Usability of the Stonehenge Permissive Path on the route of the old A344

The request was partially successful.

Dear Wiltshire Council,

English Heritage entered into a legal agreement with Wiltshire Council to provide a permissive path on the route of the closed section of A344 at Stonehenge by the summer of 2016 as part of planning application S/2009/1527.

http://unidoc.wiltshire.gov.uk/UniDoc/Do...

Wiltshire Council Southern Area Planning committee meeting held on 21 July 2016 felt that the planning officers should work to achieve this provision.

http://unidoc.wiltshire.gov.uk/UniDoc/Do...

This historic path is still not open as of 6 October 2016 and the Council’s position to this breach of planning conditions by English Heritage is:
“The council is not taking any steps to ensure the permissive path is open by summer 2016 because it is not expedient to do so. There is an alternative usable path and the proposed path is not yet established enough in terms of its growth to open at present and therefore the council is not pursuing any further action until the proposed path is established enough to become useable.”

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s...

Please could the council provide copies of all correspondence including emails and notes of any meetings and telephone calls where the state of the establishment of the grass on the route of the closed A344 is mentioned or discussed.
And the criteria used for judging the suitableness of the state of establishment for use as a path.
And any correspondence as above where sanctions for failure to ensure satisfactory establishment, are mentioned or discussed.

Please ensure that the answer includes the full technical and agronomic details. I have an MA from Oxford University in Agricultural Science, I have been a professional trained agronomist, I have forty years of grassland management experience and I have walked and inspected this section of grass many times. In my professional opinion it is well enough established to be used as a path and I want to find out exactly who disagrees and why.

Yours faithfully,

Tim Daw

FOI, Wiltshire Council

Dear Mr. Daw,

Request for information – reference RFI - ENQ06132-REQ001

Thank you for your request for information received on Friday, 07 October 2016.

Your request is being considered and if the information is held you will receive the information requested within the statutory timescale of 20 working days of receipt of your request as defined by the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

I may contact you during that time if the request needs to be clarified; this is to ensure that we provide you with the information you require.

Please note that some information you have requested may not be provided to you; this will only be information that can be withheld by law. If we find it necessary to withhold any information we will explain our reasons for doing so at the same time as we provide you with your copy of any information that can be released to you.

Yours sincerely

Information Governance Team
Corporate Office
Wiltshire Council
Bythesea Road
Trowbridge
BA14 8JN

[Wiltshire Council request email]
Web: www.wiltshire.gov.uk

show quoted sections

FOI, Wiltshire Council

Dear Mr. Daw,

 

Please note that we are now dealing with this request under this
reference: Request for information – reference RFI - ENQ05973-REQ002

 

Thank you for your request for information received on Friday, 07 October
2016.

 

Your request is being considered and if the information is held you will
receive the information requested within the statutory timescale of 20
working days of receipt of your request as defined by the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

 

I may contact you during that time if the request needs to be clarified;
this is to ensure that we provide you with the information you require.

 

Please note that some information you have requested may not be provided
to you; this will only be information that can be withheld by law. If we
find it necessary to withhold any information we will explain our reasons
for doing so at the same time as we provide you with your copy of any
information that can be released to you.  

 

Yours sincerely

 

Information Governance Team

Corporate Office

Wiltshire Council

Bythesea Road

Trowbridge

BA14 8JN

 

[1][Wiltshire Council request email]                

Web: [2]www.wiltshire.gov.uk

          

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Dear FOI,

A reminder we are still waiting for a response to this FOI request and the twenty days are up.
The FOI Act explains that it is the duty of public bodies to respond "promptly and in any event not later than the twentieth working day following the date of receipt".
The ICO says that the requirement to respond 'promptly' and the requirement to respond no later than 20 working days were to be considered as separate obligations and that public bodies should be able to justify why it took them as long as 20 days to respond to requests in cases where they do not act more promptly than that "long stop" deadline.
"The obligation to respond promptly means that an authority should comply with a request as soon as is reasonably practicable," the ICO says in its new guidance. "Whilst this is linked to the obligation to respond within 20 working days, it should be treated as a separate requirement."
"An authority will therefore need to both respond promptly and within 20 working days in order to comply with [the FOI Act]. Authorities should regard the 20 working day limit as a ‘long stop’, in other words the latest possible date on which they may issue a response. It also follows that an authority which provides its response close to, or on, the final day of the 20 working day limit ought to be able to both account for, and justify, the length of time taken to comply with the request,"

Please note this is the second time that an FOI request of mine to Wiltshire Council has not been answered within the timeframe which suggests that there is a procedural problem.

Yours sincerely,

Tim Daw

FOI, Wiltshire Council

14 Attachments

Dear Mr. Daw,

 

Request for Information – reference RFI - ENQ05973-REQ002

 

Thank you for your request for information received on Monday, 05
September 2016. Apologies for the delay in responding to you.

 

Please could the council provide copies of all correspondence including
emails and notes of any meetings and telephone calls where the state of
the establishment of the grass on the route of the closed A344 is
mentioned or discussed.

 

And the criteria used for judging the suitableness of the state of
establishment for use as a path.

 

And any correspondence as above where sanctions for failure to ensure
satisfactory establishment, are mentioned or discussed.

 

Section 39 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires us to respond
to requests for information about the environment under different
legislation: the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, rather than
under the Freedom of Information Act.  The definition of “environment”
under this legislation is very wide.   I consider that the information you
have requested relates to the environment and must therefore be dealt with
under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

 

In response to your request officers have provided the requested
information in the attached files.  Personal information has been redacted
accordingly.

 

The Council has not withheld any information in relation to this request
under the exceptions of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

 

If you are unhappy with this result, you can raise a complaint under the
council’s [1]Review Procedure for Information Requests (enclosed) within
40 days of receiving the information. When you have exhausted the
council’s procedure you can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office
at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF,
[2]www.ico.org.uk or 0303 123 1113. If you would like to discuss any of
the information provided to you or would like further information on the
review procedure, please contact me.

 

Information supplied under the Freedom of Information Act and/or
Environmental Information Regulations will be subject to copyright
protection under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Information
can be re-used for the purposes of research for non-commercial purposes,
for private study or for news reporting and reviews, without requiring
formal consent. However, if you wish to re-use the information for
commercial purposes, including publishing, you are required to seek the
permission of the copyright owner. Permission to re-use Wiltshire
Council’s copyright information is granted in the form of a licence.
Authorisation to re-use copyright material not owned by Wiltshire Council
should be sought from the copyright holders concerned.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Sarah Davis-Solan

Information Governance Officer

 

Int: 13665

Tel: 01225 713665

Corporate Office | County Hall | Trowbridge | Wiltshire | BA14 8JN

 

From: FOI
Sent: 10 October 2016 13:47
To: '[FOI #363399 email]'
Subject: RFI - ENQ05973-REQ002 - Usability of the Stonehenge Permissive
Path on the route of the old A344

 

Dear Mr. Daw,

 

Please note that we are now dealing with this request under this
reference: Request for information – reference RFI - ENQ05973-REQ002

 

Thank you for your request for information received on Friday, 07 October
2016.

 

Your request is being considered and if the information is held you will
receive the information requested within the statutory timescale of 20
working days of receipt of your request as defined by the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

 

I may contact you during that time if the request needs to be clarified;
this is to ensure that we provide you with the information you require.

 

Please note that some information you have requested may not be provided
to you; this will only be information that can be withheld by law. If we
find it necessary to withhold any information we will explain our reasons
for doing so at the same time as we provide you with your copy of any
information that can be released to you.  

 

Yours sincerely

 

Information Governance Team

Corporate Office

Wiltshire Council

Bythesea Road

Trowbridge

BA14 8JN

 

[3][Wiltshire Council request email]                

Web: [4]www.wiltshire.gov.uk

          

show quoted sections

Dear FOI,

Please note the reply I have sent to the Council Southern Planning Committee - your help has been much appreciated and if you could bring it to the appropriate attention it would earn my further gratitude.

To The Chairman
Southern Area Planning Committee
Wiltshire Council
c.c. Cllr Fred Westmoreland (Chairman), Cllr Christopher Devine (Vice Chairman), Cllr Richard Britton, Cllr Richard Clewer, Cllr Brian Dalton, Cllr Jose Green, Cllr Mike Hewitt, Cllr George Jeans, Cllr Ian McLennan, Cllr Ian Tomes and Cllr Ian West
Re Permissive Path on the old A344
Sir
You may be aware of the publicity about the failure of English Heritage to provide this path by summer 2016 as agreed in the planning application for the New Visitor Centre and the adverse comments on Wiltshire Council's failure to enforce the condition.
You will recall that at your meeting of 21 July 2016 the committee “felt that Officers should work to achieve it. “
I have tried gather the facts and just had a reply to an FOI request https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/…/usabili... and it seems that English Heritage have asked to be allowed until October 2017 to provide this path because of the risk of erosion to the newly established grass.
The FOI request did not show that the extension allowed to English Heritage had yet been granted.
Before it is considered I would note the following.
Erosion of a path is the result of the surface condition and usage. There has been no independent assessment of the state of the grass. There are no estimated usage figures for the path. Without these there can be no judgement as to the likely hood of erosion. I would ask that these be provided.
The usual and simpler answer is to open the path, there is a sward established on it, and if erosion starts to manage it by remedial action to the path surface or a temporary diversion.
The present diversion is over land owned and managed by the National Trust. Their agreement to the diversion being extended for another year over their land needs to be obtained in writing before the matter can be considered.
I remain yours etc.
Tim Daw

Yours sincerely,

Tim Daw

Dear FOI,

Planning application 16/03988/FUL for the new Coach park and related works at Stonehenge had several conditions applied.

They are detailed in on pages 46 onwards of the response document ; http://unidoc.wiltshire.gov.uk/UniDoc/Do...

One of them is: Notwithstanding the submitted drawings showing the proposals for directing pedestrian arrivals in the vicinity of the A344 junction with Byway 12, prior to the commencement of the development hereby approved further details shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority demonstrating how pedestrians using the signed and lined route on the southern side of the A344 can access the Stones without having to cross the A344 or to walk within the route used by the Visitor Transit System to the east side of Byway 12. The approved details shall be implemented before the proposed bus turning arrangements are brought into effect.
Reason: In the interests of highway and visitor pedestrian safety

The development has commenced but the approved plans are not available on the Wiltshire Council Planning website - the document above merely says they are "TO FOLLOW"

It would be useful to see the plans, if you could help it would be much appreciated as it directly relates to this FOI. Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Tim Daw

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