Information Commissioner v Exeter City Council re business case adjourned

This case has direct ramifications for Exmouth regeneration and Knowle relocation.

“… The lengthy hearing, held independently of the government at Exeter Magistrates’ Court from 10am, was attended by members of the public, city councillor’s and members of the council. It continued into the afternoon with closed sessions which discussed the information in question.

The Information Tribunal was adjourned pending further information to an, as yet, unspecified date after the Judge heard in-part from both sides.

The appellant, Exeter City Council, is battling against the Information Commissioner’s decision that it should publish the details for the business case for the £27 million leisure complex development on the site of the current Bus and Coach Station.

Joined Party, Exeter resident Peter Cleasby, had submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the details last year, so it could be open to wider scrutiny before contracts were signed. The Council refused on grounds of commercial confidentiality, and Mr Cleasby complained about its refusal to the Information Commissioner.

The Commissioner ordered key information in the business case to be made public, but the council appealed against the Commissioner’s decision. Peter Cleasby added: “Wider scrutiny and challenge of the business case assumptions is vital.”

Before the hearing, a city council spokesman said: “The Council will make its case before the Tribunal. It would be inappropriate to comment further ahead of the hearing.” The council say they are unlikely to comment until a decision is made in the coming weeks.

The development of St Sidwell’s Point has been put on hold because the council has not appointed a contractor. An Extraordinary Meeting of the Council, to direct questions about the delay, will be held at Exeter Guildhall at 6pm on Tuesday. March 21 – after being called in by political opposition.”

http://www.devonlive.com/tribunal-over-exeter-st-sidwell-s-point-information-request-adjourned/story-30200639-detail/story.html

One thought on “Information Commissioner v Exeter City Council re business case adjourned

  1. Here we go, here we go, here we go…

    “The Information Tribunal was adjourned pending further information to an, as yet, unspecified date after the Judge heard in-part from both sides.”

    This is exactly what happened with EDDC’s appeal against the ICO regarding the Knowle, when the Tribunal demanded more information and the council prevaricated and submitted illegible documentation in an apparent (and successful) attempt to delay disclosing the information until after the decision had been made and the information was too late to be of any use to campaigners. In the Tribunal’s eventually ruling they blasted EDDC for being obstructive.

    Have Exeter City Council taken a leaf out of the EDDC leadership’s book of dodgy tactics? Will we see similar prevarication?

    Like

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