Concerns Raised Over Watermans' Future

Council refuse to make full disclosure to Freedom of Information request

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Concerns have been once again raised about the long term future of Watermans after Hounslow Council refused to make a full disclosure after a Freedom of Information request by a local resident.

Nigel Moore wanted details of all correspondence about the centre between Councillors, Council Officers and developers. After some delay Hounslow Council refused to release all the correspondence saying that some of it was commercially sensitive.

Just prior to the refusal Watermans and Hounslow Council issued a joint statement saying that Watermans had no 'firm' plans to leave the site but that the centre had outgrown its current site.

The statement continued, “Clearly, if other potential locations emerge which would enable Watermans to grow and offer even better cultural events and activities for residents, that is something which should be considered. Watermans and the council will look at potential options as and when they emerge and assess them on their merits.”

Nigel Moore had issued a Freedom of Information request to Hounslow Borough Council for minutes of meetings with Ballymore discussing Watermans as "The property developer Ballymore has stated public ally that the Council has expressed its intent to them, to move the Watermans Centre out of Brentford."

The Council have said that there are no such minutes and that emails between various councillors and council officers do exist but are not going to be disclosed due to commercial sensitivity. You can read the full statement of What do they know site.

Nigel commented on this: "The statement that there are no minutes of any meetings with Ballymore regarding relocation of Watermans does not equate to a statement affirming no such meetings took place. It simply means that the meetings were unminuted.

"My request specifically suggested that any commercially sensitive material could be redacted; the only sensitive aspect about the emails’ remaining content would therefore be confined to the identity of the non-council parties involved.

"In combination, the information withheld [and the reasons for withholding], as much as the information vouchsafed, tends to fully justify the initial concerns."

March 30, 2012