Tuesday, 5 June 2018

GDPR causes comment blackout on Brent Council Planning Portal

Several readers have contacted me pointing out that comments from residents on planning applications on the Brent Council planning portal are now longer visible.

Rather than a conspiracy to deny information to potential opponents or supporters of a application the absence is due to the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) that came into force recently.

Previously commenter's addresses but not their names were published along with their comment. Now the fear is that the comments could contain personal information about the commenter, a relative or the applicant.

Alice Lester, Head of Planning, Transportation and Licensing said it was causing quite a problem and a balance had to be struck between over-reacting or just simply complying and reducing risk. She said she would much prefer to be as transparent as possible and was watching what a few other councils do and will also monitor case law.


Alison Hopkins said...

I called Alice Lester about this and she actually phoned back, which impressed me rather. And yes, that's exactly what she told me: I cited the fraudulent Queensbury comments and she agreed that was a real issue.

Anonymous said...

Once again, GDPR is used as an excuse by an ill-informed section within the public sector. It's very simple. By commenting, the commenter is giving consent for their details to be published. In any event, there is a legitimate interest in that data being there, so GDPR doesn't stop this... confused.com!

Alison Hopkins said...

09:45 - I agree. Having spent some time wrangling GDPR over the last few weeks, I do think it's over reaction. But it isn't just Brent. For once.