Major Evasion by Customer Advocacy

Material Variation in Height and Width

—————————- Original Message —————————-
Subject: Inappropriate Development on River Drive. STC ref: 253539 or 248789
From: mick.dawson@theharbourview.co.uk
Date: Fri, November 21, 2014 3:32 pm
To: “Customer Advocates” <Customer.Advocates@southtyneside.gov.uk>
Cc: “Melanie Todd”
Dear Alison,
Development at UK Docks Ltd, River Drive
Stage 3 Response – Your ref CX/MH/253539
I have read and considered the reply of 25th September by Michaela Hamilton about this development but before I approach the Local Government Ombudsman I need to know who checks that a structure is built to plan if it is not the Building Control Team.
That it has not been built to plan is, to me, beyond dispute:-
a) it does not look anything like plans 8296/1A etc. (STC choice of plan)
b) it is 3m higher than plan 8296/14 allows. (plan shown on planning portal)
Please read the penultimate paragraph of her (M Hamilton’s) letter which I quote here:-
“The Regarding your query on 5 September 2014 as to whether it is customary for the Council’s Building Control Team to ‘sign off’ a development that is not built to plan, I can confirm that Building Control are only able to consider whether the constructional aspects of a development meet with building regulations. Their role is not to consider whether a development has been built in accordance with any grant of planning permission that may exist. Whether or not a structure has planning permission has no bearing on whether it accords with building regulations.”
Please also read the email (complete trail attached) to Melanie Todd around the same time from your Principal Planning Officer:

Subject: RE: Acknowledgement: UK Docks River Drive site [NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED]
Date: 4 September 2014 12:10:43 BST
To: Melanie Todd
Cc: Customer Advocates , Head of Development Services
Hello – The Head of Development Services is out of the office at the moment and I have been asked to respond to your email – my colleague from the Building Control Team has confirmed that they sent the completion certificate out on June 17th. The final Building Control inspection was on 13th June.
Regards
Peter Cunningham
Principal Planning Officer

It would appear from the responses by the Council to queries by affected residents that there is no-one taking responsibility to ensure that developments are built to plan. Please say who is the signatory on the completion certificate as as they will have do until your office can find someone to take responsibility for this planning oversight. I understand that footings completed in 2001, that current structure stands on, were not made to plan either. Please advise who signed the completion certificate for this as well.
Regards
Mick Dawson

—————————- Original Message —————————-
Subject: RE: Inappropriate Development on River Drive. STC ref: 253539 or 248789 [PROTECT]
From: “Customer Advocates” <Customer.Advocates@southtyneside.gov.uk>
Date: Mon, November 24, 2014 11:12 am
To: “Mick Dawson” <mick.dawson@theharbourview.co.uk> ————————————————————————–
This email has been classified as: PROTECT
Dear Mr Dawson
Thank you for your email dated 21 November 2014 which was forwarded to me for consideration.
I can confirm that as previously advised, the Council accepts that the structure in question does not have planning permission. My Stage 3 response to you dated 25 September 2014 also explained the reasons for the Council’s Head of Development Services’ decision that it was not expedient to take planning enforcement action with respect to the development. I am sorry that I am unable to make these points any more clearly than I already have.
I note your intention to approach the Local Government Ombudsman and this is the correct route for you to now follow if you remain dissatisfied with the Council’s handling of this matter.
Yours sincerely
Michaela Hamilton
Performance and Information Officer
Strategy and Performance.

Note the use of [PROTECT].
She fails to mention the variation in height in her Stage 3 Response and also says in the same response, “I am satisfied that when George Mansbridge made the decision on behalf of the Council that it was not expedient to take planning enforcement action, he was fully aware of the discrepancies noted in your email with regards to the width of the structure and the variation in pillar angle.” However the LGO was later  told by a Senior Planning Officer that there was no material variation in width.