Request for viability appraisal and external report on viability appraisal: PA/16/03657.

E. Livergant made this Freedom of Information request to Tower Hamlets Borough 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 Tower Hamlets Borough Council,

I am writing to request the following:

1. The viability appraisal submitted by the applicant to support planning application PA/16/03657 (and related PA/16/03658/NC)
2. The external report by GVA Grimley Limited for Tower Hamlets Council reviewing applicant’s viability appraisal (PA/16/03657). This was submitted to the Council in March 2017.

This request is being made under the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR). The planning decision is imminent (a committee date has yet to be set but comments via the Borough’s online planning portal closed as of the 08th March 2018). This information is crucial to our informed participation in the forthcoming planning decision. We request that the application should not be determined until there is a definitive decision on our above request.

Key considerations for this request:
I have been told that commercial confidentiality is the reason for withholding viability information. This claim should be weighed against the public interest in disclosure. The Mayor’s guidance on viability and planning is clear on this.

Mayor of London’s Housing Affordable Housing and Viability SPG (2017)

Paragraph 1.18-1.25 Transparency of Information states that: “information relevant to planning determinations should be publicly available alongside other application documents in order to foster a greater understanding of and trust in the planning system”.

The Mayor outlines how this right is outlined in FOIA and EIR legislation and while that legislation outlines certain exceptions, he explains that, "a public interest test and recent decisions by the information tribunal have demonstrated that the public interest in maintaining confidentiality rarely outweigh the public interest in disclosing information."

The SPG recognises that following information tribunal decisions there is a need for wider public scrutiny and comment and that viability assessments, like all other elements of a planning application, should be handled transparently. Boroughs should also undertake to ensure greater transparency takes place, implementing procedures to do so should they not already be in place.

Should an applicant for a proposed development wish to make a case for an exceptional circumstance to not disclose their assessment, "a full justification as to the extent to which disclosure of a specific piece of information would cause an ‘adverse effect’ and harm to the public interest that is not outweighed by the benefits of disclosure" is needed. "Boroughs should consider this carefully, with reference to the ‘adverse effect’ and overriding ‘public interest’ tests in the EIR and FOIA, as well as the specific circumstances of the case."

With thanks for your attention to this matter.

Yours Sincerely,
Elyssa Livergant

London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Tower Hamlets Borough Council

Information request
Our reference: 11511965

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Dear Ms Livergant
 
Environmental Information Regulations 2004
 
Thank you for your request for information that was received on 19 March
2018  requesting:

1. The viability appraisal submitted by the applicant to support planning
application PA/16/03657 (and related PA/16/03658/NC)

2. The external report by GVA Grimley Limited for Tower Hamlets Council
reviewing applicant's viability appraisal (PA/16/03657). This was
submitted to the Council in March 2017.
 
We are dealing with your request under the Environmental Information
Regulations 2004  and we aim to send a response by 16 April 2018.
 
In some case, a fee may be payable. If we decide a fee is payable, we will
send you a fee notice and we will require you to pay the fee before
proceeding with your request.
 
The Environmental Information Regulations 2004  may restrict the release
of some or all of the information you have requested. We will carry out an
assessment and if any exceptions  apply to some or all of the information
then we might not provide that information to you. We will inform you if
this is the case and advise you of your rights to request an internal
review and to complain to the Information Commissioner's Office.
 
We will also advise you if we cannot provide you with the information
requested for any other reason together with the reason(s) why and details
of how you may appeal (if appropriate).
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Jane Jones
Admin Officer
Legal Services
020 7364 4736
[email address]
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

Dear London Borough of Tower Hamlets,

Many thanks. I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

E. Livergant

London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Tower Hamlets Borough Council

3 Attachments

Information request - part 1
Our reference: 11511965

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Dear Ms Livergant
Your request for information has been considered under the requirements of
the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
I can confirm that the information requested is held by Tower Hamlets
Council and is attached to this email. 

The information has also been put on the [1]Council's Disclosure Log,
where you can also search for information supplied on other topics.

The Council's website www.towerhamlets.gov.uk contains a section on the
Freedom of Information Act that lists other publications readily available
from the Council under its Publication Scheme.

Conditions for the re-use of information where the copyright is owned by
the London Borough of Tower Hamlets can be found on our website.

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the
right to ask for an internal review. Internal review requests should be
submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your
original letter and should be addressed to:
 
Complaints and Information
Town Hall
Mulberry Place
5 Clove Crescent
E14 2BG
icw[Tower Hamlets Borough Council request email] 
 
If you are still dissatisfied with the Council's response after the
internal review you have a right of appeal to the Information Commissioner
at:
The Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire SK9 5AF.
Telephone: 01625 545 700
Website: www.ico.gov.uk 
 

Yours sincerely
 
 
Jane Jones
Admin Officer
Legal Services
020 7364 4736
[email address]
‏ 
 

References

Visible links
1. https://towerhamletsportal.icasework.com...

London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Tower Hamlets Borough Council

1 Attachment

Information request - part 2
 

Dear London Borough of Tower Hamlets,

Thank you for this information. The GVA external report was not attached but I have found it via the link provided.

Yours sincerely,

E. Livergant