Friday, 5 November 2010

Our council wants to charge for all FOI requests.

The dimwits at Cheshire West and Cheshire Council want to charge for FOI requests even though they are not allowed to do so under FOI law.

My comment: If they spent less time and money on their solutions team and more time just ringing up the ICO they wouldn't have wasted time and money planning to do something they are not legally entitled to do. 

My comment: I wonder if their legal team advised them?  This wouldn't be the first time this council has wasted taxpayer's money trying to evade a legal obligation.

I wonder why they had to lie in their press release spin sheet about the true number of FOI requests they were receiving?

Read the full story from the source David Higgerson 

Thursday, 16 September 2010

At last after 9 years the roads are listed as adopted.

I noticed yesterday that all the roads on the estate are now shown as adopted on the Council on-line gazetteer. No wonder the public have no confidence in the public sector when they take over 9 years to do something that they state themselves have admitted was possible to do in 10 hours.

Now all we need to find out is
  • How they adoped a road which was completed without the necessary planning permission and has not been built to adoptable standards?
  • Why the play area and open space remain unadopted and still in the hands of the developer. A play area and open space, subject to a planning obligation, that says it should have been handed over for adoption in 2001?

Monday, 13 September 2010

Highway Risk Management

Ironic but true as the images below will prove. Chester West and Chester Council, still using the old Cheshire County Council branding, visited my LGO blog today as a result of a Google search looking for Highway Risk Management.

The link below takes you to the particular blog post they decided to read 

None standard highway design and the risks involved for a Highway Authority

What goes around comes around!

Friday, 23 July 2010

Beechfields: Still shown as unadopted!

Beechfields as shown on Cheshire West & Chester Council adopted road gazetteer 23rd July 2010
Some 5 months after putting up a statutory 30 days notice of intended adoption the road is still listed as unadopted. Even though they have previously admitted that such highways can be adopted in about 10 hours. Something still stinks in Cheshire West and Chester Council as it did with Vale Royal Borough Council, Cheshire County Council and the waste of space Local Government Ombudsman, who stated the highways in question were adopted over 2 years ago.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Beechfields: Another update

Further to my previous posts on the subject I have just identified another intriguing piece of evidence.

In response to a planning application on Beechfields the Highway Authority stated in writing on the 16th March 2009

"...Beechfields is currently unadopted but a section 228 (HA1980) Notice has been recently issued that will ensure that it becomes adopted highway in the near future...."

If that was true then why did it take until March 2010, nearly a year to place the section 228 notices they had issued prior to the 16th March 2009 at the entrance to Beechfields?

Yet in response to a Freedom of Information request regarding the adoption of Beechfields, Steve Robinson the Chief Executive of Cheshire West and Cheshire stated in July 2009 'It is not considered that there is any additional information to provide to you which is not already in your possession.'  However, he never mentioned that they had already issued a section 228 notice on Beechfields and I wasn't aware that they had. Nor did he tell me that it only takes about 10 hours of an officers time to complete the adoption of a road under a section 228 notice.

So why did Steve Robinson breach the FOI Act by not supplying information pertinent to my request, why was nothing done for over a year after they issued the section 228 notice and why has nothing happened subsequent to the expiry of the 30 day notice period?

Note: As of today Beechfields is still shown as unadopted in the Council on-line adopted road gazetteer. 9 years since the roads in question where completed to adoptable standards by the Council even though they have admitted it should only take about 10 hours to adopt after that point. Now that's what I call incompetence (or possibly something even worse?)!

I think another Freedom of Information request may be necessary in order to get to the truth.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

The Audit Commission and the Information Commissioner

The Audit Commission visited this micro-local blog about bodged roads and Cheshire West and Chester Council today, the day after the Information Commissioner informed me that my FOI complaint (FS50285682) against Cheshire West and Chester Council had reached the decision notice stage.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Beechfields: An update

On the 13th October 2009 I submitted the following Freedom of Information request.

"1) I would like a copy of the procedure/documentation necessary for Cheshire West and Chester Council to adopt a road that has no section 38 adoption agreement attached to it but has been completed to adoptable standards.

2) I would also like to know the cost of adopting such a road in such a manner."

The following is the response I received to my Freedom of Information request about the time it would take to adopt a road, such as those on Beechfield, together with the associated costs. My emphasis

"The costs of adopting such a road in such a manner in an uncontested case would usually be modest and would arise from the officer time involved in the following elements:-

. Assessing from an engineering point of view that the works were to adoptable standard.

. Surveying/measuring the area for adoption and preparing a plan and description.

. Preparing a site notice and erecting a site notice on site and subsequently removing it together with related correspondence.

. Adding the site to the statutory list of streets and the internet gazetteer of maintainable streets.

In a straightforward case, such a procedure could be completed in an estimated total of, say, 10 hours by all officers involved but would be undertaken as and when other priorities permit."

Around the end of February, beginning of March 2010, Cheshire West and Chester Council put up the 30 day statutory notices under section 228 of the Highway Act on the Beechfields development.

Section 228: Adoption of private street after execution of street works

(1) When any street works have been executed in a private street, the street works authority may, by notice displayed in a prominent position in the street, declare the street to be a highway which for the purposes of this Act is a highway maintainable at the public expense, and on the expiration of one month from the day on which the notice was first so displayed the street shall, subject to subsections (2) to (4) below, become such a highway.

Vale Royal Borough Council executed the works during 2001 and the highways to the West were adopted by them during 2005, however, they did not, as they should have done, adopt Beechfields and the associated roads at that time.

Even now some 4 months after putting up the statutory notice the roads are still shown as unadopted in the adopted road gazetteer.

Read again the process above for adopting roads similar to those on Beechfields and ask yourself what are Cheshire West and Chester Council hiding? Particularly when you also take into account that the so called public open space and play area adjacent to Beechfields are still in the hands of a developer. Please refer to the previous post.

Private Contractor still maintaining part of the Rookery Rise development

I noticed recently that a private contractor is still cutting grass on the play area, open space and highway verges which form part of the Linwood, Firtree part of the Rookery Rise development. Nearly 10 years after they were completed to adoptable standards and 5 years after the highways were supposedly adopted, why is a private contractor and not the council maintaining these parts of the development?

One of the planning obligations was that the developer would provide a public open space and a play area which would be handed over to the council, together with a sum of money! Thus enabling the construction and sale of all the dwellings on Pinetree, Firtree and Linwood. All those dwellings were sold by the developer over  9 years ago yet the public open space and play area are still in the hands of the developer. WHY?

Friday, 16 April 2010

Complaint to the Information Commissioner: An update.

Further to my earlier post Case Reference Number FS50285682

As a result of the Information Commissioners involvement in my Freedom of Information request I have now received some further information from the council. Just a pity this was not the information I wanted.

I already know why they couldn't adopt any of the roads from the Eastern end of Rookery Rise, what I want to know is why they didn't adopt any of the roads from the Western end of Rookery Rise. Something they could have done as early as 2005. And if Vale Royal had actually done their job properly as early as 2001.

What is interesting about their response is that it provides proof that have also misled others about the true position of the development and the roads.

Cheshire West and Chester Council still using VRBC branding?

Cheshire Council County Council, now Cheshire West and Chester Council have visited my blog on numerous occasions, full details in the side bar on the right. However, this is the first time they have used the old Vale Royal Borough Council branding when visiting my blog. Interesting!

Monday, 8 March 2010

Rookery Rise adopted at last?

The council have recently put signs up informing people that they are about to adopt the last part of Rookery Rise which is still unadopted.

Which is rather odd when you bear in mind that Vale Royal Borough Council promised the Local Government Ombudsman that the road would be adopted 12 years ago. The Ombudsman's investigation in 1997/8  was as a result of the council's failure to stop the developer building and selling all the houses on the estate before the roads were either completed or subject to an adoption agreement. Something similar applies to the play area and open space which are, to date, still in the hands of one of the developers 9 years after all the houses on the estate had been completed and sold.

Curiously, I was told by the Local Government Ombudsman's office in 2008 that the part of Rookery Rise which the council are just about to adopt was already adopted. Did the council lie to the Ombudsman or did the Ombudsman's investigator lie to me? Time will tell.

I wonder when they will adopt the open space and play area which were supposed to be adopted before some of the houses on Linwood were occupied? Houses that have been occupied for the last 9 years in breach of planning consent and a section 106 agreement.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

No time to adopt the road but time to visit my blog at least 67 times?

Since I started this blog Cheshire County Council, now Cheshire West and Cheshter Council, have visited my blog on at least 67 occasions. And that excludes a number of visits when they used a proxy. Funny how they have time to waste reading my blog but can't find the time to adopt Beechfields which by their own admission could have been adopted in 2005 at the cost of about 10 hours work for a council officer. Full details of all their known visits in the side bar on the right. Just scroll down to view.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Case Reference Number FS50285682

The information commissioner has now accepted my complaint against the council.

All Cheshire West and Chester Council have provided so far is a reason why the roads on Beechields could not have been adopted from the east side of the development or how they have been too busy since April 2009 with reorganisation to adopt the roads in question.

However, they failed to provide information as to why the roads in question were not adopted from the west of the development between 2005 and April 2009.

Will the ICO be able to help me secure the information I require and have a right to?