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Thanet District Council freedom of information act requests | Freedom of information request 14.10.2009 | Second freedom of information request 14.10.2009 | Freedom of information act request 23.10.2009 | Rsponse to myFreedom of information act request 23.10.2009 | Complaint 2.11.2009 | from blog | Council spending on this project | My complaint response reply 16.11.2009 | FOI request 17.11.2009 | Complaint 17.11.2009 | Upper Marina esplanade incline. | Complaint 17.11.2009 response | From Blog 17.11.2009 | Title 16 | Review of the decision of the Council made on 20 November 2009 | FOI ref; 11594 logged by TDC on 16.10.2009 | my official response to your withholding the Pleasurama development agreement
FOI ref; 11594 logged by TDC on 16.10.2009
Subject: next request
Date: 12/03/2010 17:01:24 GMT Standard Time
Hi Richard well the answer to my request for the development agreement hasnít appeared by today as you promised so I will go on to the next one.
FOI ref; 11594 logged by TDC on 16.10.2009 for
1 Any condition report on or survey of the cliff façade behind the development behind the development more recent than the principle condition report of April 2005 which I already have.
2 Any documents pertaining to the condition of the Marina Esplanade incline viaduct, I am particularly interested to know how the load bearing capabilities were calculated, the weight limit at the moment is 40 tonnes, my own stress calculations were much more in the order of 10 tonnes.
3 Any flood risk assessment pertaining to the Pleasurama site.
As I would imagine that you donít want me to flood you with information, here are my initial thoughts on them.
1 there must have been some sort of report on the condition of the cliff even if only relating to the recent repair of the bulge.
2 My understanding of the foi legislation is that it is for you to refer any request I make to the appropriate public body if you donít hold the information, it is also my understanding that the marina incline condition is the mixed between KCC and TDC with both bodies having responsibility for different aspects of it.
As the condition of the incline is critical to the development it is my contention that TDC must hold some documentation relating to its condition.
3 When I spoke to Doug and Brian I was assured that this part of Ramsgate classified by the EA as ďhigh riskĒ would covered by the SFRA so it is my contention that you must have some sort of assessment of the flood risk there.
Please note as this correspondence relates to an foi request I am assuming any response to it to be in the public domain.
Best regards Michael
In a message dated 15/03/2010 08:57:04 GMT Standard Time,
You may want to check your e-mails as my records shows that you were sent
the Councils decision on the Pleasurama Development Agreement on 9
March 2010 at 17.05. I also sent a copy to the Information Commissioner. You
were nearly correct in your prediction on the outcome. The Council has
refused to disclose the Development Agreement but has not relied on the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 to do so, but on the Environmental Information
Regulations 2004. However, you do have the right to request a review of
As to FOIA 11594,which you describe as still outstanding, this is in
fact the reference given to your request for the Development Agreement - now
dealt with. However I note from a review of our Civica system that
an e-mail from you dated 10 November 2009 chasing up a request for a copy
of a condition survey in respect of for the cliff facade and flood risk
assessment etc was mistakenly filed with the correspondence relating
to your request for the Development Agreement. In addition, my records show
that Doug **** responded to your chase up e-mail on 19 November 2009 by
replying as follows:-
1.Condition Survey for Cliff facade - He referred this to Geoff ***. I
deal with this below.
2. Any documents pertaining to how the load bearings for the Marina
Esplanade incline viaduct were calculated - He informed you this was an adopted
highway so you would have to raise this matter with KCC highways. Have you?
3. Flood Risk Assessment. He informed you there wasn't one.
I am not aware that you have requested a review of Doug Brown's
responses in relation to 2. and 3. above
As to 1. above, my records show that Geoff **** did not directly reply
this request. That is because Geoff was already in the course of
responding to another request from you dated 25 October 2009 which contained a
series of further requests including two requests in relation to the
condition of the cliff facade - you asked for a copy of any maintenance
schedule and requested an estimate of serviceable life. My records show
that Geoff replied to these request on 20 November 2009 by informing you that
there was no planned inspection and maintenance regime in respect of
the cliff facade and that serviceable life would depend on levels of future
inspection, maintenance and investment. As you know, you then requested a
review of Geoff's decision which I conducted and concluded on 3 March
2010. In particular, in my response to you requests in relation the
serviceable life of the cliff facade I said:
'I can confirm that the Council holds no recorded information estimating
the serviceable life of the cliff facade other than any contained in the
inspection report. I believe you have a copy of this document or at least
are familiar with its contents'.
Consequently, it is fairly clear form this that the Council hold no
other condition survey for the cliff facade other than the one you claim to
have a copy of.
As a result, it is my conclusion that all your requests from 16 October
2009 have, in fact, been responded to.
Taking this into account , please let me know if you want to review my
decision to refuse disclose the Development Agreement and whether you
still consider there are any other information requests outstanding.
Head of Legal & Democratic Services (and Monitoring Officer)
Thanet District Council
CC: <Michael.*****@thanet.gov.uk>, <Richard.****@thanet.gov.uk>
Date: 15/03/2010 10:25
Subject: Re: next request
Morning Harvey, this is confirmation of the receipt of your email and my
notification to you that I definitely didnít receive the email of the 9th
March that you refer to.
As I run an internet business with several thousand books listed on Amazon
etc I am acutely aware of the problems associated with lost emails and can
reliably inform you that we havenít had a single email go astray that we
know about this year, so I would think it highly probable that something
went wrong at TDCIT and would recommend that you look into it.
Could you please resend the email of the 9th, so that I have some official
refusal for my records?
Problems with council email are not new to me see
_http://www.thanetonline.com/Pleasurama/_ (http://www.thanetonline.com/Pleasurama/) or even
I will respond to this email later as I need some time to go back through
my records because aspects of it frankly donít seem that they can be right,
particularly those that relate to there being no FRA and no survey of the
cliff façade, where the inference is that the repair work to the bulge was
done entirely because I notified the council about it, I find it a bit hard
to swallow that the council would spend thousands of pounds repairing a
structure without some kind of written survey.
For future reference if you send me an email and donít get either a reply
of a confirmation of receipt within a few hours, it will be because I havení
t received your email.
Best regards Michael
In a message dated 15/03/2010 13:46:58 GMT Standard Time, Harvey.****@thanet.gov.uk writes:
I will forward a copy of my e-mail of 9 March 2010.
Sent: 15/03/2010 16:47:54 GMT Standard Time
Subj: Re: next request
Hi Harvey my response to your email, there are two things that I would like clarification on here and they relate to two important safety areas surrounding this development.
1 Is about the inspection of the cliff façade, when Geoff told me that there was no intention to inspect the cliff façade until 2011 I inspected it myself and sent him the photographs, showing both the bulge and the apparent lack of foundations.
I find it impossible to believe that he then ordered the repair of the bulge without even bothering to have the bulge and the foundations examined, so I feel that at some time the bulging bit at the very least must have been examined and some sort of inspection of the foundations made and this must have generated some sort of paperwork.
Now my concern here is that it is this paperwork that I have requested and that I havenít received it, either because it isnít called the condition report but something else, or because of the timing, by this I mean that if the report was actually written just after my request then perhaps it was thought reasonable to say that the document didnít exist at the time of my request.
Could you kindly confirm that there is definitely now at this point in time no documentation held by the council about the condition of the cliff façade later than; the principle condition report of April 2005?
2 The other problem I have is with the flood risk assessment I was assured by both Brian and Doug that when the council did its Strategic Flood Risk Assessment SFRA for Thanet this site would be included.
My understanding is that the SFRA has now been done and the site not included, can you please confirm this?
If this is the case I would like to know why not as the EA consider this to be a high risk area, see http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/ea/id2.htm after the EAís report Brian tried on several occasions to make light of this, so when I heard that Laura Sandys and Roger Gale were going to meet with the southeastís senior EA officers I asked them to ask these EA officers some questions for me, one of which was to confirm the importance of a FRA and pedestrian escapes for the development, I will forward you Lauraís email to me about this.
Once again I have a situation where I am wondering if there is some document related to the flood risk problem that I am not getting because of some technicality, I find it very difficult to believe that the council received a letter from the EA saying that the development needed ha FRA for public safety reasons and this generated no documentation or action from the council whatsoever.
So can you please confirm that the councilís response to the EAís recommendations was simply to ignore them?
Incidentally the forwarded copy of your email of the 9th hasnít turned up yet so it may have something in it that the TDC email filter doesnít like.
Best regards Michael
Subject: next request
Date: 16/03/2010 10:49:25 GMT Standard Time
CC: Michael.*****@thanet.gov.uk, email@example.com
Hi Harvey I still havenít received your email of the 9th and am beginning to feel that I am entering the world of the surreal on this one, obviously I nbeed to know the reason for refusal under Statutory Instrument 2004 No. 3391 ďThe Environmental Information Regulations 2004Ē before I can request a review.
I am sure that you are not deliberately delaying it, but you have to appreciate that that it could easily be perceived that way, something that adds unnecessarily to the adverse perception of the councilís ability to function efficiently.
Embedded is a pretty stunning picture of Margate Jetty circa 1895 that I have just posted on the blog as I gather you canít access it with TDCIT.
Best regards Michael
In a message dated 16/03/2010 12:23:11 GMT Standard Time, Michael.*****@thanet.gov.uk writes:
Dear Mr Child,
Further to your e-mail of today's date wherein you have stated that you have not received a response to your FOI case 11594 - Development Agreement for the Pleasurama site, Ramsgate.
At present I cannot establish as to why this particular communication did not reach you, particularly as subsequent e-mails have and you have responded to them. I have also carefully examined the addresses that are embodied in the document management system that handles the FOI process and can only conclude that the use of capital letters in the address, as in this incoming e-mail, may have been the culprit?
Notwithstanding, I have copied below the response that Harvey Patterson sent on 9th March using the 'reply' facility to your latest e-mail:-
Ref No: 11594 / 1110997
This the formal response that will sit within the Council's Information Request Management System
Thank you for your communication received by the Council on 14 October 2009 where you requested a copy of the Development Agreement in respect of land at Ramsgate Boulevard, Ramsgate, Kent (commonly known as the Pleasurama Site). I must also apologise for the delay in dealing with this matter.
I consider that the access regime that applies to your request is the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and consequently any reference below to 'the Regulations' is a reference to these provisions.
I have also interpreted your request as including a request for the disclosure of any agreements that modify or vary the Pleasurama Development Agreement and in this regard I am able to confirm that the Council holds not only the Development Agreement requested by you but also a number of supplemental agreements including a variation agreement, option agreement and a deposit agreement.
However, it is my view that the Development Agreement and supplemental agreements are commercially confidential and are therefore exempt from disclosure by virtue of the exception set out in Regulation 12 (5) (e) of the Regulations - provided, of course, that the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosure.
The factors that favour disclosure include the public interest in ensuring that the Council has achieved value for money in the disposal of a publicly owned asset and the public interest in holding the Council to account for it's decisions. However, I have given very limited weight to the public interest in ensuring the proper development of a prominent site in Ramsgate, because the planning permission that regulates the development that may take place on this site, is in the public domain.
The factors that favour withholding the information are the substantial public interest in the maintenance of commercial confidentiality as well as the public interest in the Council respecting confidences.
On balance, I consider that the public interest in withholding the Pleasurama Development Agreement and supplemental agreements outweighs the public interest in disclosing it. Consequently it is my decision to withhold these agreements.
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 the response to your original letter and should be addressed to: Information Request Assessor, Thanet District Council, P O Box 9 Cecil Street, Margate Kent CT9 1XZ, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.
If you are not content with the outcome of the 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
Head of Legal and Democratic Services
Please advise receipt of this communication, in due course.
If you have any queries relating to this matter, then please do contact me quoting the case reference number shown above.
Freedom of Information Assessor,
Finance & Corporate Services
Thanet District Council,Subject: Re: next request
Date: 16/03/2010 13:40:29 GMT Standard Time
CC: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent from the Internet (Details)
Hi Mike, this is confirmation of the receipt of your email below.
You could say, ďby George I have finally got it.Ē
One point of note that you may wish to consider is checking that the information commissioner got the copy sent to him.
I have considerable sympathy for officers and councillors grappling with TDCIT and considerable concerns about the amount of highly paid officerís time wasted grappling with both inappropriate hardware and software.
Several high profile councillors refuse to use the councilís emia server preferring to use their own personal email addresses, that they consider to be more reliable.
I would also like to point out to you that aspects of the way this request, that should have been responded to with a refusal to disclose, justified by; ďthe confidentiality of commercial or industrial information where such confidentiality is provided by law to protect a legitimate economic interest,Ē within ten days was handled.
I would like to criticise the complicated way the council responded to this and to other foi requests that I have made.
Most particularly in the way that the council uses a large number of different email addresses to respond to the same request, often removing the requesters previous email from the response, so that it is difficult for the requester to tell what is being responded to, particularly if the requester has more than one foi request.
Anyway many thanks for sending it, as it means I can now get on with the next stage.
I hope you enjoy the picture if it makes it through the TDC email filter, I gather that among other things it filters out pictures with large amounts of flesh tone, so monochrome would be safest.
Best regards Michael