Why did the First-tier Tribunal (information rights) take over 2 years to decide on a permission to appeal request?

Why did the First-tier Tribunal (information rights) take over 2 years to decide on a permission to appeal request?

Why did the First-tier Tribunal (information rights) take over 2 years to decide on a permission to appeal request?

                                     

Liverpool Civil & Family Court, Vernon Street, Liverpool, L2 2BX (the venue for First-Tier Tribunal case EA/2016/0033)
Liverpool Civil & Family Court, Vernon Street, Liverpool, L2 2BX (the venue for First-Tier Tribunal case EA/2016/0054)

This recent judicial decision has a bit of a backstory to it by way of explanation.
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ICO require Wirral Council to release 94 page draft agreement with Nicklaus Joint Venture Group Limited about Hoylake Golf Resort

ICO require Wirral Council to release 94 page draft agreement with Nicklaus Joint Venture Group Limited about Hoylake Golf Resort

ICO require Wirral Council to release 94 page draft agreement with Nicklaus Joint Venture Group Limited about Hoylake Golf Resort

                               

ICO (Information Commissioner's Office) logo
ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) logo

Updated 27.2.18 with an amendment to paragraph 3 of the decision notice following First-tier Tribunal (information rights) case EA/2017/0191.

Edited 10.8.17 by JB to include text of decision notice below images of pages

ICO have required Wirral Council to disclose 94 pages of a draft development agreement between itself and the Nicklaus Joint Venture Group Limited in respect of the proposed golf course, hotel and residential property in Hoylake. This project is known as the Hoylake Golf Resort and the proposed development involves the sale of and leasing of Wirral Council owned land to the developer.

Wirral Council have 35 calendar days (from the 7th August 2017) to provide the information or alternatively they can appeal ICO’s decision to the First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights) within 28 days.

ICO ruled that a further 29 pages of legal advice that Wirral Council received from Pinsent Masons about the Hoylake Golf Resort project did not need to be disclosed.

You can read the full 14 page decision notice (FER0672223) below.

FER0672223 Hoylake Golf Resort (Wirral Council) Page 1 of 14
FER0672223 Hoylake Golf Resort (Wirral Council) Page 1 of 14

Reference: FER0672223

Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR)

Decision notice

Date: 7 August 2017
   
Public Authority: Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council
Address: Town Hall
Brighton Street
Wallasey
Merseyside
CH44 8ED
   
Complainant: John Brace
Address: Jenmaleo
Jenmaleo
134 Boundary Road
Bidston
CH43 7PH
   

Decision (including any steps ordered)


  1. The complainant has requested information relating to the Hoylake Golf Resort Project. Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council withheld the information under the exceptions for the course of justice (regulation 12(5)(b)) and commercial confidentiality (regulation 12(5)(e)).
  2. The Commissioner’s decision is that Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council has correctly applied regulation 12(5)(b) to withhold some of the requested information but failed to demonstrate that regulation 12(5)(e) is engaged.
  3. The Commissioner requires the public authority to take the following steps to ensure compliance with the legislation.

    ● Disclose pages 43-146 of the Private Document Pack.

    The Tribunal requires Wirral Metropolitan Council to take the following steps to ensure compliance with the legislation –

    Disclose the Amended Annotated Development Agreement at pages 256 – 351 of the Closed Bundle prepared for the appeal hearing, save the passages annotated in green and any marginal green notes, which may be withheld. The Commissioner’s order at paragraph 2 of the Decision Notice stands.

  4. The public authority must take these steps within 35 calendar days of the date of this decision notice. Failure to comply may result in the Commissioner making written certification of this fact to the High Court pursuant to section 54 of the Act and may be dealt with as a contempt of court.

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Why weren't Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service "open and transparent" about the estimated £0.5 million they could receive from the sale of Upton and West Kirby fire stations?

Why weren’t Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service “open and transparent” about the estimated £0.5 million they could receive from the sale of Upton and West Kirby fire stations?

Why weren’t Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service “open and transparent” about the estimated £0.5 million they could receive from the sale of Upton and West Kirby fire stations?

                                                                   

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority 30th June 2015 L to R Kieran Timmins (Deputy Chief Executive), Phil Garrigan (Deputy Chief Fire Officer), Dan Stephens (Chief Fire Officer), Cllr Byrom (Vice-Chair), Janet Henshaw (Monitoring Officer)
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority 30th June 2015 L to R Kieran Timmins (Deputy Chief Executive), Phil Garrigan (Deputy Chief Fire Officer), Dan Stephens (Chief Fire Officer), Cllr Byrom (Vice-Chair), Janet Henshaw (Monitoring Officer)

So surprised was Cllr Byrom (above) by heckling that he forgot to propose a resolution keeping details out of the public domain about how much they’d receive for Upton and West Kirby fire stations if they sold them.

On the 14th June 2015 I made a Freedom of Information Act request to the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service for two unpublished reports to the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority on “the costs of any new build station, together with an estimate of the potential income from the sale of the buildings and land at Upton and West Kirby.” You can read my original request on the whatdotheyknow website.

On the 15th June 2015 I received