Disclosing information on pre-application discussions
Although the council does not automatically publicise the details of pre-application discussions with potential developers, under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 we may receive from time to time a request from a member of the public to provide information regarding enquiries for pre-application advice and of any advice given. Subject to certain exemptions, we are obliged to provide this information, although personal data is protected from disclosure under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The exemptions relate to commercially sensitive and confidential information. It is therefore important that you bring to the Council's attention at the outset in writing any information which you consider may, if disclosed, prejudice your commercial interests or which you consider would breach confidentiality. You should also set out the reasons why and for what period you consider the information falls into these categories. It is then for the Council to decide whether it believes the information falls into these exempt categories, if a Freedom of Information request is subsequently received.
We may also treat as exempt from disclosure information which, if disclosed, may prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs. This can be particularly relevant at the outset of major applications where a lot of exploratory discussion takes place. If the disclosure of this exploratory information was likely to prejudice the process of leading to a proper determination of the subsequent planning application, then it may not be disclosable.
Apart from these exemptions any other recorded information resulting from these pre-application discussions is very likely to be disclosable.