FOI request (FOI204955)
Mayfield Lane Developers Viability Statement and DVS report
Requested Mon 06 March 2017
Responded Mon 06 March 2017
The committee report for planning application HS/FA/16/563 refers to the District Valuers report :
"The DVS have issued their formal response which concludes, "our appraisals show a residual valuation of £1,474,414 for the extant scheme and £1,436,792 for the proposed scheme. The proposed scheme can therefore not support an additional contribution towards affordable housing above the £168,330 already proposed." It is noted that the value has dropped between the extant scheme and the proposed scheme. This is because the costs associated with providing the additional floorspace to accommodate the additional bedrooms are substantially greater that the gain in market value of the dwellings in question.
The District Valuers report was instrumental in determining whether affordable housing should have been recalculated. The DVS report would be dependent on a viability statement submitted for this application or previous applications related to this application.
The developer's viability statement is relevant to the planning application but is not available on the Planning web site.
I request the following information:
- A copy of the District Valuers report for HS/FA/16/563
- A copy of the developers viability statement for HS/FA/16/563
- A copy of the developers viability statement for HS/FA/15/00039
- A copy of the developers viability statement for HS/FA/16/00223
Please be aware that there have been recent rulings allowing release of viability statements.
Appeals to the ICO have declared that requests for viability statements can be made under EIR regulations.
For example Campaigners for the Heygate development made an EIR request to the council asking for a copy of the viability assessment.
Southwark council rejected the request. An Information Tribunal ruled in May 2014 that the viability assessment (minus 3 of its 22 appendices should be disclosed).
The Tribunal victory is significant because it ruled that viability assessments should be classified as environmental information under the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) rather than FOI.
Following similar decisions concerning requests for viability information from campaigners in Earls Court & Greenwich Peninsula, the Information Commissioner now appears to have taken a position on the need for disclosure of viability information in planning decisions.
A similar request to obtain details of a viability study on the Heygate development has been reviewed by tribunal where it was decided that such information can be released . Please see http://35percent.org/heygate-foi-eir-tribunal/
The Heygate judgement can be seen at http://www.informationtribunal.gov.uk/DBFiles/Decision/i1279/London%20Borough%20of%20Southwark%20EA.2013.0162%20(09.05.14).pdf
A similar request to obtain details of a viability study on the Knight Dragon development has been reviewed where it was decided that such information can be released. Please see http://www.localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=21664:tribunal-tells-council-to-disclose-redactions-from-housing-viability-assessment&catid=1:latest-stories
The Knight Dragon judgement can be seen at https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-taken/decision-notices/2014/977128/fer_0524770.pdf
Please take this as a formal request under EIR regulations.
Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding.
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:
1. Transparency and accountability
Factors against disclosure:
1. The viability includes cost/m2, excluding abnormal items, for dwellings that was based on The Park Lane Groups own construction costs that were arrived at from historic internal cost information that is specific to The Park Lane Group rather than generic m2 rates taken from BCIS data.
2. The viability included detailed costs for a number of site specific abnormal items. These abnormal items were presented in the form of detailed measures and Bills Of Quantities that were costed using Park Lane Groups own historic rates that they have from previous projects and such rates have been secured through their supply chain of sub-contractors and material suppliers on previous developments/sites.
3. As part of the post submission discussions with the Council and their appointed consultant The Park Lane Group provided detailed breakdowns of the costs in relation to their Professional Fees and more importantly their Sales costs.
4. Should the viability be made available to our competitors, then that information would cause The Park Lane Group harm when tendering/bidding for future sites. Our competitors would have an unfair advantage in forming an opinion on how The Park Lane Group would look to bid on future development sites and consequently this would have a harmful effect on the future business of The Park Lane Group.
For the reasons given above Hastings Borough Council will therefore not be disclosing the information requested.
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