Freedom of Information Act
From 1 January 2005, under the Freedom of Information Act, the Council may receive a request to provide information regarding enquiries for pre-application advice and of any advice given. Sections 41 & 43 of the Act exempts information whose disclosure could result in substantial financial loss, or be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of any person.
When submitting a pre-application enquiry which you believe to be confidential, please supply a covering letter that sets out the reasons why, and for what period, any information in regard to the enquiry needs to remain confidential. In doing so, this Authority may accept the justification for confidentiality, and will make every effort in so far as the Act allows, to ensure that the information is 'inaccessible' in the sense of not being in the public domain, or a matter of public knowledge. However, the passage of time may mean that the information is no longer sufficiently sensitive to be considered 'confidential'.
The decision as to whether or not to release information lies with the Local Authority. The Authority must therefore carefully consider claims for exemption, as a third party may challenge a decision, which could result in costs being awarded.