Bristol City Council v Information Commissioner and Portland & Brunswick Square Association

1 June 2010

This is an important decision of the Information Tribunal for all planning authorities required to decide under the Environmental Information Regulations whether to make public sensitive commercial information in viability appraisals.

The Information Tribunal decided that a viability report disclosed in confidence to Bristol City Council was provided to protect a legitimate interest, but since the report was necessary to enable the Council to decide whether retention of a building in a Conservation Area was viable, the public interest in disclosure outweighed the interest in maintaining confidentiality. The Tribunal made clear however that this does not mean that planning authorities must disclose all commercially sensitive information provided in confidence by a developer.