Dear Swindon Borough Council,

I request this information under the freedom of information act.

Please can you provide me with the list of properties which are currently void.

If you are unable to provide me with a current list , please provide me with the list or number of properties that were void w/c 2 November 2020.

Please can you break down the type of property into the following ;

Flat
House
Bungalow

And state the amount of bedrooms.

Regards,

Yours faithfully,

M Morse

Dear Swindon Borough Council,

You have not responded to my request for information, by law I expected a reply by 14 Dec 20.

Please can you acknowledge my request and provide me with a timescale in which you will respond.

Yours faithfully,

M Morse

Dear Swindon Borough Council,

I expected a response in line with the legal timelines , please acknowledge my request and let me know when you will provide me with the information.

Yours faithfully,

M Morse

Saunders, Andrew (LGS),

Dear M Morse

 

“Empty property FOI requests

We are frequently asked for lists of all empty properties within the
borough.

 

We do not hold a list of all empty properties, however we do hold
information about those properties which we have been advised are empty in
relation to Business Rates or Council Tax.

 

Exemption under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Section 31 – Law
Enforcement

We are unable to provide names of businesses or addresses of empty
commercial and residential properties as we consider disclosing this
information would make them a target of crime. Therefore this information
is exempt from disclosure under section 31 of the Freedom of Information
Act 2000.

 

Pursuant to section 31(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI
Act), public authorities are not obliged to release information that would
be likely to prejudice the functions of law enforcement- namely the
prevention and detection of crime.

 

Enquiries have been made with Wiltshire Police and Dorset & Wiltshire Fire
& Rescue Service, both of whom indicate the release of this type of
information where buildings are situated, would increase the potential
for:

 

o Buildings to be targeted by squatters
o Buildings to be targeted by criminals or terrorists intent on hiding
or depositing proceeds of crime of terrorist materials
o Premises to be identified as short-term hiding places by criminals or
terrorists
o Premises to be targeted by vandals or street artists

 

We have also taken into account the [1]Information Tribunal Case No.
EA/2011/0007 ('the Camden case'),  in which the Tribunal was satisfied
that the evidence suggests that disclosing this information would have the
effect of assisting at least some of those wishing to engage in squatting,
leading to an increase in the instances of such activity.

 

Squatting in residential property has itself become a criminal offence
which demonstrates the destructive nature of squatting and the associated
crimes. Information on empty commercial properties could also lead to
crime associated with squatting such as vandalism and the theft of
fixtures and fittings. The Tribunal concluded that an increase in
squatting would also lead to various categories of associated criminal
activity. As a result the Tribunal found that section 31(1) (a) was
engaged in that it was likely that disclosure of the disputed information
would have a negative impact on the prevention of crime.

 

The Information Commissioner’s Office has also re-confirmed section 31 is
applicable for information about empty properties in a recent decision
involving the [2]Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

 

Section 31 is a qualified exemption and we are obliged to consider the
public interest test.

If you require a formal Refusal Notice as set out under Section 17 Freedom
of Information Act, that outlines all of the Council’s arguments and how
we consider the balance of the public interest lies in this case please
get back to us.

 

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your
request and wish to request a review you should contact:

 

Customer Services

Civic Offices

Euclid Street

Swindon

Website: [3]www.[Swindon Borough Council request email]

 

The complaints/review procedure involves a full review by the Council's
Monitoring Officer. 

 

If you are not content with the outcome of our conclusion, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner's Office for a decision before
contacting the Council. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless
you have exhausted the Council's own complaints procedure.

 

The Information Officer can be contacted at:

 

The Information Commissioner's Office,

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF ”

 

 

Kind regards

 

Andrew Saunders

Contract Manager

 

 

This email is security checked and subject to the disclaimer on web-page:
[4]https://www.capita.com/email-disclaimer....

References

Visible links
1. http://www.informationtribunal.gov.uk/DB...
2. https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve%20t...
3. http://www.[Swindon Borough Council request email]/
4. https://www.capita.com/email-disclaimer....

Dear Saunders, Andrew (LGS),

Please refer to my request for information whereby I have asked for a list of properties and a breakdown of the category of the property , I do not require the location of any property just the number that are currently classed as void.

I believe that you can provide this information without breaching any of the protocols set out in the response you have provided.

Please contact me if you require further clarification on my request.

Yours sincerely,

M Morse

M Morse left an annotation ()

To assist you further in providing me with the information I have requested, please note that I require information about council properties , not private properties or business places.

Thanks

Saunders, Andrew (LGS),

Dear M Morse

I can advise that there are currently 1403 properties receiving either an empty property discount or empty premium, however we do not categorise our properties by whether they are a flat, house or bungalow and do not hold records of how many bedrooms a property has and so are unable to provide any split between the requested categories.

Kind regards

Andrew Saunders
Contract Manager
     

Tel: 07541 644776
Email: [email address]

show quoted sections

Dear Saunders, Andrew (LGS),

Thank you for clarifying this .

Please can you confirm that the 1403 are council properties , as in social housing?

Yours sincerely,

M Morse

Saunders, Andrew (LGS),

Dear M Morse

The 1403 properties were the total number of empty properties within the Swindon Borough Council area, not just social housing. The number of Council owned properties (as they are the only social housing properties we have an indicator flag for) are 160 properties.

Kind regards

Andrew Saunders
Contract Manager
     
Email: [email address]

show quoted sections