Act requires you to reply as "promptly" as possible.

You are already out if time and have no reason to be granting yourself another 20 days to reply to what is a continuing enquiry that should have been answered some time ago. If this has to go the Freedom of Information Commissioner that already unacceptable and continuing delay may be the subject of adverse comment.

I realise it will take you some time to reply but I believe that promptness rather than the twenty day nonsense should be you priority now.

I would remind you that although I have given you the options of giving me anonymous and collective information these have been voluntary concessions on my part. Unless you have a signed, pre-existing confidentiality agreement with the tenants I could have insisted on detailed information about each kiosk. Entirely voluntarily I have gone a long way to make it easy for you to answer this request for information. Perhaps you could reach back in a similar manner and, given that you are already a long way out of time, deal with this in as prompt a manner as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Michael Stephenson

Peter Michael Stephenson

Dear Management, Information,

CONFIDENTIAL REPLY – Should you prefer to make a confidential reply (the confidentiality of which will be observed) you may use my private email – sunningdale8 [at] hotmail [dot] co [dot] uk (disguised to avoid spammers).

Yours sincerely,

Peter Michael Stephenson

Management, Information, East Lindsey District Council

1 Attachment

 

Good afternoon,

 

Please find attached East Lindsey District Council’s response to your
request for an Internal Review of the decision under FOI-1718-01-563. 

 

Regards

 

Information Management Team

Information Governance
East Lindsey District Council,
Room 115, Tedder Hall, Manby Park, Manby
Louth, Lincolnshire, LN11 8UP

Tel: 01507 601111

E: [1][email address]

 

[2]The Council issues a regular newsletter by email to residents. It’s
free and keeps you informed on the Council work and that of its partners.
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Peter Michael Stephenson

Dear Management, Information,

Surely the kiosks were only let either as the tenant accepting a public offer of a lease (which is definitely a public document) or through being the successful tenderer (in which case that application is public information).

I can see absolutely no way at all that someone can be the tenant of local authority property without the terms of that tenancy - at least to the extent of the public offer they accepted or the successful tender they submitted - being public information. It is unthinkable that such things can be done secretly away from public scrutiny.

I offer you one last chance to send me the information I requested before I appeal to the Freedom of Information Commissioner. I believe that you are fundamentally not understanding public's right to know about your Council's financial affairs. Secret deals like that are absolutely unacceptable in modern local government.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Michael Stephenson

Peter Michael Stephenson

I have just submitted an appeal to the Information Commission's Office as set out below.

APPEAL REGARDING Rents Charged for the ELDC Kiosks/Retail Units on Either Side of the Grand Parade Entrance to Tower Gardens, Skegness.

1. SUMMARY OF APPEAL

1.1. BACKGROUND – Following an internal review East Lindsey District Council (ELDC) has refused my request for information about “…the rents charged for the ELDC kiosks/retail Units on either side of the Grand Parade Entrance to Tower Gardens, Skegness”.

1.2. NOT A REQUEST FOR PERSONAL INFORMATION – From the very outset I made it clear that did not wish to know of any private arrangements with individual tenants relating to matters like poor trade or possible bankruptcy. Nor did I wish to know the precise amounts of money where rent is affected by any profit sharing arrangements that are part of the tenancy – although I did ask to know the formula. Later on in the correspondence reiterated this and I also indicated that I was prepared to accept the information as the total rent realised from the four kiosks.

2. PREVIOUS CORRESPONDENCE WITH ELDC

2.1 The entire correspondence I have had with ELDC can bee seen on the WhatDoTheyKnow website at https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r...

3. THE GROUNDS OF MY APPEAL

3.1. Although I am not an expert on the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) I believe the ELDC has failed to comply with that Act on several counts.

3.2. GENERAL PRINCIPLES – Given that this FOIA request did not ask for details about individual tenants or even, as it developed, individual properties, the very idea that such general financial arrangements can be kept secret simply fails to understand the general nature of disclosure currently required by local government. Alarm bells should have gone off in the heads of officers concerned that this is not how local government conducts its business now.

3.3. TIME TAKEN TO RESPOND – I believe that the whole process has been delayed at several stages in a way that is not in compliance with section 10 of the Act that requires responses to be answered “promptly”. This was not a difficult or complex enquiry and should have been dealt with more promptly.

3.4. WHAT MUST BE IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN ALREADY – Public property is not simply rented out under the table. This process is usually done by means of a public offer to rent or a tender - with the terms of the successful tenders being made public. Any of these could have been sent to me with an update for subsequent increases (which would either have been in the original agreement or authorised by a council minute).

3.5. IF CONFIDENTIALITY APPLIED – If the terms by which these kiosks are rented to tenants are legitimately confidential then a signed agreement to this effect must have been in existence BEFORE any correspondence or transactions took place. Anything preceding that signed agreement, and anything not covered by it, are almost certainly things that should be disclosed to a FOIA request. ELDC have neither sent me copies of such agreements nor indicated that they even exist.

4. WHAT I ASK THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSIONER TO DO.

4.1. I request the Freedom of Information Commissioner to review the documentation I have provided and instruct East Lindsey District Council to provide me with the information I have requested – ie the total rent charged for the four kiosks in question but without any personal information relating to any individual tenant.

Peter Michael Stephenson

UPDATE ON CASE - 28th March 2018

The Information Commissioner's Office has accepted my complaint against ELDC's refusal to tell me the rents of the kiosks as eligible for further consideration and will allocate a case officer to it as as soon as possible.

Peter Stephenson

Sparks, Alison, East Lindsey District Council

1 Attachment

Good afternoon,

 

Please find attached a letter in response to your request.

 

Kind regards

 

 

 

Information Management Team

 

Internal Audit and Information Governance
East Lindsey District Council,
Room 115, Tedder Hall, Manby Park, Manby
Louth, Lincolnshire, LN11 8UP

Tel: 01507 613409
E: information.mangement[1]@e-lindsey.gov.uk
Website: [2]www.e-lindsey.gov.uk  

 

'Lincolnshire's Coastal District'

 

 

[3]The Council issues a regular newsletter by email to residents. It’s
free and keeps you informed on the Council work and that of its partners.
If you’d like to subscribe to receive this please sign up at
www.e-lindsey.gov.uk/messenger

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Peter Michael Stephenson

Dear Sparks, Alison,

Just to confirm, now this matter is going to the Information Commissioner for a ruling, I have no plans to make any information you send me public and I am happy to receive any information at my private email address of sunningdale8[at]hotmail[dot]co[dot]uk

Yours sincerely,

Peter Michael Stephenson

Sparks, Alison, East Lindsey District Council

I am currently away from the office until Monday 23rd July 2018 and emails
will not be forwarded.

 

If your message concerns Freedom of Information or Data Protection then
please contact

 

[email address]

[1]The Council issues a regular newsletter by email to residents. It’s
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