Triangle Field, Hungerford; usage and land transfers

J A Giggins made this Freedom of Information request to West Berkshire 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 partially successful.

Dear West Berkshire Council,

Under the relevant provisions of the FOI Act/ EIR regulations please can you supply:

1 Any documents relating to the original acquisition of the Triangle Field by West Berkshire Council' or its predecessor organisation, including any conditions/covenants relating to usage.

2 All correspondence relating to change of use class of the field ( I believe it was originally agricultural land)

3 West Berkshire Council's copy of the original lease of the field to Hungerford Town Council, together with any associated documents that might provide the background to why the land was not put into the ownership of Hungerford Town Council or Hungerford Town & Manor at that time.

4 Any changes/revisions to the lease and any documentation held that might explain the rationale for those changes.

5 Details of any transfers of ownership of any part of the Field.

5 Copies of representations received from any body wishing to purchase the Field.

6 Copies of enquiries from Hungerford Town Council, and any permissions subsequently given, for usage of the field (and/or the Clubhouse) for non sporting use, such as to accomodate a Circus, as detailed in the Hungerford Town Council minutes accessed by the following link:

http://www.hungerford.uk.net/councilmain...

Should any of the above documents already be easily accessible in the public domain then please could you supply a link to them. Also, under your duty to 'advise and assist' I would be grateful if you could advise me at your earliest opportunity if you think this request will exceed the time/cost limitations of the Acts in order to give me an opportunity to try and refine the request.

Many thanks.

Yours faithfully,

J A Giggins

Suzanne Kenchington, West Berkshire Council

FoI/2013/26

 

Dear Mrs Giggins,

 

Request for information: Triangle Field, Hungerford; usage and land
transfers

 

Thank you for your request received 10.01.2013. This has been forwarded to
the relevant service and we will seek to respond within twenty working
days.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Suzi Kenchington 

Information Support Officer

Strategic Support,

West Berkshire Council, Council Offices, Market Street, Newbury, RG14 5LD

email:  [1][email address]

' 01635 519860 (external)      '  2860 (internal)      

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Sue Broughton, West Berkshire Council

FoI/2013/26

Dear Mrs Giggins,

Request for information: Triangle Field, Hungerford; usage and land
transfers

I have now obtained from our archives three of the four files held
pertaining to the Triangle Field in Hungerford. We have requested the
fourth file from the archive at Reading but at present the archive staff
have been unable to locate this file. I will arrange for it to be
provided when and if it is located. There are also a small number of
mentions in the committee records, which I have also extracted.

Can you clarify whether you want to receive these as scanned documents
sent to this email address or in hard copy sent to your home?

You have asked for 'any associated documents that might provide the
background to why the land was not put into the ownership of Hungerford
Town Council or Hungerford Town & Manor at that time'.

There is no definite information in the documents I have obtained to
answer this question, but as the land was originally within the remit of
the Housing Service, and appears to have been earmarked for council
housing at that time, this may explain why it was not sold on.

Yours sincerely

Sue Broughton

Information Management Officer

* Strategic Support West Berkshire Council, Council Offices, Market
Street, Newbury RG14 5LD

Email: [West Berkshire Council request email]

' 01635 519747 (external) ' 2747 (internal)

You should be aware that all emails received and sent by this Council
are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and therefore may be
disclosed to a third party.

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Dear Sue Broughton,

Many thanks for going to so much effort. I assumed that these documents would have already been pulled from the archives given that there appear to be discussions underway to transfer the field to Hungerford Town Council.

I would prefer to receive the documents electronically if that is possible.

Thank you for your help.

Yours sincerely,

J A Giggins

Sue Broughton, West Berkshire Council

14 Attachments

FoI/2013/26

Dear Mrs Giggins,

Request for information: Triangle Field, Hungerford; usage and land
transfers

Please find attached the information located in respect of Triangle
Field Hungerford.

As you will see there have been a couple of planning applications in
respect of the Field, and the planning files will be held separately in
the Planning Service. Please advise if you also wish to access these.

Once we have heard back from the archive at Reading I will advise
whether the remaining file has been located.

Yours sincerely

Sue Broughton

Information Management Officer

* Strategic Support West Berkshire Council, Council Offices, Market
Street, Newbury RG14 5LD

Email: [West Berkshire Council request email]

' 01635 519747 (external) ' 2747 (internal)

You should be aware that all emails received and sent by this Council
are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and therefore may be
disclosed to a third party.

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Dear Sue Broughton,

Many thanks for this information.

I have read through the documents provided so far, and they do not support your statement that the Triangle Field was originally acquired for housing. Please could you let me know whether this is your personal opinion or whether it was passed on by another officer.

I had not realised that the field was part of the Priory acquisition but it is clear from the documents that you have supplied that it was subject to an agricultural tenancy, which was only surrendered when the Town Council expressed a wish to use the field for laying out two Rugby pitches. Whilst there was some discussion at the time as to whether this should be widened to general recreational use, the lease granted to Hungerford Town Council by the Newbury District Councillors specified that the field was for sporting use. There are also several references to the fact that the field has always been (and still is) outside the settlement boundary.

It seems that there have been continual attempts over the last 10 years to extend the usage of the Field for purposes as varied as provision of allotments ( supplied) to accommodating a travelling circus ( not supplied) and I understand that the lease has in fact been varied to allow Leadbitter an access route and site storage area for the development works at the Priory - documents again not supplied.

I appreciate that it might be difficult to locate the archived information relating to the purchase of Priory Estate, but surely the more recent documents regarding usage of the field are available? I do not require the planning documents which are already available electronically on the Planning Portal , but would appreciate copies of documents that may be held in the hard copy files but "cached" and therefore unavailable for public view online.

Please can you provide these further documents or a refusal notice citing why they have been with-held.

Many thanks.

Yours sincerely,

J A Giggins

Sue Broughton, West Berkshire Council

Dear Mrs Giggins,

If you check the documents within the document package labelled as
Triangle Field File 2, you will see that a report on the Triangle Field
submitted for the Finance & property sub-committee states:

'This land was previously controlled by the Housing Services Department
but was retained by the District Council when the Housing Association
was formed. For a considerable time it has been felt that the land was
not suitable for development but should be retained as a recreation
area'.

The underlying information here is that the Housing Service (which prior
to 1989 was responsible for building and maintaining council housing)
had control of the land for council housing development, but that this
had not taken place and the land was now not considered suitable for
such development. You will note that I have not specifically stated that
this was why the land was purchased.

As advised, we are awaiting information from the Archives Service about
the remaining documents in the file they have not yet located.
Otherwise, I think you have all the information we hold. There may
however be information at the Berkshire Records Office regarding the
purchase of the Priory Estate, - the purchase of the land appears to
have been by the Rural District Council of Hungerford prior to 1965.

Since the more recent usage of the field has been by Hungerford Town
Council, who have held the fifty year lease from September 1992, perhaps
a request to them would elicit further documents? Apart from the
decision to allocate some of the field for allotments, at the Town
Council's request, it does not appear that this authority has had any
major involvement in the use of the field.

Yours sincerely

Sue Broughton

Information Management Officer

* Strategic Support West Berkshire Council, Council Offices, Market
Street, Newbury RG14 5LD

Email: [West Berkshire Council request email]

' 01635 519747 (external) ' 2747 (internal)

You should be aware that all emails received and sent by this Council
are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and therefore may be
disclosed to a third party.

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Dear West Berkshire Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of West Berkshire Council's handling of my FOI request 'Triangle Field, Hungerford; usage and land transfers'.

I believe that there are further documents that fall within the scope of my request that have not been disclosed, as identified in my email to Ms Broughton earlier today. In addition there has been no attempt to answer questions 5 (apologies for duplicate numbering)repeated for reference purposes below:

5 Details of any transfers of ownership of any part of the Field.

5 Copies of representations received from any body wishing to purchase the Field.

As Ms Broughton summarised in her response, the Triangle Field was not transferred to Sovereign Housing Association on its formation in 1989.From the documents provided it appears that it was then still being farmed under an agricultural lease granted by the Hungerford Rural District Council around 1965, which was not terminated until 1991 when the leaseholder agreed to surrender the land for the laying out of two rugby pitches.

However it appears however that the strip of land between that transferred to Sovereign Housing and that designated as playing field in the lease to Hungerford Town Council has now been transferred to Sovereign. Sovereign detailed in their original HCA grant application that they had 'acquisition costs' of £960,00. These were queried and said to relate to land acquisition and the planning application for the Priory redevelopment included this strip of land within the site, so I am presuming that a transfer took place. Documents for this sale/transfer, which falls within the scope of my FOI request,have not been provided and no refusal reason has been given. In addition, there may have been enquiries from Sovereign and/or other developers about acquisition of the remainder of the field, notwithstanding its use class restrictions, and again the information has not been provided.

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

Yours faithfully,

J A Giggins

Sue Broughton, West Berkshire Council

FoI/IR/2013/03

Dear Mrs Giggins,

Request for a Review: Triangle Field, Hungerford

Thank you for your request for a review. I have passed this to Mr Lowe, together with the advice we have supplied to you, that the authority is still awaiting information which has not been located by our Archive provider, and therefore the request is not yet complete.

Yours sincerely

Sue Broughton

Information Management Officer

* Strategic Support West Berkshire Council, Council Offices, Market Street, Newbury RG14 5LD

Email: [West Berkshire Council request email]

' 01635 519747 (external) ' 2747 (internal)

You should be aware that all emails received and sent by this Council are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and therefore may be disclosed to a third party.

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Sue Broughton, West Berkshire Council

2 Attachments

FoI/2013/26

Dear Mrs Giggins,

Request for information: Triangle Field, Hungerford; usage and land
transfers

I promised to advise you if the missing file held at the Reading archive
was located. While this file has not yet been located we have been able
to obtain information from Sovereign Housing showing a transfer of land
to the Housing Association took place in 1989, this included the council
housing in Hungerford and covered a small section of the Triangle Field,
and may therefore be the land transfer to which you were referring in
your email of 11th February. I have attached the documents for your
information (the plan showing the original area of the Field which was
transferred in red, and Sovereign's Land Registry title to the council
housing properties and land).

Yours sincerely

Sue Broughton

Information Management Officer

* Strategic Support West Berkshire Council, Council Offices, Market
Street, Newbury RG14 5LD

Email: [West Berkshire Council request email]

' 01635 519747 (external) ' 2747 (internal)

You should be aware that all emails received and sent by this Council
are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and therefore may be
disclosed to a third party.

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Dear Sue Broughton,

Many thanks for this. It does at least clear up the boundary issue, although it does raise questions about the £960,000 'acquisition costs' in Sovereign's grant application for redevelopment of the Priory. Unfortunately Sovereign, despite being recipients of millions of pounds of taxpayers money via HCA grants, are not subject to the FOI Act and so I can't ask them what they 'acquired', but as partners and investors in the project you may have the answer, so I'll put in a separate FOI request.

Have you been able to locate any of the more recent information about the Triangle Field relevant to this request? Eg requests to rent out the Field for non sporting purposes.

Yours sincerely,

J A Giggins

Sue Broughton, West Berkshire Council

FoI/2013/26

Dear Mrs Giggins,

Request for information: Triangle Field, Hungerford; usage and land
Transfers

Thank you for your email. The only request to rent out the field for a non-sporting purpose of which I am aware was the circus event you mentioned in an earlier email, and that was confirmed via a phone call from the Town Council to our offices. I doubt whether there would be any record kept of such informal requests; certainly the officer I spoke to had no knowledge of any record.

Yours sincerely

Sue Broughton

Information Management Officer

* Strategic Support West Berkshire Council, Council Offices, Market Street, Newbury RG14 5LD

Email: [West Berkshire Council request email]

' 01635 519747 (external) ' 2747 (internal)

You should be aware that all emails received and sent by this Council are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and therefore may be disclosed to a third party.

P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail

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Dear Sue Broughton,

Renting the field out commercially for a non-sporting use is not an informal matter, it is a term of the lease which requires formal permission from West Berkshire Council. I imagine the delegated authority for making this decision lies with your legal team. Please could you ask them if they hold any documents that fall within the scope of my request, in particular documentation/correspondence around general change of use, and also the variation granted to allow Leadbitter access for construction vehicles and temporary site offices. I also understand that Hungerford Town Council have made enquiries about purchasing the Field, and I would like to see all associated correspondence and/or notes of phone calls. I think that all of this falls within the scope of my original request, but if not please let me know and I will raise another.

Many thanks.

Yours sincerely,

J A Giggins

Sue Broughton, West Berkshire Council

Dear Mrs Giggins,

As you already have an internal review running for this request I will
pass your correspondence to Mr Lowe for consideration as part of the
review.

Please note I am on leave all next week. Any new requests or requests
for a review should be sent to [email address] the dedicated email
for requests.

Yours sincerely

Sue Broughton

Information Management Officer

* Strategic Support West Berkshire Council, Council Offices, Market
Street, Newbury RG14 5LD

Email: [West Berkshire Council request email]

' 01635 519747 (external) ' 2747 (internal)

You should be aware that all emails received and sent by this Council
are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and therefore may be
disclosed to a third party.

P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail

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David Lowe, West Berkshire Council

Dear Mrs Giggins,

I have been advised this morning that the file that was previously missing has now been located. I intend therefore to suspend your internal review and allow Sue Broughton to continue to deal with your request.

Once Ms Broughton has completed her work if you remain dissatisfied you do of course retain the right to request an internal review.

Yours sincerely,

David Lowe
Scrutiny and Partnerships Manager
West Berkshire Council
Market Street
Newbury
Berkshire
RG14 5LD

T: 01635 519817
F: 01635 519613
E: [email address]

www.westberks.gov.uk/informationmanagement

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Dear David Lowe,

Thank you for letting me know that you have found the archived file. I look forward to receiving any information held within it that falls within the scope of my request.

I would however prefer that you do not suspend your internal review in its entirety because in addition to this archived file I believe there are more recent (possibly current) documents that fall within the scope of this request that have not been provided within the timescales laid down by the act, and for which no 'refusal' reason was given. I believe a response to the review is due early next week.

A full history of the request ( including application for internal review) can be found on whatdotheyknow.com.

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/tr...

Yours sincerely,

J A Giggins

David Lowe, West Berkshire Council

Dear Mrs Gigins,

Thank you for your e-mail.

In order to assist my review, could you please advise:

1. What information you believe the Council holds that has not been
provided?
2. Where (which service) you believe might hold it?
3. Why you believe the authority would hold this information?

Yours sincerely,

David Lowe
Scrutiny and Partnerships Manager
West Berkshire Council
Market Street
Newbury
Berkshire
RG14 5LD

T: 01635 519817
F: 01635 519613
E: [email address]

www.westberks.gov.uk/informationmanagement

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Dear David Lowe,

1. As detailed in the original request, Hungerford Town Council are intending to hire out the field for use by a Circus, contrary to the terms of the lease which restrict use to Sporting Activities. They say in their minutes that West Berkshire Council ( as landlords) have given their permission. I would like to see the associated correspondence or alternatively notes of the telephone conversation to see who has given permission. Similarly according to HTC minutes, West Berkshire Council gave their permission to HTC to grant a sub lease to allow Leadbitter temporary access, parking and siting of construction offices on the field. I would like to see the documentation that West Berkshire Council holds relating to this matter. Finally I believe HTC have approached West Berkshire Council about purchasing the field.

I also think that it is possible that other parties may have approached West Berkshire Council about purchasing all or part of the field, including Sovereign Housing who might wish to officially turn their 'temporary access' to the Priory Development over the field into permanent access - something that the positioning of their advertising hoardings at the entrance to the Triangle Field would seem to suggest.

2 I don't have sufficient knowledge of the Council's structure to answer this question, but I imagine whichever department is responsible for the safeguarding of the Council's assets - Property? Finance? Legal? Perhaps you could check with all likely Heads od Departments/ Directorates?

3 I believe that West Berkshire Council holds the information because you are (or were?) the landowner.

I hope this response helps you to locate the information, but I would be grateful if you could refrain from limiting your searches - there may have been other approaches ( and hence documentation) which I am unaware of - I certainly was not aware of the plans for allotments around the field.

Yours sincerely,

J A Giggins

David Lowe, West Berkshire Council

Dear Mrs Giggins,

Thank you for the clarification, which has proven useful.

I have been able to determine that although no record was created, an
officer in the Property Service did have a telephone conversation with
Hungerford Town Council about access to the field for use by a circus.
As the lease allows use for 'recreational purposes' (and not sporting
activities as you have stated), this Council had no objections.

I have also been able to locate a file that contains more recent
information that may cover other elements of your request. Unfortunately
the volume of this information, particularly when considered alongside
the more than 100 pages in the file returned from the archive, precludes
me being able to conclude your internal review by 11 March. I would
expect however that further information will be able to be provided by
18 March.

Yours sincerely,

David Lowe
Scrutiny and Partnerships Manager
Strategic Support West Berkshire Council Market Street Newbury
Berkshire RG14 5LD
01635 519817 | Ext 2817 | [email address]

http://www.westberks.gov.uk/

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Dear David Lowe,

Many thanks for this further response. I am glad that my clarification has helped. For further reference, please refer to clauses 2.10.1, 2.10.2, 2.11 and 2.12.1 of the original lease, provided as 'Triangle Field File 2' attached to Ms Broughton's earlier response.

The use is specified as for 'open space and SPORTING activities' and the sports are listed. There is no mention of use by a circus, nor for allotments or for that matter as a site for construction buildings. Of course the lease may have been varied, but I have not seen any consultation on the matter - hence my FOI request.

I would be grateful for early conclusion of your internal review and/or provision of the remaining information.

Yours sincerely,

J A Giggins

David Lowe, West Berkshire Council

Dear Mrs Giggins,

Thank you for your e-mail.

Whilst I am progressing my review, I can also advise that as the purpose
of the lease is effectively to give local management control to the
local Town Council, if HTC is of the view that having a circus on site
for a short time is beneficial for the community then there is no
specific reason for this council to object.

The original lease was granted in 1992 and whilst the lease can be used
to control the Town Council's use, the more recent intention that local
communities take on the management and running of community assets means
that flexibility is required to accommodate alternative uses and unless
there is a specific reason for the District Council to refuse consent
for a particular use, then it is assumed the Town Council has the
benefit of the local community at heart and the District Council would
not wish to be obstructive.

The same principle therefore applies to the use of the land to allow
access to the Priory site and to alleviate construction traffic going
through residential areas which clearly has more risk and inconvenience
to residents than if they access the site for a short period over a part
of the field.

Yours sincerely,

David Lowe
Scrutiny and Partnerships Manager
West Berkshire Council
Market Street
Newbury
Berkshire
RG14 5LD

T: 01635 519817
F: 01635 519613
E: [email address]

www.westberks.gov.uk/informationmanagement

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Dear David Lowe,

Many thanks for this further response. However you seem to be straying away from the purpose of the FOI Act which is to provide information not opinion.

Please can you provide the information requested, which is now overdue.

Many thanks.

Yours sincerely,

J A Giggins

David Lowe, West Berkshire Council

Dear Mrs Giggins,

Thank you for your e-mail.

Noting your view, it is the duty of the Council is to advise and assist
in interpreting the information supplied or to provide a narrative
response where the information is not held or the requester indicates
that they do not understand the context of the response and it is for
this reason that I have provided the commentary.

Yours sincerely,

David Lowe
Scrutiny and Partnerships Manager
West Berkshire Council
Market Street
Newbury
Berkshire
RG14 5LD

T: 01635 519817
F: 01635 519613
E: [email address]

www.westberks.gov.uk/informationmanagement

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Sue Broughton, West Berkshire Council

16 Attachments

FoI/2013/26


Dear Mrs Giggins,


Request for information: Triangle Field, Hungerford; usage and land
transfers

Please find attached the first tranche of scanned documents from the
remaining Triangle Field folders. Apologies for the delay as the scanner
in the office has been out of commission. These documents are from the
archived file recently obtained from the archive at Reading.

There are two remaining document sets to review, scan and send but these
are relatively small and will be completed on Monday.

Sue Broughton

Information Management Officer

* Strategic Support West Berkshire Council, Council Offices, Market
Street, Newbury RG14 5LD

Email: [West Berkshire Council request email]

' 01635 519747 (external) ' 2747 (internal)

You should be aware that all emails received and sent by this Council
are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and therefore may be
disclosed to a third party.

P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail

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David Lowe, West Berkshire Council

Dear Mrs Giggins,

Unfortunately the authority has not yet had the opportunity to provide
the information recently identified. I hope to be able to do so
tomorrow.

Yours sincerely,

David Lowe
Scrutiny and Partnerships Manager
Strategic Support West Berkshire Council Market Street Newbury
Berkshire RG14 5LD
01635 519817 | Ext 2817 | [email address]

http://www.westberks.gov.uk/

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Dear David Lowe,

That is a shame, particularly as the information is already significantly overdue. Is your scanner still out of action?

Please pass my thanks on to Ms Broughton for the information she supplied on Friday. It has proved most informative and in my opinion rather contradicts the 'advice/opinion' that you provided last week.

I look forward to receiving the remainder of the information tomorrow, together with the conclusions of your internal review.

Yours sincerely,

J A Giggins

Sue Broughton, West Berkshire Council

2 Attachments

FoI/2013/26

Dear Mrs Giggins,

Request for information: Triangle Field, Hungerford; usage and land
transfers

I am supplying the remaining information in several tranches as it is
too large to send together.

Yours sincerely

Sue Broughton

Information Management Officer

* Strategic Support West Berkshire Council, Council Offices, Market
Street, Newbury RG14 5LD

Email: [West Berkshire Council request email]

' 01635 519747 (external) ' 2747 (internal)

You should be aware that all emails received and sent by this Council
are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and therefore may be
disclosed to a third party.

P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail

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Sue Broughton, West Berkshire Council

2 Attachments

FoI/2013/26

Dear Mrs Giggins,

Request for information: Triangle Field, Hungerford; usage and land
transfers

Second set of information

Yours sincerely

Sue Broughton

Information Management Officer

* Strategic Support West Berkshire Council, Council Offices, Market
Street, Newbury RG14 5LD

Email: [West Berkshire Council request email]

' 01635 519747 (external) ' 2747 (internal)

You should be aware that all emails received and sent by this Council
are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and therefore may be
disclosed to a third party.

P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail

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Sue Broughton, West Berkshire Council

2 Attachments

FoI/2013/26

Dear Mrs Giggins,

Request for information: Triangle Field, Hungerford; usage and land
transfers

Third set

Yours sincerely

Sue Broughton

Information Management Officer

* Strategic Support West Berkshire Council, Council Offices, Market
Street, Newbury RG14 5LD

Email: [West Berkshire Council request email]

' 01635 519747 (external) ' 2747 (internal)

You should be aware that all emails received and sent by this Council
are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and therefore may be
disclosed to a third party.

P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail

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Sue Broughton, West Berkshire Council

2 Attachments

FoI/2013/26

Dear Mrs Giggins,

Please find attached the remaining information we are supplying and a
letter citing the relevant exceptions for the information withheld.

Yours sincerely

Sue Broughton

Information Management Officer

* Strategic Support West Berkshire Council, Council Offices, Market
Street, Newbury RG14 5LD

Email: [West Berkshire Council request email]

' 01635 519747 (external) ' 2747 (internal)

You should be aware that all emails received and sent by this Council
are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and therefore may be
disclosed to a third party.

P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail

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Dear Sue Broughton,

Many thanks for this further information. It makes for very interesting reading, although it is rather confusing given that the documents seem to have been provided in non chronological order and in some cases several times over.

Furthermore there are incomplete email chains within the documents supplied, you have only just released fairly current (2011/12 documents) and identified other current documents as exempt,Moreover you have not detailed the documents that you hold to which you are applying exemptions.

With regard to the exemptions themselves, the negotiations regarding possible sale/transfer of the Triangle Field to Hungerford Town Council are already public knowledge and any significant cost to the Town was raised as a concern at the recent Hungerford Town Meeting. I would be more than happy for documents to be supplied in redacted form, but I am hoping that they will shed some light on who instigated the negotiations and their rationale for doing so, bearing in mind the long extant length of the lease and the nominal rent attached to it. This begs the question as to what benefit there is to the Town in purchasing the freehold at anything other than a nominal amount. Moreover as such a move would effectively remove the protections embedded in the lease afforded to neighbouring residents and to the wider sporting community I believe that transparency of decision making by both public bodies is very much in the public interest.

I am also surprised that you have not supplied any documents from Sovereign Housing regarding access to their development at the Priory via the Field. They made plain that this was their preferred construction route during their 'resident' consultations for the project, and as previously indicated they have erected advertising hoardings (without planning permission)at the Triangle Field entrance.

I also understand that there may have been approaches in the past to use the Field for other non sporting uses as varied as for a fairground, for overnight camping/bikers rally, and for a vehicle fair - all of which would have been contrary to the provisions of the lease and would therefore would have been referred to West Berkshire Council. Could there be another missing file?

As the Council has declined to internally review the handling of my request, I will now take the matter to the Information Commissioner as a complaint, pointing out the above and referencing your non compliance with the timeframes of the FOI Act and/or the EIR regulations if applicable. I am however grateful that you have supplied the information free of charge.

Yours sincerely,

J A Giggins

J A Giggins left an annotation ()

In the end I didn't refer the response to this FOI request to the Commissioner partly because I thought it was unlikely that I'd get a ruling in time to make use of the information and partly because I had become aware that West Berkshire Council were corresponding privately with the ICO about my FOI activity, having publicly expressed their disappointment with the Commissioner's ruling that a previous request was not manifestly unreasonable/vexatious.

Since the Triangle Field is included in the SHLAA ( albeit considered 'not developable' at this stage) it is time to ask the unanswered questions again.

J A Giggins left an annotation ()

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