Rotherham Council apologises for plans meeting data error

ROTHERHAM Council apologised after a data breach caused a delay in making a decision on proposals for 217 properties.

RMBC’s planning board had been set to debate and vote on Ernest V Waddington’s application for a housing estate at Sheep Cote Road, Broom, last Thursday.

But a clerical error meant that all of the letters notifying the public who were set to speak at the meeting went to one address.

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Planning board chairman Cllr Alan Atkin said: “This is obviously a breach of data and we have referred ourselves to the data commissioners.”

Members of the public should be given five working days’ notice before the application they wish to speak on goes before the board.

Cllr Atkin said the relevant people had been informed a day later, but Whiston Residents Action Group pointed out that Friday lunchtime only gave them 3.5 days - and two members would be unavailable to attend.

Board member Cllr David Fisher proposed deferring the application until the next meeting, in August, and councillors voted in favour of this idea by eight to four.

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And members also voted to have a visit to the site on the day of the meeting before making their decision.

Simon Moss, RMBC assistant director for planning, said after: “We can confirm there was a data breach which occurred as a result of an error when sending letters to people who had requested the right to speak at the planning board.

“The only information shared were names and addresses of those who had requested a right to speak and the information was not published, it was shared in email format with other objectors, the agent for the planning application and MP Alexander Stafford.

“The breach was reported immediately to the council’s information governance unit who are investigating further. We have apologised to those involved and they have been made aware of this matter.

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“We have refreshed our training and the staff involved have been briefed to prevent this reoccurring in the future.”

The proposed housing is “part two” of a major development which saw plans for 450 homes south of Lathe Road passed by RMBC in 2020, despite more than 300 objections.