18 July 2017 – 0283.2017-18 – Exit from Newby Wiske Hall
1. What action does North Yorkshire Police intend to take to restore the exterior of the Hall and associated buildings to a state commensurate with a Grade 2 listed building? This to specifically include information on the proposed removal of any and all aerials, microwave and other dishes and other telecommunications equipment.
2. Please provide information of where the memorial stones which used to be sited in the Memorial Garden at the front of Newby Wiske Hall have been removed to and whether to public still have access to view the memorial stones in their new location.
3. In a letter to residents of Newby Wiske dated 15 March 2017 Ms Mulligan stated “We had quite a few offers on the hall and after careful consideration have chosen a buyer who will work sympathetically with the building, have minimal impact on the environment and I believe, be a good neighbour.” In respect of this statement how many offers were received and how many of these were formal offers and how many informal?
4. In financial terms what was the spread of offers made including the lowest and highest offers?
5. Ms Mulligan’s statement indicates a choice being exercised by way of ‘careful consideration’ on who should be allowed to purchase the Hall and grounds. Who was involved in this decision making process?
6. Were criteria set against which to judge the various offers and if so what criteria were used?
7. Was the offer by PGL Ltd the highest offer and if not what criteria were set to ensure that best value for money was achieved?
8. Ms Mulligan’s letter indicates that PGL Ltd have been chosen as the buyer on the grounds that it “will work sympathetically with the building, have minimal impact on the environment…” What objective criteria were set in order to make this judgement and what conditions will attach to the sale to ensure that the statement is achieved?
9. What factors were taken into account in the decision to sell to PGL Ltd rather than any of the other bidders?
10. In respect of the continuous public right of way established around the perimeter of the grounds of the estate for how many years has this right of way existed? In respect of any permissive right of way please give details of any dates on which the public have been denied access to the path around the perimeter of the grounds.
11. Please provide copies of any notes or other documentation (including information from deeds, conveyances etc.) in your possession or that of North Yorkshire Police which relates to public rights of way (permissive or otherwise) around the grounds of Newby Wiske Hall including access to the area known as Middlebrough Plantation.
12. Please provide Copies of any documentary references or correspondence in your possession or in the possession of North Yorkshire Police in respect of the establishment of Middlebrough Plantation as a listed non-statutory Nature Conservation Site
Extent and Result of Searches to Locate Information
To locate the information relevant to your request searches were conducted within North Yorkshire Police.
I can confirm that some of the information you have requested is held by North Yorkshire Police.
I have today decided to disclose the located information to you.
Newby Wiske Hall has been the North Yorkshire Police (NYP) headquarters for around 40 years, but costs over £1m per annum to maintain and run the facility, and alongside various supply and access issues, is no longer a suitable location for the headquarters of a modern police service. With that in mind, Alverton Court was purchased, and the police service is moving to its new home throughout the summer of 2017. In disposing of the Newby Wiske site, it was important to find a buyer who would be suitable, but it was also incumbent to achieve best value for money for the public purse. Processes were implemented to ensure that balance was struck, and which are expanded upon in the answers to your questions below.
1. NYP do not have any plans to undertake any external works on the Grade 2 listed building prior to its disposal. NYP owned communications equipment that is required to be removed will be removed.
2. The memorial stones have been relocated to North Yorkshire Polices New HQ, Alverton Court in a new Memorial garden. Access will be provided to family members and relatives as and when requested.
3&4. This information is exempt under Section 43 – Commercial Interests. Please see the exemption explanation below.
5. It is ultimately the decision of the Police and Crime Commissioner, but throughout the process she was advised and guided by senior colleagues within North Yorkshire Police.
The NYP HQ17 Board, managed the disposal of the current site, acquisition of the new site and the transition between the buildings. The HQ17 Board, which includes representation from the departments below, recommended to the Commissioner that she progress the bid from PGL.
Attendance at HQ17 Board:
• Corporate Communications
• Operational Policing
• Human Resources
• Digital Information Systems
• Business Admin Services
• Information management
• Organisational Development
6. Bids were assessed against two main criteria:
a. Is the Expression of interest/bid viable in terms of feasibility / meeting planning requirements and also compatible with the local community.
b. Value of the bid
The final decision was made when considering both criteria together against the bids received, with the best overall bid being successful. It was understood the local community would be able to put their views forward through the planning process as normal.
7. This information is exempt under Section 43 – Commercial Interests. Please see the exemption explanation below.
8. Please see question 6.
9. Please see question 6.
10. There is no formal public right of way around the perimeter of the site. NYP do not hold any records of when we have stopped or denied access around the perimeter.
11. No information held relating to any public rights of way around the grounds of Newby Wiske Hall
12. No information held.
Explanation of Exemptions
Section 17 of the Act requires North Yorkshire Police, when refusing to provide such information (because the information is exempt) to provide you the applicant with a notice which: (a) states that fact, (b) specifies the exemption in question and (c) states (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption applies.
Section 43(2) – Commercial Interests
This is a qualified, class based exemption, which requires that I conduct a public interest test to balance the legitimate interests of the public in knowing the information against the interests of non-disclosure.
This exemption applies because disclosing the information you have requested would, or would be likely to, prejudice commercial interests.
Public Interest Test
Factors Favouring Disclosure
There is a strong public interest in understanding the offers made and value of those offers in relation to the purchase of North Yorkshire Police’s headquarters at Newby Wiske. It is also public knowledge that a buyer has been announced and the contractual process has begun.
Factors Favouring Non-Disclosure
To manage the sale process successfully, the offer that has been accepted is commercially sensitive until such time as the process is finalised. Releasing information before the contract is finalised would cause damage to the ongoing commercial process.
The disclosure of commercially sensitive information would prejudice the commercial interests of those persons involved in the sales process and may cause damage to both North Yorkshire Police’s business confidence and reputation. There is a strong public interest against disclosure where that disclosure would be likely to prejudice the Force’s own commercial interests. In addition, the release of the information would be likely to adversely affect the bargaining position of North Yorkshire Police during future contractual negotiations relating to current and future contracts which would result in less effective use of public money.
Pursuant to Section 17 of the Act this letter acts as a Refusal Notice in response to your request.
Please note that systems used for recording information are not generic, nor are the procedures used locally in capturing the data. It should be noted therefore that this force’s response to your questions should not be used for comparison purposes with any other responses you may receive.