Hastings council appeals against ICO decision to release Rocklands report

Rocklands. Photo by Surface2Air Media
Rocklands. Photo by Surface2Air Media

The council has appealed against a decision by the Information Commissioner (ICO) to order the authority to release information to a campaign group regarding development at a caravan park.

Last November, Save Ecclesbourne Glen (SEG) said it had ‘consistently’ been denied data by Hastings Borough Council (HBC), requested under Freedom of Information (FOI) and Environmental Information Regulations (EIR).

Chris Hurrell, on behalf of SEG, said the information requested concerned the Rocklands caravan site, developments there, drainage and sewage issues, geotechnical reports and other matters.

A complaint by SEG to the ICO resulted in the latter upholding the group’s complaint.

The ICO ruled the council was at fault and information withheld must be released. But since then HBC has appealed against the decision.

Chris said: “We were surprised to learn from the ICO that HBC has appealed the decision without having the courtesy to inform us. We have already waited two years to get a copy of this report and the appeal process is likely to take months. This report was commissioned by HBC back in December 2014 using public money. SEG contributed information to the authors of the report and was promised a copy. HBC reneged on this promise and refused to allow the report into the public domain. The report is a vital source of understanding the causes of the landslip and the potential means of stabilising it and getting the glen reopened.”

Kevin Boorman, council spokesman, said: “The council believes there are a number of grounds on which to appeal the ICO decision, including commercial confidentiality. And disclosure of the report could compromise either of the parties’ position in the forthcoming caravan site licence appeal. We do not know how long the appeal process will take.”

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