Unoccupied buildings owned by the council

Please provide an itemised list of non-residential buildings owned by the council that were unoccupied for one month or longer between 1 Jan 2016 and 31 December 2017.  

The address of the building 

The Council does hold this information however, we are unable to release a list of our current vacant properties as this would enable them to be identified. We believe that if this information were disclosed this would be likely to have the effect of exposing those properties to a greater risk of being subject to crimes such as vandalism and squatting. Therefore, we consider this information is exempt under Section 31(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act (prejudice the prevention or detection of crime).  

Devon County Council’s position on this matter has been supported by the Courts in the case of Voyias v Information Commissioner and London Borough of Camden (EA/2011/0007). In this case the court also concluded that the London Borough of Camden were not obliged to supply details of vacant properties, as the information was exempt under Section 31(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 

Devon County Council recognises that there is a public interest in openness and transparency. However, the council believes that there is a strong public interest in avoiding circumstances which might lead to Council owned properties being exposed to a greater risk of being subjected to crime. We also feel that there is a strong public interest in protecting properties and therefore avoiding the considerable public expense that would be incurred dealing with crime associated with our empty properties. For these reasons the Council considers that the balance of public interest weighs in favour of withholding this information from disclosure. 

The dates during which the building was unoccupied 

01/01/2016 – 31/12/2017 –  Devon County Council (DCC) had 40 different Non-residential buildings unoccupied for greater than one month.  

The cost of insuring the building and its contents during the period it was unoccupied. If this is not possible, please provide an annual amount. 

Devon County Council holds a ‘blanket’ insurance policy covering all our buildings and as such it is not possible to identify the costs per unoccupied building.  

The cost of providing security for the building during the period it was unoccupied. If this is not possible, please provide an annual amount. 

During this 2-year period DCC have spent £7,935 on maintenance and £136,526 on security services.  

Any other maintenance costs during the period it was unoccupied. If this is not possible, please provide an annual amount. 

Refer to previous response 

The cost of any renovation works undertaken 

DCC did not undertake any renovation works on these buildings, therefore this information is not held. 

The dates any such renovation work was undertaken 

Not applicable