Publication - FOI/EIR release

Culchunaig Farmhouse planning application: EIR release

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004

Published:
22 Mar 2021
Culchunaig Farmhouse planning application: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/202000114543
Date received: 17 Nov 2020
Date responded: 16 Dec 2020
Information requested

Information regarding planning application 18/04194/FUL - Culchunaig Farmhouse, Westhill Inverness, you also asked specific questions regarding the handling of the same case.

1. Please inform me of the name of the signatory of the decision letter of 17 November in relation to the above aqpplication and an organogram showing his/her position within the Directorate for Local Government and Communities – Planning and Architecture – Planning Decisions.

2. Was a Minister (or Ministers) consulted in connection with the above decision? If so who?

3. Please send me copies of ALL correspondence (however informal – memos, briefings, reports, notes, emails, Whatsapps, text messages, notes or records of meetings etc.) to, from and within the Directorate in connection with the above application leading up to its being called in and since it was called in. (You don’t need to send me any representations received from members of the public.)

4. You don’t need to send me any legal advice received in connection with the application but please advise me if such advice was sought. 

5. Please inform me how often Scottish Ministers have not followed the recommendations of planning reporters in both planning appeals and call ins within the last (a) 20 years; (b) 10 years; and (c) 5 years.

6. Please also inform me of the total number of appeals and call ins in the last 20/10/5 years so that the number of departures from the reporters’ recommendations can be seen in that context.

7. Please provide the case references of all departures from reporters’ recommendations in order that I might consult the relevant decisions, reports etc.

8. Please provide copies of any internal guidance, procedures or protocols (or whatever – howsoever called) on the circumstances in which planning reporters’ recommendations are departed from.

9. Please inform me who actually makes a decision to depart from (or indeed comply with) reporters’ recommendations – for example, is it the Scottish Ministers personally at a Cabinet Meeting, or the relevant Cabinet Secretary or another Minister or civil servants under delegated powers?

10. Please send me copies of any internal guidance, procedures or protocols on where (i.e. at what level of seniority) a decision to depart from reporters’ recommendations is placed with a relative organogram.

Response

As the information you have requested is 'environmental information' for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.

This exemption is subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.

A1. John McNairney, Chief Planner was the signatory on the decision letter issued - Organogram attached and also a link to wider Directorate the signatory on the decision letter issued -

https://www.gov.scot/about/how-government-is-run/directorates/local-government-and-communities/.

A2. Yes , the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning (Kevin Stewart).

A3. I have attached such documentation numbered 01-19.

A4. N/A.

A5. Data within excel spreadsheet attached.

A6. As per question 5.

A7. As per question 5.

A8. There is no specific guidance on this, every application is considered on its own merits.

A9. The Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning makes the final decision on behalf of Scottish Ministers.

A10. As per questions 2 & 8 above.

An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) applies to some the information requested because it is personal data of a third party and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exception is not subject to the 'public interest test', so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception.

Due to the size of the files we are unable to upload some of the documents referred to above. If you wish to consider, please contact us at the address below and we will be happy to provide.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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