FOI request (FOI-91300785)
Request for details of correspondence with Fire and Rescue Service mentioned in Mrs Barkshire Jones comments to first draft ombudsman report
Requested Wed 10 October 2018
Responded Mon 15 October 2018
In comments made to the first draft Ombudsman report Mrs Christine Barkshire Jones states:
The process of issuing a new site licence is complex and time consuming. It has
Required Consultation with the licensees, the council's planning service and the Fire and
Rescue Service. We have also had extensive correspondence with our
geotechnical advisors in relation to proposed new conditions
Please provide us with copies of all correspondence and documents relating to the consultations with the Fire and Rescue Service referred to in this comment.
Please treat this as a formal request under the EIR 2004.
The information you have requested in respect for copies of correspondence and documents relating to the consultations with the Fire and Rescue Service is relating to negotiations Caravan Site Licence of Rocklands Caravan Park.
The Caravan Site License negotiations are a private matter between the local authority and the licensee, there is no public consultation in these matters.
Correspondence and documents relating to this request is exempt under the Environmental Information Regulations 12(5)(e) Confidentiality of commercial or industrial information where such confidentiality is provided by law to protect a legitimate economic interest.
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:
- Unfounded critical publicity (and defamatory) reviews and postings about Rocklands Caravan Park via social media and press leading to a loss of trade by virtue of a long running campaign since 2013.
- Significant diversion of their attention away from the efficient running of the owners business.
- A material reduction in the funds they have available to invest in the owners business.
- A reduction in the value of the owners park/business proved by lack of bookings for holiday lets and by valuations.
- Accusations against owners of Rocklands for alleged criminal offences and responsibility for landslip.
- Many complaints to the local authority (Hastings Borough Council) about compliance caravan site licensing, planning and building control laws.
- Additional cost of professionals to protect Rocklands owners interests against the campaign pursued by SEG e.g. lawyers/surveyors and agents
- Constant bad publicity by SEG hampers the owners ability to be able to eventually sell their land and business for a fair value
- Loss of contentment/enjoyment of running their family business
For the reasons given above Hastings Borough Council will not be providing you with the requested information.
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