There has been a lot of recent commentary regarding item 7 listed in TDC’s Planning Committee meeting on Wednesday 14th December 2016 entitled ‘Change of Use Appeals – Manston Airport’ which is marked as restricted and is likely to exclude the public and press next week.
Many people have jumped to the conclusion, without any evidence, that this might be a negative turn of events regarding planning for Manston Airport.
Consequently, we asked TDC for the reasons for this and received this response from Deputy Leader Lin Fairbrass:
“It is because it contains legal advice under legal professional privilege, and relates to the financial affairs of the Council, so the public interest test within the exclusion of press and public report states:
Agenda item 7 is restricted as the information contained within it is exempt under paragraphs 3 and 5 of Part 1 to Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).
Whilst the Council will always try to keep exempt information to a minimum, in this case disclosure of the information contained within the report would certainly prejudice the Council’s case and increase the risk of costs being awarded against the Council in respect of the planning appeal to which the information relates.”
Cllr Fairbrass explained that it was a decision made by officers on behalf of TDC and not Councillors.
The TDC website explains paragraphs 3 and 5 of the Local Government Act 1972 as;-
Paragraph 3 – Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)
Paragraph 5 – Information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege could be maintained in legal proceedings.
The SuMA Committee remain committed to working with all Councillors who actively support the airport. We will also continue to avoid starting and being involved with unproven accusations that themselves could threaten our campaign.
We understand the occasional need for privacy for more sensitive issues and that these restrictions may not necessarily be detrimental to our campaign to restore Manston to aviation use.
We sincerely hope that, by working together, we will achieve that goal.