Taylor Wimpey PLC Access road from A358 to Thurlbear, Orchard Portman, and Shoreditch

The request was successful.

Michael Farrell

Dear Somerset County Council,
Taylor Wimpey recently purchased a significant greenfield site at Orchard Portman across the M5 near Taunton - Land which is currently outside of the Core Strategy Development Plan for Taunton for development.

https://www.somersetcountygazette.co.uk/...

Q1. Has Somerset County Council had any approaches, meetings, communications etc from/with Taylor Wimpey (or their agents, representatives, contractors etc) regarding any proposed schemes concerning the provision of improved road access from the A358 to their newly acquired estate of Thurlbear, Orchard Portman and Shoreditch? If so, please disclose all communications ie relevant emails, dates of meetings, agendas, minutes or meeting notes, phone notes, letters etc.

Q2. Have Somerset County Council carried out route surveys around Thurlbear?
Were those additional surveys as a result of the approaches by Taylor Wimpey in 1) above?

Q3. Would Somerset County Council accept a developer contribution towards the A358 Taunton to Southfields scheme? Has Taylor Wimpey discussed with Somerset County Council making a developer contribution?

Q4. Has Somerset County Council discussed any Taylor Wimpey approaches with any other public party i.e. Rebecca Pow MP, Somerset West and Taunton etc? Please disclose public parties names, dates of discussions, nature of discussions with all communications etc.

Yours faithfully,

Michael Farrell

Somerset County Council

Somerset County Council Information Request Team
Information request
Our reference: 5059297

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Dear  Mr Farrell
 
Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
Thank you for your request for information about  Communications between
Taylor Wimpey PLC and SCC  which we received on 4 June 2019 .

We are currently dealing with your request under the  Freedom of
Information Act 2000  and we aim to send our response to you on or before
2 July 2019 .
 
Please note that we are experiencing a high level of requests at the
moment, and there may be a delay in responding to your request. We will
aim to keep you informed should this be the case.

The  Freedom of Information Act 2000  may restrict the release of some or
all of the information you have requested.  If this is the case we
will carry out an assessment and will inform you of any  exemptions  that
apply.
 
In some cases, a fee may be payable. If this happens, we will send you a
fees notice detailing a summary of the proposed cost, and terms of
payment, which would need to be paid before we are able to proceed.

If you have any further queries or would like to discuss your request
please contact me quoting your reference detailed at the top of this
email.
 
Yours sincerely

Tracey Crabb
Information Request Officer
 
 

Somerset County Council

1 Attachment

Information request
Our reference: 5059297

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Dear Mr Farrell
 
Thank you for your request for information received on 4 June 2019.
 
Please find attached our response to your request.
 
Yours sincerely

Tracey Crabb
Information Request Officer
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

Michael Farrell

Dear Somerset County Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Somerset County Council's handling of my FOI request 'Taylor Wimpey PLC Access road from A358 to Thurlbear, Orchard Portman, and Shoreditch'.
You responded to my FOI in just one day and I wanted to double check that a proper search for all qualifying records in response to Q1 has been made.

Q1. Has Somerset County Council had any approaches, meetings, communications etc
from/with Taylor Wimpey (or their agents, representatives, contractors etc) regarding any
proposed schemes concerning the provision of improved road access from the A358 to their
newly acquired estate of Thurlbear, Orchard Portman and Shoreditch? If so, please disclose
all communications ie relevant emails, dates of meetings, agendas, minutes or meeting
notes, phone notes, letters etc

My follow-up request is:

a) Did you speak with the Senior Officers Alyn Jones and Mike O'Dowd-Jones to see if they knew of any contacts between Taylor Wimpey and the Council?

b) Daybook handwritten entries are recorded information under the EIR/FOI. County Highways was in the past admonished by the ICO about not keeping legible meeting/site notes in daybooks and SCC Highways undertook to type them up electronically. Did you check with the Senior Officers Alyn Jones and Mike O'Dowd-Jones to see if any relevant officers might have daybook entries not yet typed up that fall within the scope of my information request?

c) Did you use the search facilities in the corporate email system for the Senior Officers Alyn Jones and Mike O'Dowd-Jones and relevant staff to see if any qualifying emails were found using keywords such as (but not limited to) "Taylor Wimpey", "A358", "Orchard Portman", "Thurlbear" and "Shoreditch"?

d) The County Council are having regular meetings with Highways England Company Limited about the Preferred Route which is due to be announced shortly and was openly discussed in the Public Accounts Committee yesterday. Have you checked with the Senior Officers Alyn Jones and Mike O'Dowd-Jones to see if those records contain any recorded information regarding Taylor Wimpey?

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

Yours faithfully,

Michael Farrell

Somerset County Council

Information request
Our reference: 5059297

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Dear Mr Farrell
 
Information requested by:
Mr Michael Farrell
Review carried out by:
Rebecca Martin, Service Manager - Customer Experience & Information
Governance

 1. Summary of Process

 1. Request received: 04/06/2019
 2. Response sent: 05/06/2019
 3. Review requested: 06/06/2019

 2. Review of Response
 
You emailed following receipt of the response to your FOI request
requesting an internal review.  You stated that you wanted to check
that a proper search of all qualifying records in relation to
question 1 of your request had been made

Q1 . Has Somerset County Council had any approaches, meetings,
communications etc
from/with Taylor Wimpey (or their agents, representatives,
contractors etc) regarding any proposed schemes concerning the
provision of improved road access from the A358 to their newly
acquired estate of Thurlbear, Orchard Portman and Shoreditch? If so,
please disclose all communications ie relevant emails, dates of
meetings, agendas, minutes or meeting notes, phone notes, letters
etc 

You asked the following questions:

a) Did you speak with the Senior Officers Alyn Jones and Mike
O'Dowd-Jones to see if they knew of any contacts between Taylor
Wimpey and the Council?

b) Daybook handwritten entries are recorded information under the
EIR/FOI. County Highways was in the past admonished by the ICO about
not keeping legible meeting/site notes in daybooks and SCC Highways
undertook to type them up electronically. Did you check with the
Senior Officers Alyn Jones and Mike O'Dowd-Jones to see if any
relevant officers might have daybook entries not yet typed up that
fall within the scope of my information request?

c) Did you use the search facilities in the corporate email system
for the Senior Officers Alyn Jones and Mike O'Dowd-Jones and relevant
staff to see if any qualifying emails were found using keywords such
as (but not limited to) "Taylor Wimpey", "A358", "Orchard Portman",
"Thurlbear" and "Shoreditch"?

d) The County Council are having regular meetings with Highways
England Company Limited about the Preferred Route which is due to be
announced shortly and was openly discussed in the Public Accounts
Committee yesterday. Have you checked with the Senior Officers Alyn
Jones and Mike O'Dowd-Jones to see if those records contain any
recorded information regarding Taylor Wimpey?

 1. Statutory Considerations

 1. Did the Council answer your request within the required timescale
of 20 working days?
 2. Did the Council confirm or deny it held the information?
 3. Did the Council provide the information requested?
 4. If the Council did not provide the information was the refusal
clear?
 5. If the Council applied an exemption was it correct and was it
explained
 6. Did the Council offer appropriate advice?
 7. Did the Council advise you of the internal review process and
your right of appeal to the ICO?

 2. Outcomes

 1. Yes, the Council answered your request within the statutory time
limit.
 2. Yes, the Council did confirm or deny it held the information
requested.
 3. The Council did not hold the information requested.
 4. N/A.
 5. N/A.
 6. N/A.
 7. Yes, the Council did advise the requester of the internal review
process and their right of appeal to the ICO.

Specific Issues you raised
 
I have raised the specific issues you raised (the questions a), b), c) and
d) listed above) with Alyn Jones, Mike O'Dowd-Jones and Helen Vittery (the
officer who co-ordinated the original response).  The outcome of those
enquiries are shown below:
 
a) Yes, Mike and Alyn were made aware of the request and were asked for
any relevant information.
 
b) Again, Mike and Alyn were aware of the request and Helen Vittery also
checked with other staff who would have known whether any contact with the
council had been made in relation to this matter.
 
c) Helen Vittery, the officer responding to this request, does not have
the ability to search all emails in the way you suggest.  This function is
very restricted in the Council for reasons of data protection.  Instead,
Helen asked all relevant staff if they had any knowledge of this proposal
and this came up negative.  As it is highly unlikely that any contact with
SCC would have occurred without these people being aware, she did not make
a special request that a technical search be done of the email system. 
Helen did however make a thorough search of the Council's MasterGov system
which holds all planning applications, pre applications, enquiries,
appeals, legal agreements etc and this did not return results.
 
As the Council's lead officer responsible for Information Governance, I do
have the ability to make a technical search of our email servers.  In
order to be as thorough as possible, I have performed 4 searches using
combinations of the key words suggested.  The only results returned were
the emails which relate directly to and form part of your FOI request plus
6 additional emails which were all part of one email chain.  Whilst those
emails did contain a combination of some of the key words, on examination,
they were not relevant to your request.  It is not practical to do a key
word search on each of the suggested terms individually as these terms
will appear in a vast number of emails unrelated to your request (e.g. we
are and have worked with Taylor Wimpey on a number of projects over a
number of years so their name will appear in numerous mails relating those
projects but unconnected to your request).
 
d) All meetings involving the Council regarding the A358 since their
previous consultation process have involved Mike O'Dowd-Jones and Mike has
confirmed that such a proposal has not been discussed during any meetings
attended.
 
Decision
 
The final decision of this review is that your complaint is not upheld.
 
If you are not content with the outcome of this Internal Review you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner's Office for a
further decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
 
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
 
http://www.ico.gov.uk/complaints/freedon...
 
Helpline on 0303 123 1113
 
Yours sincerely

Rebecca Martin
Service Manager - Customer Experience and Information Governance
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.