Critique – November 2020

Date: 1 August 2016
Greens Place                  Our Ref: CX/253539
South Shields                 Your Ref: 248789
Tyne and Wear NE33 2AQ

Dear Mr Dawson

Thank you for your letter to Martin Swales, Chief Executive dated 8 July 2016, requesting matters related to your previous complaint to be raised as a new complaint, I manage the process and staff that support customer complaints and compliments. Your letter has therefore been forwarded to me to consider and respond.

Mrs Johnson has changed the reference 248789 to 253539. The latter was raised by the Head of Development Services to overwrite the original complaint of 10-Jan-14 again. I say again because the Planning Manager had already overwritten the original, after the Principal Planning Officer, Mr Cunningham, referred me back to the Tyne Gateway Assn instead of passing it and the responsibility for it to the Enforcement Section.

Having considered the contents of your letter and the final decision by the Local Government Ombudsman, I am now in a position to respond.

My letter was about the Council giving misinformation/misrepresentation to the Ombudsman and to reinforce that point I said: “I ask you to look again at this because there is a clear contradiction between what the Council were telling the LGO and what is known. Why your staff should misrepresent the facts to the LGO is for you to determine. That they have misinformed the LGO should be admitted and corrected and that is what this letter is about.”

There is no evidence to suggest that there has been deliberate misinformation provided by Council officers to the Local Government Ombudsman,

The letter to the Chief Executive had 3 pages of evidence of a Senior Planning Officer giving misinformation to the LGO.

Neither do I have evidence to question the content of the Ombudsman’s investigation. My several years of experience is that an investigator works with a complainant during the investigation to consider the initial complaint and relevant subsequent points raised. It is your responsibility to provide the investigator with information to fully investigate your complaint, it is our responsibility to respond to that investigation.

I gave the investigator a plan that had been approved and explained why it should be considered and plans that had not been approved and said why they should not be considered. I also pointed out that the unauthorised plans could be presented honestly to back the protestors claim that the shed was nearly 3m taller than planned.

I can find no evidence that the Council did not fully comply with the investigator’s questions throughout the process.

No, they sent her the misleading plans first given to the Principal Planning Officer in 2013.

I understand your frustration in what is a complex matter, which has been the subject of extensive investigation by the Council and the Local Government Ombudsman, involving information spanning two decades.

It was not a complex matter. The Council discovered that the shed was taller than planned in 2013 and did nothing about it. Instead they referred us to a corrupted complaints procedure which led to them giving misinformation/misrepresentation to the Ombudsman.

Whilst I know that you remain dissatisfied with the outcome, I consider the Local Government Ombudsman’s decision final and must now draw a close to this matter.

I refer you to an email sent on 9 December 2015 from Alison Hoy, regarding the repeated contacts to the Council concerning issues you had raised in your original complaint regarding the boat repair shed built by UK Docks.

Alison’s email was confirmation that the Council using the Ombudsman to dismiss our complaint so that they could unjustly degrade our complaints to unfounded allegations and repeat that to Council officers, Elected Members, Members of Parliament and Newspapers etc. – The matters and allegations raised by your constituent are well documented and have been subject to a number of enquiries from Mr Dawson and other local residents over a lengthy period of time.

Since the Ombudsman’s final decision on your complaint on 15 April 2015, you have sent further emails/letters to Council officers, Elected Members and Members of Parliament, reiterating aspects of the complaint: – most of what she says is unsubstantiated rubbish, read on:

• 1) Letter to MP Trevelyan dated 1 June 2015 advising her of your complaint, but not advising the MP it had been Investigated by the Council and Local Government Ombudsman. No – I was advising her that the shed was 3m too tall and I asked the CEO to provide evidence to the contrary. Mrs Johnson was not able to do this so she chose to malign the good citizens of South Shields instead. Complaints that the shed was taller than planned are not allegations when the shed is taller than planned.

• 2) Email 4 December 2015 to Gary Simmonette and the Planning Team cc’d to Dave and Julie Routledge; Emma Lewell-Buck MP; George Mansbridge; Melanie Todd; Cllr Audrey McMillan; Cllr John Wood; Cllr John Anglin, referencing the original boat shed dimensions, which had been addressed through the complaints procedure, alongside your objections to a new planning application. No – I was just pointing out that it was wrong to extend the shed when it had been built without planning permission. It was built 3m taller and a meter wider than the approved plans allow.

• 3) Email 1 February 2016 regarding the February committee meeting, making reference to misinformation and/or misrepresentation by the Council in supplying information to the Local Government Ombudsman. No – the email of the 1st February was from Mr Mansbridge and confirmation that the Council had given UK Docks permission to extend the shed which was built without planning permission, confirming that he had not passed my observation that the existing shed had not been built without planning permission.

• 4) Letter 8 July 2016 to the Chief Executive and the Ombudsman. No – there was no letter to the Ombudsman, the letter was to the Chief Executive, it was the one and only letter about the Council giving misinformation to the Ombudsman. I so happens I chose to use UK Docks as an example because I hold records of nearly all the written correspondence. Most of them denials or evasions about the variation from plan.

I enclose a copy of our policy on dealing with unreasonable and persistent complainants. In my view, your behaviour is a disproportionate use of resources and unreasonable because you have:

• 5) submitted repeated complaints, essentially regarding the same issue, after our complaints process has been exhausted, No – Sunday working excluded there were only two complaints about the shed:

  1. 10-Jan-14, that the shed was taller and wider than permitted and nothing had been done about it. It was over written by the Planning Manager 14-Jan-14, 248789 and again after a complaint about the conduct of his planning staff (staff are not sheds!) by the Head of Development Services – 253539.
    i) the Planning Principal Officer referred me back (back pass) to a meeting where he had produced drawings with errors on to back a false claim that the shed had been approved. He did not answer the question that;. if the shed was taller and wider than permitted why had nothing had been done about it:
    ii) the Planning Manager gave out bits of misinformation re the drawings and tried to pass me forward to the next stage (forward pass) without answering my question; if the shed was taller and wider than permitted and nothing had been done about it.
  2. 8-Jul-16, that the Council had misled the Ombudsman about the shed.

• 6) attempted to have the complaint reconsidered in ways that are incompatible with our adopted complaints procedure, or with good practice, No – incompatible with a corrupt complaints procedure but compatible with good practice. Please see the guide to the Council’s Complaints Procedure.

• 7) adopted a ‘scattergun’ approach: pursuing a complaint or complaints with the authority and, at the same time, with a Member of Parliament/a councillor/independent auditor/the Standards Board/local police/solicitors, while an appropriate avenue is available via the Local Government Ombudsman, No – I not written to the local Police or the Board which She was implying. If I think that the Council is acting improperly on any issue I believe I am entitled to write to my MP- it is up to the MP whether he or she takes up my case. I wrote to my ward Councillors because they, apart from the Chairman of the Planning Committee(Cllr Wood), attended the meeting where we were told the shed was ‘legal’. Was she suggesting that the Councillors should not be told that they were misinformed by a Principal Planning Officer of the Council? I included members of the Residents Group Committee as well because I had to relay the ‘facts’ to a meeting with them a few hours after the same meeting where we were told the shed was ‘legal’. I did not believe what I had been told by the Officer and it took me 2 months and numerous emails to prove that shed was not approved. Was she suggesting that members of the Residents Group should remain ignorant of the fact that the shed was built without planning permission?

• 8) refused to accept the decision of the Council or Local Government Ombudsman, by arguing points of detail. No – the Council have based their decisions on drawings provided by UK Docks, These were not authorised and one of them was incomplete because there were vital details missing. I based my arguments on documents provided by their Agents in pursuance of ST/1146/13/COND which had been approved.

I now consider this matter closed. Should you continue to repeat historic complaint issues in your contacts, we will consider imposing formal restrictions on your contact with the Council. Should you continue to repeat this same complaint already investigated by the Council or the Ombudsman, including historical plans or perceived misinformation, we will not acknowledge, or respond to those communication.

We will however, ensure that any separate complaints you raise, including any that may arise from a new planning application, are dealt with appropriately and that you receive a response where necessary.

She does not deal with it because if you say, for example, that the shed is 3m taller she calls it a complaint and as she and all those since 2013 have not properly dealt with the original complaint that the shed is both wider and taller than permitted and the Council have done nothing about it nor has she dealt properly with the complaint that the Council gave misinformation/misrepresentation to the Ombudsman. MD 17/11/20

Yours sincerely
Hayley Johnson

Corporate Lead Strategy and Performance

Shed and Corruption – Part 11: Shooting the Messenger in 2015

The neighbours of UK Docks’ slipway shed off River Drive complained about its height in September 2013 and after the Council’s Planning Manager conceded that it was too tall, some five months later, we asked for it to be removed but instead of it being removed the Council removed the admission that it was taller than permitted from the records.
How this was done was described in a letter to the Chief Executive, 3-Mar-22:  Shooting the Messenger in 2015 which was an attachment, SandC-Part11.pdf, to a covering email separating not unrelated issues.

Date: 03/03/2022 (15:14:43 GMT)
From: mick.dawson@theharbourview.co.uk
To: Jonathan Tew, Hayley Johnson, George Mansbridge, Helen Dalby, Emma Lewell-Buck MP, Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP
Attachment: SandC-Part11.pdf (262 KB)

There were two issues, the first being the English Coastal Path which should really be a matter for Parliament and something needs to be done about that quite quickly for the corrupt practice of giving away public footpaths to the developers of sites overlooking them has spread from South Tyneside to Northumberland County Council.

The second is the height of UK Docks’ Shed which I described as a first cycle of deceit to a former neighbour, I was forgetting the first cycle of deceit was the complaint about 71 Greens Place, called Double Standards in August 2021.

I had originally mentioned Cycles of Deceit in a post of February 2020 when I was planning the Shed and Corruption series and thought it might be Part 4 before mentioning it again, the first 2 being the time before Customer Advocacy’s email of the 9th December 2015, 3 being Sunday Working, 4 being up to the email to Cllr Hamilton on the 23rd December 2019 and Part 5 about the false accusation that the MP for South Shield and I were colluding to influence the Local Government Ombudsman’s decisions.

I was also overlooking something that should have been obvious from the beginning, and that was that the second cycle of deceit began with the Principal Planning Officer referring me back to the Town hall meeting because he did not want admit that the shed was taller than permitted and it ended with the accusation that we were making allegations by the Council’s Corporate Lead because she needed to hide the fact that we were correct when we complained that the shed was not only taller than planned, it had been used to cover what was to become a ship repair yard.

After I had hauled the complaint that the shed was too tall back on course, the Planning Manager had the simple  choice of backing his Principal Planning Officer or the protestors, of which I was only one of many, and he chose to back Mr Cunningham presumably to save himself the trouble of taking disciplinary action against his offending planning officer.

His offence was to claim that the shed had approval when the approved plans indicated that not only was the shed wider than planned it was materially taller as well.

My letter to Mr Tew, Chief Executive, of March 3rd, began:- “I have laid out the timeline which I shared with my neighbours in Greens Place and your office from September 2013 but before we retrace our steps through the Council Complaints Procedure, I suggest you determine, by the examination of the approved drawing 8296/2, what the planned height of UK Docks’ shed should be.

In the letter, Shooting the Messenger 2015, I first ask Mr Tew to look at the only approved drawing from 1996 with dimensions and that was because it gave the landward end as 12.7m and then I described how the complaint about the shed being too big and how, in its passage through the complaints system, it was sent round and round in numerous cycles of deceit where every time I point out a material deviation from plan, it is challanged. Finally it was denied by reference to an unauthorised drawing that contains a major mistake to the Ombudsman.

In the first stage, it was passed back to someone who was happy to declare the shed ‘legal’, the first cycle of deceit, and in the second, third and fourth stages, they repeated the lie that the shed had been built to the approved height each one being a cycle of deceit and so on:-

Undesignated complaint

1 Mr Cunningham Compliant with plans that were not approved i.e. ones in error that gave the Landward End as 15.5m.
2 Mr G Atkinson Approved Height Landward End = 15.5m

Complaint ID: 248789

3 Mr G Mansbridge Approved Height Landward End = 15.5m

Complaint ID: 253539 – & – Mansbridge Trap

4 Mr G Mansbridge Approved Height Landward End = 15.5m
5 Ms M Hamilton No mention of the height at all.
6 LGO – 1st Draft No mention of the height at all.
7
8
LGO – 2nd Draft The complainant says the shed is also 3 metres higher than it should be. The Council says it is not. There is no fault in how the Council decided the shed is the permitted height. Second draft reference.

Letter to Emma Lewell-Buck, MP

8 LGO – 3rd Draft The complainant says the shed is also 3 metres higher than it should be. The Council says it is not. There is no fault in how the Council decided the shed is the permitted height. Final draft reference.
9 LGO
2nd Inspector
I consider that your latest complaint remains that of your previous complaint which has already been determined and the opportunity to request a review of that decision has passed.

In the fifth and sixth stages they failed to mention the height at all and in the seventh and eighth they just repeated the denial given to them by a Senior Panning Officer as explained to the 1st Ombudsman in great detail in Lexplanation1A.pdf.

In the ninth, the complaint that they had given misinformation to the Ombudsman was conflated with the original complaint to avoid the denial made by his predecessor and that takes us back to the very beginning.

The letter to the MP for South Shields, ended up with the MP for Northumberland and she asked the Chief Executive:- “Mr Dawson has not been able to locate any detail from the Council as to why the structure was approved despite the breach in planning conditions, and has been attempting to do so for nearly a year.

When the structure was approved by the building inspector,  he hid the fact that it was nearly 3 m too tall, then the Chief Executive asked his Corporate Lead to accuse me and the other residents, of making allegations so that he did not have to admit to the cycle of deceits perpetrated by his staff:- “The matters and allegations raised by your constituent are well documented and have been subject to a number of enquiries from Mr Dawson and other local residents over a lengthy period of time.

It was because of that exchange in mid 2015 that I called the retelling of this cycle of events from 2013 to the new Chief Executive, Mr Tew:- ‘Shooting the Messenger’

Denials and conflations are the main methods used to corrupt a complaints procedure but no less important are the other items in the table first publicised in Shed and Corruption – Part 2:-

Evasion is supported variously by:
[1] Complaint or questions not recorded
[2] Back-pass
[3] Unfounded contradiction (a denial)
[4] Conflation
[5] Diversion into a dead end (forward pass)

It would appear that complaints raised by the other local residents and I were not well documented and UK Docks provides many examples of each method of evasion. Please see page 4 of ‘Burying the Truth’.

I finish Shooting the Messenger 2015 with the observation that by the time I find out that we have been falsely accused of making allegations the date for making making any observations about ST/0461/14/FUL had closed and one can blame the Council’s Corporate Lead for that. Her parting shot in attachment 6 of her letter to Anne-Marie Trevelyan of the 25th June 2015 was to say:-

I hope that this information is useful. Please do not hesitate to share this letter with your constituent.

The letter was not shared and I do not know else was said. My request to know what was said in the main letter and the other attachments was ignored and it is not unreasonable to come to the conclusion it was not much different from what a Senior Planning Officer told the Ombudsman.

While I knew that the Council were using the Ombudsman to hide malpractice in their planning and building control sections, it was not until I received an email from Alison Hoy on the 9th December 2015, on behalf of Customer Advocates Customer that I get confirmation that they were doing this, 2nd paragraph:-

This matter has been investigated fully by the Council through its corporate complaints procedure. The complaint was not upheld and was also considered and decided by the Local Government Ombudsman who found no fault with the Council’s decision.

I also get confirmation that there is another reason in paragraph 5:-

We have also responded to a further enquiry made to the Council via your then local MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan, dated 1 June 2015, which claimed you had not been able to locate any details from the Council on why the shed had been approved despite the breach in planning conditions, even though at that time you had received complaint responses from both the Council and the Ombudsman.

It was to fend off enquiries from people like MPs and Journalists and I took a copy of this email to a solicitor for advice and he said that it would be best to raise a complaint about the Council giving misinformation to the Ombudsman. That was in January 2016 and it was not until July that I made the decision to raise the complaint with the Chief Executive about it.

It was no good pursuing it with Messrs Mansbridge and Co as they had failed to let the Committee who approved ST/0461/14/FUL, know that the existing shed was taller than planned. The company that I have associated with Mr Mansbridge included Mr Simmonette by the time of Alison’s email of the 9th December. It was he who forwarded the emails mentioned in the first two paragraphs of that email:-

I have been forwarded your emails to the Planning Team dated 4th and 7th December 2015, in order to clarify the Council’s position regarding your comments on issues relating to the existing boat repair shed at UK Docks Tyne Slipway and your earlier complaint to the Council regarding this matter.
Your email of 4th December refers to not being satisfied with the responses to the second part of your earlier contact to the team on 30 September. This was regarding the planning enforcement aspect of the existing boat repair shed.

This was one of the best examples of a forward pass into a dead end, item [5] on the list and compares with the Planning Manager getting shot of 248789 to Mr Mansbridge in April 2014.

The email to Mr Simmonette on the 30th September was the first time in which, the approved plan 8296/2 was directly referred, and you can see why Mr Simmonette asked Alison to make sure it ended up unanswered. It was about a lot more than the lack of enforcement and you can see why I the first thing I asked Mr Tew to look at 8296/2 before he did anything else.

8296/2 was indirectly referred to, in the request that the Council request that UK Docks either rebuild their shed to the correct size or remove it, made on March 4th 2014. Mr Mansbridge ensured that went into the bin when he re-badged 248789 as 253539 in May 2014.

I finish Shed and Corruption Part 11 with:-

It would appear that the Council’s Corporate Lead was the most important in a line of people starting with Cllr Anglin, Mr Haig and Mr Watson in getting UK Docks their longer shed and I can only assume that she was chosen to take a shot at me again when I told the Chief Executive that his staff were giving misinformation to the Ombudsman because she did such a good job in persuading the MP for Berwick that we were making allegations.

The ground covered in Part 11 ended over six years ago when the Corporate Lead told the MP for Berwick:- “The matters and allegations raised by your constituent are well documented and have been subject to a number of enquiries from Mr Dawson and other local residents over a lengthy period of time.

The lengthy period in time began eight and a half years ago with Mr Cunningham referring my neighbour to a complaints procedure instead of answering the question was the planned height of the shed 12m or 15.5m and I finish with the covering email with:- “The Council have adopted even more underhand methods since the end of 2015 to hide the misdemeanours of various staff and I hope to give you the details of how it was done, before too long.

 

Scaled or Not?

Approved Drawing 8296/4.

A copy is held on theharbourview.co.uk as D8296_4.pdf

Is is best to view on a laptop or big tablet as the scale can be adjusted to represent an A4 page at 1:1 (make the width on the screen = 21cm).

At that scale the height at the halfway point becomes 5.2cm and the length 7cm.

There is no argument about the length of it which is 22m (between centres not overall, especially when the cladding is added).

The ratio of the real to the size on screen of the length is therefore 22/0.07= 314.3.

From the figures given by the Council in January 2013 the height of the middle frame is 15.5m + half the gradient between each end (2.7m) = 16.85m.

The drawing is not to scale as the height of the middle frame, represented by the size on the screen is = 314.3×0.052m or 16.34m making it 0.5m different from the figure calculated from the heights given by the Council. A centimetre difference one could reasonably claim that the drawing was to scale but half a meter, never.
Continue reading Scaled or Not?

UKD Sundays

UKDocks – Sunday Working

The Second Condition states: The development to which
this permission relates shall be carried out in complete accordance
with the approved plans and specifications
.

The basic reason for the existence of the Website the harbourview.co.uk is because, the development or shed to which that condition applies, is nearly 3m taller than planned and the Council have done nothing but lie or stifle any talk about its height since the first frames were put up in September 2013.

Think of a builder adding an extra floor to a four story block of flats and you will get the picture of the deviation from the approved plan.

UK Docks got away with the breach of the 2nd condition by giving plans, to the planning officer responsible, that falsely supported their claim that they had approval for it but it contained a fundamental error. When this error was pointed out to the Council, the planning officer switched to a plan retrieved from the Council’s archive which bore the same fault
This eventually led South Tyneside Council giving misinformation to
the Local Government Ombudsman by a Senior Planning Officer of South Tyneside Council.

The second condition has been quoted and explained because it
follows that the shed ought not to be used until it is met. There
were numerous complaints while the shed was under construction,
September 2013 to June 2014, about this but they were ignored or
worse. They were contradicted.

The fifth condition states: 5. No works, other than the launching or beaching of vessels, shall take place within the shelter between the hours of 7pm and 7am Monday to Saturday and not at all on Sundays or Bank Holidays unless any written consent of variation is previously given by the Development Corporation as local planning authority.

When the Council received complaints about the breaches of the fifth condition they were dismissed as allegations even when confronted photographic evidence:

Sunday Working – 18 December 2016 at 08:33

In Detail:-
When UK Docks applied to build an enclosure (shed) covering the slipway off River Drive the Tyne and Wear Development Corporation (the Authority) laid down 2 conditions in such a manner as to restrict any expansion of the business being carried out at the time of the application (1996).

The fifth condition still applies regardless of whether the shed had been built with, or without permission, and will do so until UK Docks ask for it to reconsidered retrospectively. It so happens that it has been built without planning permission.

In a complaint, solely about the breach of the 2nd condition, the  Ombudsman included a comment about the 5th: #16. The Authority’s view is that condition 5 should not have been imposed because the site already had the benefit of unrestricted working hours. I cannot comment on this. I do not know how the business operated in 1996 and it is too long
ago for the Ombudsman to investigate
.

She has replaced “The Authority”, i.e. The Tyne and Wear Development Corporation, with a planning officer’s opinion and secondly she has replaced ‘take place within the shelter’ with ‘site’. It looks like plans for enabling UK Docks to use their slipway on Sundays were being prepared by the Council as early as March 2015 when the Ombudsman’s first draft was issued – #16 confirms that she had been given two misrepresentations about the 5th condition by someone in the Council.

The Planning Officer, Gary Simmonette did not register the
complaint
that UK Docks were in breach of the 5th condition
on Sunday, 18-Dec-16, and then misinformed Customer Advocacy (CA) about it. He put them in the unworthy position of having to accuse the complainants and I was not the only one, of making allegations.

When confronted with the evidence to show that we were not making
allegations CA chose to ignore it and to hide the fact that planning had not acknowledged that UK Docks were in breach of the fifth condition on 18 December 2016 it was merged with the second.

It was the noise emanating from what was rapidly becoming a shipyard that woke everyone up, or made everyone aware the slipway was being put to use on a Sunday and no-one been given notice. As CA were claiming it was a noise issue, I added a complaint about the noise as well.

On the 7th February Mr Burrell, Technical Officer, Environmental
Health & Resilience closed Noise Nuisence Complaint 272189 so there is no record of the shed being in use on a Sunday.

On the 14th of February it was disclosed by CA that it was not
raised by as a result of the complaint but by another person and not as a result of the noise that alerted us to the use of the shed on Sunday, 18-Dec-16.

Alison who wrote on behalf of CA was obviously not aware of an attempt by the Council to enforce silence on the matter of UK Docks use of the shed on a Sunday. These further restrictions on your contact will come into effect immediately should you continue to email the Council with
historic matters.

Corporate Lead, Mrs Haley Johnson had repeated, 17th January 2017, a threat she had made 6 months earlier and in doing that she also had to conflate the 5th condition with the 2nd.
Together, with Messrs Simmonette and Burrell, she had conspired to deny that UK Docks were using the shed on a Sunday. They were not slipping or launching a vessel.

I had anticipated that something like this would happen as, they
had already misinformed the Local Government Ombudsman about the
height of the shed so I involved a Councillor to act as as witness as early as 9th January.

Councillor Anglin, who was tasked with helping expose an obvious
breach of the fifth condition simply walked away, saying: I obviously cannot be part of any actions whilst claims and allegations are being investigated.

Messrs Simmonette and Burrell denied that that UK Docks were using
their shed on a Sunday. They were being extremely economical with the
truth and it appears that they coerced Ms Hoy and Mrs Johnson to
cover up for their misdemeanours.

The ‘Seven Principles of Public Life’ have certainly been cast aside by the first two officers named but one must ask why were the women were protecting them.

Councillor Anglin had cast the Nolan Principles  aside some years before when he told us that the shed was ‘legal’ in December 2013.

Mick Dawson
4 October 2021