Plaid Cymru has accused Caerphilly Council of a “cover-up” over its failure to release crucial information about a controversial housing development at Virginia Park.
A Freedom of Information was submitted in September 2021 and despite numerous promises, the authority has repeatedly failed to provide the information requested.
Plaid Cymru first contacted the council after no response was made by October 11th, 2021 – the 20 working day deadline under the Freedom of Information Act.
Caerphilly Mayor Councillor Mike Prew said: “The proposed development at Virginia Park caused huge concern and controversy in the local community and we sought through the Freedom of Information Act to seek crucial further details related to the planning application.
“Sadly, since the authority was asked why the information had not been supplied under the FoI, all we have been met with is delay and prevarication. That is not acceptable from a public body.
“The authority came back on November 17th, 2021 and said some of the information we asked for may be exempt from disclosure and the matter was being considered by an Exemption Panel. Two months on from that – nothing.”
Oppose Virginia Park Development campaigner Steve Mears, who is standing in the Morgan Jones ward at May’s council election, said: “The delay has all the hallmarks of a cover-up. What is Caerphilly Council trying to hide?
“Labour allowed the plans for development at Virginia Park to be passed and is now trying to stop scrutiny by not supplying information requested. It’s shocking and a public disgrace.”
The original FoI request made in September 2021 asked for the following:
After the original planning application was turned down because of the absence of any affording housing, please provide details of all correspondence between the developer and Caerphilly Council’s planning department?
Please provide details of the Section 106 agreement between the council and the developer as it relates to Virginia Park.
Did the developer make any offer/ or did the council request a financial contribution towards the costs of the Corbett’s roundabout revamp as part of the Virginia Park application? If so, what was the offer or if the council made a request what was it?”