Transparency for developer viability appraisals must be published

Owl says: EDDC makes it seem that THEY decided these appraisals should be made public – but government directives, fights with the Information Commissioner and case-law have meant that they really have no option on this!

6.28 There is a strong public interest in financial viability appraisals being made available for scrutiny when relied upon to secure planning permission and, for this reason, the council will make this information publicly available.

We consider that transparency is extremely important and the public benefit of publishing all aspects of a viability appraisal will generally outweigh any potential commercial harm to the applicant.

If an applicant feels that some or all of the information should be kept confidential, then it will be necessary for the applicant to show how disclosure of that information would cause specific harm (in this context this means that ‘it is more probable than not that some harm would be caused’ – it will not be sufficient to say it might cause harm) to a legitimate economic interest.

Applicants will need to identify to the Council what the economic interest is and how specific harm would be caused to it when the viability information is provided. This view will be taken into account, and balanced against the wider public interest in disclosure, when the council makes its decision about the publication of the viability appraisal.
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