FOI request (FOIR-109424145)
Bathing pool site
Requested Thu 14 March 2019
Responded Mon 08 April 2019
I would like to make a Freedom of Information request in relation to the 'Heads of Terms' between HBC and the developer for the site known as the old bathing pool on Seaside Road, St. Leonards.
This document will contain information that will help satisfy residents of the area that appropriate measures are in place to properly control the development, assuming planning permission is granted. If these Heads of Terms are agreed residents will be directly and significantly impacted by the project for the following five years. Impact will include transport, access, noise and pollution, this list is not exhaustive.
While I recognise there may be some confidentiality issues, I cannot see why HBC would not agree to sharing a redacted version of the document in the public interest.
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.
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