Information requested relating to hospitality received from Natural Assets (Natural Retreats) to include:
Hospitality received by HIE personnel
Information and communication relating to HIE personnel attending Ryder Cup 2014
HIE's gifts and hospitality policy and any reports of hospitality received from NR
Copies of the following provided:
HIE Gifts and Hospitality policy
Guidance for staff during the period of the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup
In addition to the above, the enquirer was advised that HIE does not hold any information in relation to hospitality received from officers or personnel of N/R and HIE were not guests of N/R at the Ryder Cup but were part of the structured Team Scotland business programme.
Information on dismantling and partial removal of Aonach Pow tow from the initial proposal to consent.
Enquirer advised HIE does not hold information relating to this request. Also advise the ski-lifts and chair lifts were property of the owner until HIE purchased them as part of the transfer of ownership of shares in the operating company and grant of a new lease in 2014. As such, HIE had no locus on operational issues during the period it operated, responsibility for the remaining parts lies with the operator.
Further request following 007 2017 above for details of the Infrastructure on CM during HIE's ownership between 1/1/01 and 31/5/16.
Response confirmed that HIE owned the land (Cairngorm Estate including the area leased for ski area), the funicular railway and all the buildings on the dates mentioned but did not take ownership of the other ski infrastructure until 2014 when HIE acquired the assets still in the name of CML.
Requested copy of the lease HIE has with N/R - in particular, conditions on responsibility for the upkeep of buildings and external environment.
Copy of Land Register of Scotland - Land Certificate including a copy of the lease between HIE and CML provided and the enquirer was advised that this is a public document an as such, it widely available. The response also suggested the enquirer may wish to request a copy directly from the Land Registers of Scotland and HIE provided reference numbers and contact details.
Information on number of passengers carried on the funicular railway specifically the number of non snow sports passengers from 1/11-31/10 each year from 2002-2015
Spreadsheet detailing numbers provided by email noting HIE does not have any specific numbers on non snow sports passengers but we believe that the funicular numbers (within the speadsheet) separated from Cairngorm Skier days best reflects these figures.
Ref: 038 2017 Cairngorm FOI - 19/09/2016 - Key themes include: History
A number of points raised including:
1 - a request for a copy of the baseline ecological survey as referred to in Minute of Agreement: 27/3/97 which forms part of the lease between N/R and HIE.
2 - clarification if there is an Environmental Management Plan or whether the only document this exists is the Environmental Management System sent previously.
3 - Do HIE & N/R have agreement on how the environment of the ski area, external to the buildings, should be managed/ plans to address the detritus and blights of the past, some of which precede the lease. In addition, written information on plans for the external environment of the ski area apart from those already in the public realm through planning applications was requested.
4 - request for the baseline ecological survey referring to Minute of Agreement>27/3/97 and clarification if further surveys were conducted since the baseline study
5 - request for the most recent baseline study
1 - the following documents were provided:
Cairngorm Baseline Survey of Habitats and Footpaths 2000:
CFR project outline of 1997-98 Baseline Environmental Recording provided
CFR project outline of 1997-98 Baseline Environmental Recording - related maps
Monitoring Geomorphical Changes at the Cairn Gorm-Ben Macdui plateau
Cairngorm Baseline Habitat Survey
2 - Confirmed the EMS is the formal document.
3 - Confirmed there is no formal plan which could be shared but advised staff have regular discussions with CML about specific issues and CML prepare and execute post ski season plan for environmental repairs. Budget is agreed with HIE for path repairs but no requirement for a formal plan since 2006 due to "completion of the built-paths programme".
4 - Confirmed the baseline study was CML responsibility as the Operator under terms of the agreement and it was CML who awarded survey contract. Copies of all relevant ecological surveys which HIE has documented were provided.
5 - Enquirer advised that some topics had to be re-surveyed and HIE relies on the independent reporting officer's annual report, copies of which could be obtained from CML if required. Details of 4 topics covered in the baseline study along with a brief summary of each were listed: Soils & Geomorphology, Habitats, Species of birds and Levels and patterns of visitor use and the enquirer advised that HIE does not have copies of any of the reports.
1 - correspondence/communication with N/R re future plans for hill tracks at Cairngorm
2 - the impact of vehicles on vegetation and the way vehicles are managed
3 - use of the lift infrastructure to transport materials and equipment around the ski area
4 - other information on the need or future plans for hill tracks
Request for clarification on HIE grant to N/R for Complete Groundwork Contractors costs for Sun Kid Tow Area for £78,553 and on what this was spent as follows:
1 - was the purpose of the grant to pay for the works as per planning application for Sheiling rope tow and nothing else?
2 - was the amount of grant decided prior to work commencing and if not, what agreement with N/R reached about how the final amount would be calculated?
3 - if the amount was agreed prior to work commencing were any conditions attached to the payment?
4 - if the grant was agreed to fund works outlined in the planning application, how does HIE know N/R spent it on what it was intended for - i.e. can HIE demonstrate N/R spent its own money bulldozing the bank and creating the new hill track?
It is incorrect to infer public funds were disbursed without a contract and confirmed the works were undertaken as part of a wider package of enhancement works to HIE's uplift infrastructure assets which were included in the lease and covered within HIE's publicly tendered contractual arrangements with N/R.
Due to the challenging environment, HIE agreed it was appropriate for the tenant to manage the works to improve HIE owned assets since they are in control of the assets, they hold the H&S responsibilities across the site and have the specialist staff on site to do so.
CML were reimbursed by HIE for payments made against evidenced invoices paid by CML with HIE checking progress of the work. Within the overall project budget there were estimates for each item with the flexibility in how the works are managed but no set specific limited spend as the scale of the works was relatively small. However, works were discussed in advance and monitored carefully.
Estimate for groundworks was £83k ex vat and the final figure paid was £77,453 ex vat.
HIE requires those carrying out work it funds to observe and abide by planning regulations and regret that this did not happen in this instance. The creation of the track on the line of the old tow track was part of the work covered by planning permission and was included in the method statement. The permanence of this track was included in retrospective planning application and CML would be repaying HIE for the value of work undertaken to alter the bank without consent at a cost of £2000.
Information relating to Extend and re-siting of the new Return Facilities for the WestWall Poma Tow on Cairngorm Mountain between July 2014 and November 2016.
Enquirer provided with all direct correspondence between HIE Property and Infrastructure Manager and: all representatives of the Operator (N/R); and HC Planning Department (2 x documents provided: re-dacted Pre Application Advice form: and Email correspondence with re-dactions) and advised that HIE did not hold any correspondence between HIE Property and Infrastructure Manager and Cairngorm National Park Authority.
Documents provided Some information was with-held from the documents provided as they were considered applicable exemptions under EIR and DPA regulations.
Information on the operational agreement that NR undertook when taking over Cairngorm Mountain including the daily operational criteria that HIE set out covering staffing levels, health and safety, condition and information updates.
Schedule 3 (operating conditions, service levels) of the operating agreement between HIE and CML provided.
A copy of the masterplan and any associated plans for the proposal (e.g I imagine there must be a business plan providing evidence for the proposals)
A list of all organisations HIE has consulted on this proposed and any information relating to that consultation
Clarification whether Schedule 4 to the current lease, which was about the requirement to deliver a new day lodge as part of the lease, has been revoked and if so who took this decision or if the schedule has not been revoked, whether there are plans to do so
Responses provided against each point as follows:
HIE Board approved the CML new Master Plan on 11/4/17 however as it is commercially sensitive, it could not be published at the time
CML will be the applicant in terms of forthcoming planning applications. Both HIE & CML have been involved in prior consultation with CNPA, THC & SNH
HIE Board agreed on 11/4/17 that legal documents will be amended to accommodate the new projects
Request for information on the following 15 points:
1) The Public Contracts Scotland Notice issued on 04/03/2013, states that "the potential operator would be required to provide capital investment to support their business model". What are the details of the assessment of the capital investment of the selected operator (Natural Retreats)which would have been carried out by HIE in this regard, prior to the award of the contract?
2) The above Notice also states that "bidders will be expected to demonstrate a credible access to finance". What are the details of the assessment of the access to finance capabilities of the selected operator (Natural Retreats) which would have been carried out by HIE in this regard, prior to the award of contract?
3) HIE issued an Update in April 2014 that Natural Retreats would invest £6.2m in the resort over the next 5 years. What reviews of this proposed investment has been carried out by HIE since 2014.
4) What are the details of these reviews carried out by HIE to date?
5) What arrangements are in place by HIE to review the future planned investment by Natural Retreats?
6) What are the details of the financial investment carried out by Natural Retreats since 2014 to date?
7) What are the details of the financial investment carried out by HIE since 2014 to date and what are the details of the planned future investment?
8) What are the details of the planned investment by Natural Retreats in the period May 2017 to December 2020
9) What reviews of Natural Retreats' access to finance have been carried out by HIE since the award of contract and what are the details of these reviews?
10) What reviews have been carried out by HIE on Natural Retreats' financial position and what are the details of those reviews?
11) What Key Performance Indicators (KPI's) and/or Contract Conditions are included in the Lease Agreement between HIE and Natural Retreats with regard to: a) Investment; b) Staff Retention; c) Staff Training; d) Staffing Levels and Recruitment; e) Financial stability; f) Loans to Natural Retreats.
12) What Contract Conditions are included in the lease that refer to Termination of the Contract/Lease and what are the details of these?
13) HIE stated on their website on 4/03/13: "What we're seeking is an operator with innovative ideas and the capacity to invest..." "What are the details of the innovative ideas and the capacity to invest put forward by Natural Retreats prior to the award of contract".
14) HIE also stated on 4/03/13 that "HIE will expect the preferred operator to drive forward product, brand and capital development at the visitor attraction along with achieving a sustainable business model which will provide the best return for the region's economy".
15) Does the sale of Cairngorm Mountain Ltd to Natural Retreats come under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE)? If so, are HIE monitoring the protection of employment required under TUPE?
Detailed responses provided against each point and the following documents provided:
Copy of land certificate - title number INV33029 Visitors Attraction at Queen's Forest and Cairngorm Mountain.
Schedule Part 3 (Operating Conditions) Lease between HIE and CML.
Loan agreement with redactions as agreed by FOI exemption group.
Details of all payments of base rent by Cairngorm Mountain Ltd to HIE under its current lease with HIE since the date of entry in 2014 and, should any payments of base rent have been missed or delayed.
The dates of all payments of turnover rent which have been made by Cairngorm Mountain Ltd to HIE since the date of entry in 2014 and, should any payments of turnover rent have been missed or delayed, all information that HIE holds relating to this (including that require as per clause 5 per lease on Consequences of Late Certification.
Any information HIE holds on staffing at Cairngorm since HIE took over including numbers of staff, redundancies and recruitment, and age of staff and numbers of staff paid the Minimum Wage or National Living Wage.
Following clarification, the enquirer was advised of the following:
Base Rent payments do not come in to effect until 2019. Therefore HIE does not hold any information on payments missed or delayed.
Information withheld for reasons of confidentiality of commercial or industrial information.
Confirmed that HIE holds regular monitoring meetings with the operator and is satisfied that service levels on opening times, equipment hire, retail and catering have been met. With regards to the Ranger service, the Senior Ranger remained in position prior to the recruitment of a replacement whilst the number of season rangers will be kept under review.
Enquirer signposted to FOI Section of HSE for details of any notifications.
HIE decided to withhold the Annual Operating Plan 2017 for reasons of Confidentiality of commercial or industrial information and Intellectual Property Rights.
Ref: 24 2017 Cairngorm FOI - 15/08/2017 - Key themes include: History
Request for a copy of the consultant's report from 2016 into the condition of the concrete foundations on which the towers, egress ramps, drive and return units of the Coire na Ciste & West Wall chairlifts are sited.
Copy of the condition report - Ciste chairlift bases: Oct 2016 provided
Further request on HIE's lease with N/R asking for a copy of both an environmental and a health and safety management plan as referred on the lease.
Copies of both plans provided along with a copy of the Safety Management System document (which included more detail on the H&S policy detailed within the first two documents. Personal information held within these documents with held under FOI principles.
Total spend since 2004-5 by the mountain operator on shuttle buses
Details regarding day rates/annual contracts in place
Total number of days since 2004-5 that buses have been utilised
Enquirer informed that prior to the new operator being appointed in June 2014, the cost of the shuttle bus service was incorporated into ‘Running Expenses’ and HIE has no level of detail other than that. Following the new operator being appointed, there is no financial or usage data in HIE's records.
request for all correspondence from HIE Property and Infrastructure Manager relating to any invitation to tender process and the results, to all contractors considered for the works, to include correspondence with N/R, CNP, HC, SNH and SEPA.
Confirmed there was no direct or indirect correspondence with the names organisations in relation to consideration for the works and advised that all necessary tender documentation was prepared by Torrance Partnership, HIE's Prime Consultants. Copy of the ITT report (redacted as above provided.
Request for further information following previous request 043 2018: specifically to know how HIE will tender for the uplift review and when and where offers for tenders were asked along with how many contractors responded?"
ITT report (redacted) provided along with confirmation that no final decision had been made however it was anticipated that HIE would undertake an open tender via Public Contracts Scotland (PCS)later in 2017. Also advised that procurement for demolition works at Coire na Ciste by means of a quick vote via PCS per the requirements of HIE, Torrance Partnership on behalf of HIE uploaded the necessary documentation onto PCS on 22/6/17, after which three contractors tendered for the work.
Follow up to 034 2018 for a copy of the structural survey on Coire na Ciste side of Cairngorm: asking how much of the work indicated in red in the report provided has been remedied, especially "many items recommended under the previous year's report have not been implemented.
Confirmation provided that the information indicated in red was completed or is due for completion by CML as part of the current year's work in progress and thereafter, ADAC will update the inspection report. The response also noted it is the responsibility of CML to carry out recommendations
Ref: 029 2018 Cairngorm FOI - 04/10/2017 - Key themes include: History
Information to why 4 of the 5 uplifts in Coire na Ciste are below the top basin and info relating to the period when the chairlift carriers were replaced through to the formalisation of the Coire lift policy at 2004/5 winter season with specific detail relating to:
Replacement of the carriers
Potential upgrade of the chairlifts (as per planning application to Highland Council: 98 00049 FULBS)
Ownership of the chairs
Any correspondence between HIE and CML (in either direction) regarding the operational status of the chairs
The following documents issued:
Cairngorm Chairlift Company letter and notice for serving on neighbours (redacted)
Correspondence between SNH & HIE re proposed alterations
request for any studies carried out since 1997 regarding why the West Wall Poma lift was chosen as the lift to leave Coire na Ciste. Response to include additional comments on rationale, reasoning, upkeep and future intentions.
Enquirer advised that HIE holds no information relating to this request.
Requesting a copy of the lease between HIE & N/R together with concluded missives along with all correspondence/notes of meeting telephone calls etc and other agreements/back letters etc. relating to the lease.
Copy of Land Register of Scotland - Land Certificate including a copy of the lease between HIE and CML provided advising that this is a public document an as such, it widely available. The response also suggested the enquirer may wish to request a copy directly from the Land Registers of Scotland and HIE provided reference numbers and contact details. Confirmed also that HIE does not hold any missives relating to the lease along with a note that HIE will provide additional information relating to the lease as soon as possible.
Information relating to the restaurant/office/toilet/store building at the head of the carpark in Coire na Ciste as well as the car park itself and the road from the junction at the Link Road including:
1 - all information HIE holds re the current condition of the building inc correspondence with N/R, HC, SSE and CNPA.
2 - any consultants reports carried out on behalf of HIE into recent/current condition of the building
3 - any tenders invited to be considered for demoliton plus costs
4 - any tenders invited to be considered for refurbishment plus costs
* - correspondence between HIE, N/R, HC, Glenmore Lodge, CNPA on future plans for the car park and road
* - results of surveys on vehicle parking and movements in the car park and on the road".
1- HIE holds no information in relation to this point
2 - as above
3 - Torrance Partnership report (redacted) provided
4 - HIE holds no information in realtion to this point
* - as above
* - as above
Request for turnover rent paid by CML to HIE in 2015 and 2016 and if it is different to the formula contained within the lease, for all information HIE holds as to why this is different and what agreements have been made with N/R as to what has been paid:
Details of rents paid provided to the enquirer along with confirmation that this is the same formula as per the lease, adjusted arithmetically for the agreed change in CML's financial year ending 31/12/2016
To provide the Cairngorm Mountain skier day number for the years ending 31/10/16 and 17 along with the tourist passenger numbers (non-skiing) for the same period.
Details provided as per the request noting that for 2016/17, the number of skier days was provided however HIE does not have information on the number of funicular passengers for the spring/summer season and therefore not a full years figures.
1 - dates when CML were scheduled to make rental payment to HIE in respect of the Cairngorm Mountain business.
2 - have all rentals been paid.
3 - if any rental payment have not been made, please provide dates and the total deferred payments to date.
Enquirer advised that HIE believe if this information were to be released it would have a harmful effect on the conduct of public affairs and that HIE's rental arrangements with tenants is a matter of commercial sensitivity. Therefore, exemption under Section 30 (c) the effecitve conduct of public affairs.
Follow up requesting clarification on the definition of "turnover rent".
confirmation provided that the figures provided in response to the previous request do not include the VAT element on all its rents including turnover at Cairngorm. The base rent is not chargeable until 1/4/19 when VAT will be charged in the usual way.