Vacant commercial property

John Cooper made this Freedom of Information request to Greenwich 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 refused by Greenwich Borough Council.

Dear Greenwich Borough Council,

Please can you provide me with the following information under the
Freedom Of Information Act 2000:-

(a) addresses and rateable values of empty Commercial properties
that are within Greenwich Borough Council area; and

(b) the names of the owners of those properties referred to in (a)

Yours faithfully

John Cooper

foi, Greenwich Borough Council

Dear Mr Cooper

 

Ref No:- RFI/07398

 

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request dated 18^th July 2014
regarding Vacant commercial property.

 

Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 and will be answered within twenty working days.

 

If you have any further queries about this request do not hesitate to
contact me.  Please remember to quote the reference number above in any
future communications.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

June Reid

Quality and Insight Manager

Customer Services and ICT Strategy Division

Royal Borough of Greenwich

LGC Council of the Year 2013

 

' 020 8921 6290  À

*   The Woolwich Centre, 35 Wellington Street, London SE18 6HQ

8 www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk

 

 

 

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foi, Greenwich Borough Council

Dear Mr Cooper,

 

Freedom of Information request RFI/07398

 

Freedom of Information Act 2000 Request – Empty Commercial Premises

 

Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of
Information Act (“the Act”) dated 18^th July 2014, in which you asked for
information relating to empty properties.

 

I can confirm that the Council does hold the information you have
requested.

 

However, this information is exempt under section 31(1) (a) of the Act.
Information is exempt information if its disclosure would, or would be
likely to prejudice “The prevention or detection of crime”.

 

We consider that by placing this information into the public domain it is
likely to increase the level of break-ins and metal thefts from empty
commercial buildings in the Borough. This could also lead to an increase
in criminal activity as well as endangering the safety of council tenants
and residents who reside in neighbouring properties.

 

We have also withheld this information in accordance with section 38 (1)
(a) (b) of the Act.

 

This information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act
would, or would be likely to “Endanger the safety of any individual”.

 

There have been a number of incidents that have occurred as a result of
break-ins to our vacant stock for metal thefts, which has caused over
£70,000 worth of damage.  In a recent case, the damage caused to one of
our council properties resulted in flooding which resulted in a collapsed
ceiling of the tenant’s flat below.

 

We consider that by placing a list of addresses of privately owned and
council owned commercial buildings into the public domain there is a
likelihood that the safety of our tenants and residents could be
endangered. This is demonstrated by the case we have referred to in the
paragraph above.

 

Both section 31(1) (a) and 38(1) (b) are qualified exemptions and we have
considered the public interest test in accordance with section 2(1)(b) of
the Act.

 

“In all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining
the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing whether the
public authority holds the information”.

 

We have considered all the factors in favour of disclosure and they are:

 

Placing the requested information would assist the general public interest
in openness, an important aspect of which includes increasing public
debate concerning empty properties.

 

There is a public interest in public authorities being accountable and
transparent. 

 

The factors that weigh in favour of maintaining the exemption are:-

 

That disclosure of this information into the public domain could increase
the likelihood of break-ins to properties within the Borough.

 

If this happened, it is likely that the residents in close proximity to
these empty non-commercial buildings could be under threat because a crime
had been committed close to them.  We expect residents to feel secure in
their homes.

 

We have withheld the information relating to privately owned properties,
the addresses of individually owned vacant properties in accordance with
section 40 of the Act. This information constitutes third party data. 
Section 40(2) provides that personal data about third parties is exempt
information if one of the conditions set out in section 40(3) is
satisfied.  Under the Act disclosure of this information would breach the
fair processing principle contained in the Data Protection Act, where it
would be unfair to those residents to disclose their personal data without
their consent.  Also there would be a reasonable expectation from the
residents that the Council would keep information about their personal
data confidential.

 

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 your response to
your original letter and should be addressed to: Mary Ney, Chief
Executive, The Town Hall, Wellington Street, Woolwich, London, SE18 6PW.

 

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

If you are not content with the outcome of your internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF

 

Yours sincerely,

 

June Reid

Quality and Insight Manager

Customer Services and ICT Strategy Division

Royal Borough of Greenwich

LGC Council of the Year 2013

 

' 020 8921 6290  À

*   The Woolwich Centre, 35 Wellington Street, London SE18 6HQ

8 www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk

 

 

 

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