Criticism of planning details hidden from the public 'because of GDPR'

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Criticism of planning details hidden from the public 'because of GDPR'

Postby dutchman » Wed Oct 02, 2019 3:22 pm

Details are hidden from the public

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Coventry council has been criticised for a lack of transparency over its policy to hide planning applicant details from the public.

The authority enforces a blanket approach to redact the names and addresses of people and companies submitting planning application forms.

The city council said its approach is in accordance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules, although regulators the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – as well as The Planning Advisory Service (PAS) – both say it is not necessary and details can be made public.

Conservative Cllr Tim Mayer, who has called for an internal review in Coventry, said: “It is not right as we know GDPR means you do not have to redact the applicant details.

“I do not know why they are doing it.

“They seem to be saying they are doing it for GDPR reasons but that is not correct.

“We would like to see a proper investigation as to why we are doing it.

“If it is not correct then the planning authority need to share that information.

“It is not transparent and we would like to see them investigate it properly and keep all the information in so it is transparent to the public.”

The city council said “applicants details are redacted on planning applications in accordance with the GDPR”, adding it was “their opinion” that not doing so would be breach of GDPR.

A spokesman added: “In this respect the council treat its responsibilities around how it manages and processes personal data extremely seriously.

“The Planning Act only requires applicants details to be published for certificates of lawfulness, therefore there is no specific requirement for the council to publish such details on other applications.

“Without such a legal basis for processing personal data it is the council’s opinion that it would represent a breach of the GDPR to publish this information.”

However PAS guidance states that publishing personal data is “necessary for the exercise of planning functions” and GDPR “does not include a blanket approach”.

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