We have recently put in a Freedom of Information request regarding the financial viability of the proposed leisure centre. This was refused for a number of reasons (which you can read in full on the link below) but we are very concerned by the council’s admission that the decision on the leisure centre will probably be made in private. And what do they mean by “thinking the unthinkable” ?
“The decision on the leisure centre will probably be made in a
meeting where the public are excluded. The decision makers need a “safe space” to consider the issues and release of the information would be detrimental to the decision making process. Secondly, the costs are only estimates at this stage and whilst the public will be informed of the likely costs of the entire project, release of detailed estimates of building the leisure centre would not advance the public understanding of
the implications and would be detrimental to the public interest as set out above.”
“Refusal under Regulation 12(5)(d). The Council refuses your request because to disclose the information would adversely affect the confidentiality of proceedings. The information will be presented to decision makers (the Cabinet of the Council) in a report at a meeting where it is expected that the public will be excluded by virtue of paragraph 3 of schedule 12A Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) as the report will contain information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person. Release of the information now would
adversely affect the confidentiality of those proceedings.”
“… the information needs to be considered confidentially as it contains commercial information, which if revealed would be detrimental to the Council’s interests. In addition the decision makers will need to discuss the development, exploring options and perhaps “thinking the unthinkable”. The proposals are opposed by some and the decision makers need the “safe space” of confidentiality to discuss the issues. In all the circumstances it is considered that the public interest in
maintaining the exception outweighs the public interest in disclosure.”