Council to resubmit response to Peterborough Telegraph FOI on St Michael's Gate deal after admitting mistake

Peterborough City Council will resubmit its response to a Peterborough Telegraph Freedom of Information request over its St Michael's Gate deal after admitting a mistake was made.

Friday, 18th November 2016, 4:21 pm
Updated Monday, 21st November 2016, 1:27 pm
Tony Roberts with residents at St Michael's Gate and neighbours EMN-161113-172505009

The PT submitted its request on October 13, asking for “all correspondence between council employees and councillors with people from, or representing, Stef and Philips and the Paul Simon Group (including Paul Simon Magic Homes), in the last two years.”

Details of meetings were also requested.

However, the council referred the PT to an earlier FOI request, which was different, which asked for correspondence between named council officers and Stef & Philips.

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After the PT challenged the council over its response to our FOI, it agreed to review it and submit a revised response.

St Michael’s Gate in Parnwell has been in the news after landlords Paul Simon Magic Homes decided to evict tenants from 74 properties on the estate.

The managing agents of the properties, Stef & Philips, then offered the council the homes to use as temporary accommodation for homeless people.

The council has now signed a deal with Stef & Philips and will pay it nearly £1 million a year over the next three years to use the properties.

The council has always insisted from the time the Peterborough Telegraph first revealed the deal back in late September that if it did not rent the properties, a London borough would move their homeless people into St Michael’s Gate instead.

A council spokesman said: “When the council receives a number of similar FOI requests there is a permitted exemption within the Freedom of Information Act 2000 whereby if a public authority has previously complied with a request for information, it is not obliged to comply with a subsequent identical or substantially similar request for information.

“The request received from the Peterborough Telegraph relating to emails on St Michael’s Gate was seen to be substantially similar to a previously received request and the Peterborough Telegraph were therefore directed to the earlier FOI response provided, which is available on the FOI disclosure log accessed via the council website.

“However, we acknowledge that the earlier FOI request related to specifically named council officers’ correspondence with Stef & Philips, while the Peterborough Telegraph request asked for email correspondence between any officer/councillor and Stef & Philips.

“The request submitted by the Peterborough Telegraph is currently under review and a revised response will be issued at the earliest opportunity.”