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Freedom of Information (FOI) Act Request 7th May 2021 - Summary

1. GL Hearn Plans for Development at / around Alexandra Gardens

In 2017 the Conservative Council commissioned planning consultants GL Hearn (part of the Capita Group) to produce plans for development at Alexandra Gardens. Gl Hearn had previously been commissioned by the Conservatives to produce plans for Maidenhead Town Centre. The plans produced have remained secret ever since, despite the Conservative Council press release their initial decision to commission the plans.

We asked for copies of these plans.

The council's response to this request didn't provide the plans, but equally they failed to refuse to provide the plans. We appealed this decision and demanded the council either provides these plans or issues a proper Freedom of Information Act Refusal notice.

Given that the FOI response said that the plans are not going to be used, the council can no longer claim the plans concerned are commercially confidential.

2. Development at Alexandra Gardens Coach Park, Alexandra Gardens Car Park and Baths Island.

Despite announcing plans for these areas at Maidenhead Town Forum, the Conservative Council claims there are no documents. We consider this response is dishonest. These plans were discussed at Cabinet in February 2020. They appeared in the Cabinet Agenda for the Secret Part 2 section of the meeting. How are the public to hold their council to account when it keeps secrets from them and tells lies about the secrets it is keeping?

3. When planning for development in and around Alexandra Gardens, Alexandra Gardens Coach Park, Alexandra Gardens Car Park and Baths Island began.

The council don't know when it started planning decvlopment of these areas. The response relating to Baths Island repeats the lies that the council didn't consider development at Baths Island.

Freedom of Information (FOI) Act Request 7th May 2021 - Council's Full Response

Due to changing websites / web addresses on line content can disappear, consequently we replicate the content of many items on our website. Download the original pdf response here.

07 May 2021


Dear Requester,


I am writing to respond to your request for information dated 1 April 2021, reference ER75969.

Your request has been dealt with under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

Please find your questions and our answers as follows:


Request to:


1. Have copies of plans and reports prepared for RBWM regarding Alexandra Gardens by GL Hearn as referenced here Planning consultants given 'blank page' to plan potential Windsor riverside development - Photo 1 of 1 - Windsor Express


2. To have copies of all plans and documents existent relating to council plans to develop at Alexandra Gardens Coach Park, Alexandra Gardens Car Park and Baths Island


3. To know when the council first started to consider development in and around Alexandra Gardens, Alexandra Gardens Coach Park, Alexandra Gardens Car Park and Baths Island.

Response


1. No formal plans or reports were finalised as part of this initial stakeholder consultation. The suggestion put forward by the independent consultants were considered not appropriate. Their appointment was then terminated, and the project to review this area was put on hold.


2. The council does not have any plans or documents for this area, or formal proposals. The Council has identified the area, as an area needing some public realm improvements, and will seek consultation on this when appropriate. Covid 19 has pushed this consultation process back.


3. There are no proposals of development in Alexandra Gardens. Development at Baths Island, if any, was limited to improving the visitor facilities. We hold no information on when the Authority may have first considered any such work.


This concludes our response to your request.


If you would like to request a review of the information we have provided in response to your request please contact us within 40 working days of the date of this letter using the contact details below:


(Personal Details redacted by Windsor Liberal Democrats)
Electoral & Information Governance Services Manager
Acting Data Protection Officer
Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead
Town Hall, St Ives Road
Maidenhead
SL6 1RF
or send an e-mail to foi@rbwm.gov.uk

If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request or complaint, you have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at:
The Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House,
Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF
Telephone: 0303 123 1113
Website: http://www.ico.org.uk/complaints/handling/complain

There is no charge for making an appeal.

Yours faithfully,
(Personal Details redacted by Windsor Liberal Democrats)
Information Governance & Elections Officer

Appeal

We appealed this FOI in particular we asked:

Point 1

We asked to have copies of the documents prepared by GL Hearn and this response does not provide those documents, but at the same time it does not refuse to provide the documents.

This is an inadequate response. If a public authority refuses to provide information it must give legally valid reasons for refusing to provide the information, citing the legal exemption being applied.

If as you say these documents are not to be used, then they can no longer be claimed to be commercially sensitive. Consequently we request a proper response.

Point 3

The fact that RBWM has no record of when it started work considering development at these sites points to yet more failings if governance.

We would like to make these further requests:

  • To know which individual (s) and departments prepared this FOI response.

  • To know the earliest document the council holds relating to the current consideration of development at these sites.

  • To know if any elected members were involved in the preparation of this FOI response and if so their identities.