FOI request (FOI-91290829)
Information relating to caravan bases at Rocklands
Requested Wed 10 October 2018
Responded Thu 18 October 2018
In a response to the Ombudsman draft decision document dated 16/09/2016 Mrs. Christine Barkshire Jones comments against paragraph 41 that
"The cause of the landslip is uncertain. The Licensees state that the caravan bases were already in situ when they took over
years ago. This could be difficult to prove/disprove."
There is clear evidence available on Google Maps that the terracing was constructed in 2007/2008. SEG also have eye witness statements that large volumes of materials were imported to the site by lorry around this time.
Please supply the following information regarding the claim that caravan bases were already in situ when they took over.
- The written statement from the Licensees
- Any supporting evidence for this assertion
- The measures taken by HBC to establish the truth of this statement. Did HBC use the evidence provided by SEG including maps and eye witness statements?
This information is critical to a full understanding of the causes of the landslip and potential remedial action to stabilise it.
Please take this as a formal request under EIR 2004 regulations.
Q1 - I can confirm that Hastings Borough Council does hold a copy of a letter from GVA stating that the caravans were in situ when the owners took over Rocklands Caravan park however this written statement is being refused - please see refusal notice below.
NOTICE OF REFUSAL
Under Environmental Information Regulations the information requested above exempt under Section 12(5)(e) 'Confidentiality of commercial or industrial information where such confidentiality is provided by law to protect a legitimate economic interest'
We have considered the following:
- Is the information commercial or industrial
- Is the information subject to confidentiality provided by law
- Is the confidentiality protecting a legitimate economic interest
- Would disclosure adversely affect the confidentiality
Section 12(5)(e) is subject to a public interest test. This means that a public authority can refuse to disclose information under these exceptions if in all the circumstances of the case the public interest in maintaining the exception outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.
Factors for disclosure:
- Transparency and accountability
Factors against disclosure:
- Maintaining commercial confidences.
- If the information is disclosed it could be used to seek harm on the owners commercial interests.
- Unfounded critical publicity (and defamatory) reviews and postings about their business via social media and press leading to a loss of trade by virtue of a long running campaign since 2013.
- The release of this information could lead to further harassment to the owners.
- Manifestly unreasonable use of council's resources in constant use of FOI/EIR. The council could have used refusal notices but in the spirit of the Act have tried to comply with providing as much information as possible. In doing so this has caused a backlog of work for the Information Officer as nearly every request is followed by an internal review or challenged in another way
Q2 - Information not held
Q3 - This is not a request for recorded information.
Freedom of Information