Hastings council criticised by Information Commissioner

Rocklands Private Caravan Park. 
Photo by Surface2Air Media
Rocklands Private Caravan Park. Photo by Surface2Air Media

The council has been rapped for refusing to release information to a campaign group relating to development at a caravan park.

Save Ecclesbourne Glen (SEG) said it had ‘consistently’ been denied data by the authority, requested under Freedom of Information (FOI) and Environmental Information Regulations (EIR).

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

“The reason for requesting the information was to establish a clear understanding of the relationship between the works at Rocklands and the landslip which has devastated and closed Ecclesbourne Glen.

“The council has refused most requests on the grounds of ‘commercial confidentially’ or ‘in confidence’.”

A complaint by SEG to the Information Commissioner (ICO) resulted in the ICO upholding the group’s complaint.

The ICO has ruled the council was at fault and that information withheld must be released.

A council spokesman said: “This was a complex case, and we believed we acted correctly in not providing what would normally have been considered to be commercially sensitive information exempt from publication, meaning that the caravan site owners could have taken action against the council for publishing it.

“The Information Commissioner, while agreeing with the council that the information was commercially sensitive, decided it was in the public interest to publish it anyway, so we now making the information requested available to the Save Ecclesbourne Glen group.”

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