FOI request (FOIR-109528936)
County Gate/Sunley - Heads of Terms
Requested Thu 14 March 2019
Responded Mon 08 April 2019
I refer to the Minutes of the Cabinet on 4th March 2019 where it was resolved that the Council should enter into a long lease with County Gate/Sunley on the Heads of Terms attached at Appendix 1. Unfortunately the Heads of Terms were not included in the public documents. In the interests of transparency in decision-making I should be grateful under the Freedom of Information Act to receive a copy of these. I am happy for appropriate redaction of any explicitly commercial details.
The Head of Terms which is in draft form that you have requested was contained in Part 2 of the Cabinet Meeting dated 4 March 2019 therefore is exempt by virtue of paragraph(s) 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972. Part 2 means that this part of the agenda is discussed in private, as it contains confidential information.
In addition to this, the draft Head of Terms are commercially sensitive and will remain so until such time as the lease is completed or the proposal doesn't proceed.
NOTICE OF REFUSAL
In addition to the above, the information you have requested is commercially sensitive and will remain so until such time as the lease is completed or the proposal doesn't proceed.
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.
We have identified the following public interest factors that may be seen as encouraging the disclosure of information:
a. Transparency and accountability of public spending
We consider these factors to be of limited relevance in relation to the information in question.
Public interest factors seen as encouraging non-disclosure are, generally, the exemptions themselves. In consideration of this matter we came to the following conclusions:
a. Ensuring that companies are able to compete for business fairly.
b. Negotiations are still on-going.
c. Damage to reputation , commercial operations and financial interest.
In weighing the factors for and against disclosure we have concluded that the likely benefit to the applicant and the wider public of disclosure is outweighed by the likely prejudice caused by such disclosure and that therefore the public interest is better served by non-disclosure.
For the reasons given above we will not be communicating to you the information you have requested.
Freedom of Information