Category Archives: Evasion

Shed and Corruption – Part 15

Date: 09/05/22, 09:16:44 BST
From: mick.dawson@theharbourview.co.uk
To: Jonathan Tew
Cc: Nicola Robason, Emma Lewell-Buck MP, Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, Alison Hoy, Hayley Johnson, John Rumney
Attachment: Detail-SandC-15.pdf (64 KB)

Dear Mr Tew,

Please accept my apologies for not including you in the circulation of my the email/letter of the 29th April to your Monitoring Officer about the height of UK Docks’ shed on their slipway off River Drive. I was about to correct it when I received a response from Alison Hoy, your Information and Feedback Officer, within 15 minutes of sending shed and Corruption – Part 14.

Ms Hoy’s response appears to answer the question posed at the end of the email and it seems to be the officer in charge of Customer Advocacy if it is not herself:-

Mr Swales had retired by the time of Paula’s false accusations so who asked them to be made. I believe and sincerely hope it was not you.

To save me sending S and C – Part 14 again, your Monitoring Officer, Ms Hoy or Mrs Johnson should be able to pass you a copy.

I had hoped to be giving details of the exchange of correspondence I had with the MP’s Office Staff in Part 15 but the ill considered interruption meant I had to reinforce many of the points raised in the previous episodes or parts.

It looks to me that a decision was made to hide the fact that the shed was nearly 3m taller than planned so that UK Docks could get their longer shed by avoiding  having to make a planning application retrospectively.

It meant that someone had to give misinformation to the Ombudsman and because they were caught doing so, a scheme was hatched by your predecessor to first malign the good citizens of South Shields and then to misuse a section of your staff code that deals with unacceptable behaviour: e.g. aggressive, abusive or offensive language or behaviours to discredit me. *

I had hoped that some reforms might be taking place, particularly when when I had a response from Leah on behalf of Ms Robason on 24th December 2020:

Thank you for your email regarding complaints you have raised with the Council. I am writing to acknowledge receipt and confirm that this matter will be looked into and you will receive a response week commencing 4th January.

I heard nothing until Paula Abbot’s email of the 29th April 2021 prompted, I believe by my review of the timeline that I had shared with Customer Advocacy since the Summer of 2014, Shed and Corruption – Parts 1 and 2. Sadly Ms Hoy’s extension of misuse of Section 7 allows your staff to say whatever they like about UK Dock’s shed and myself for another year. Please see Shed and Corruption – Part 15 (Detail) which I have attached.

I hope you have enough control to put a stop to the corruption and I wish you luck.

Kind regards
Michael Dawson

* to discredit me –  was missing from the original email.
Continue reading Shed and Corruption – Part 15

Shed and Corruption – Part 14

Covering Email
Shed and Corruption - Part 14
From: mick.dawson@theharbourview.co.uk
Date: 29/04/2022 (16:27:49 BST)
To:   Nicola Robason
Cc:   Emma Lewell-Buck MP, Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, 
      Paula Abbott, Alison Hoy, Hayley Johnson
Attachment: Shed and Corruption - Part 14.pdf

Dear Nicola,

Please see the attached file. I hope my condemnation of the two planning officers needs no explanation.

When Mrs Johnson first accused me of being unreasonable in my attempts to bring the truth about UK Docks’ shed to everyone’s attention, one of her claims was that I had 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;

I responded:- I have not written to the local police, independent auditors or the Standards Board which you are 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’.  Are you 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 ‘legal’ or should I say compliant. Are you suggesting that members of the Residents Group should remain ignorant of the fact that the shed was not compliant and built without planning permission?
Continue reading Shed and Corruption – Part 14

Fountain of Misinformation – Part 9B

Someone at a very high level in the chain of command at the Town Hall had taken the decision as the complaints started to roll in about the height of the structure being built  on one of two slipways on the Tyne still in use in September 2013, to hide the fact that it was nearly 3m taller than planned. It was done to hide that fact that Building Control were not in control.

When you bear in mind that the control of both slipways on the Tyne were at one time held by one family you will understand why the most recent posts about the shed on the slipway off River Drive are labelled ‘Shed and Corruption’.
This post is an update to an extract from my email to Mrs Johnson written on the 2nd September 2016. It is a list of corrections to the misrepresentations made on behalf of the Chief Executive by her on 1-Aug- 2016:-

• Letter to MP Trevelyan dated 1 June 2015 advising her of your complaint
Actually the letter of 1-Jun-2015 was from MP Trevelyan to the Chief Executive and copied to me;

• Email 4 December 2015 to Gary Simmonette and the Planning Team referencing the original boat shed dimensions, which had been addressed through the complaints procedure
If you had read my email 4-Dec to Mr Simmonette you would realise it was about the illogicality of applying for planning permission to extend a shed that had been built without planning permission;

• 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.
there was no email of 1 February 2016. There was a letter from Mr Mansbridge confirming that he had not passed the information about the shed’s height to the Planning Committee.

• Letter 8 July 2016 to the Chief Executive and the Ombudsman
Actually the letter of 8-Jul-2016 was to MP Trevelyan and copied to the Chief Executive –I had not written to the Ombudsman per the letter from an independant legal advisor. There were number of items of misrepresentation, about the development on River Drive, made by the Council to residents, the LGO and an MP that needed sorting first.

• submitted repeated complaints, essentially regarding the same issue, after our complaints process has been exhausted
It is the same complaint, 248789, but some issues have not been satisfactorily addressed because Mr Mansbridge raised 253539 to overwrite it. The issue is not exhausted until the Council answer the question about planned height of the shed. Is the shed 2.7m taller than permitted (yes/no).

• 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
– I have not written to the local police, independent auditors or the Standards Board which you are 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’.  Are you 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 ‘legal’ or should I say compliant. Are you suggesting that members of the Residents Group should remain ignorant of the fact that the shed was not compliant and built without planning permission?

• refused to accept the decision of the Council or Local Government Ombudsman, by arguing points of detail
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 I considered more valid. You also say I have attempted to have the complaint reconsidered in ways that are incompatible with your adopted complaints procedure, or with good practice

Two of the 7 survived the criticism of the 2nd September 2016:-

  1. • submitted repeated complaints, essentially regarding the same issue, after our complaints process has been exhausted
  2. • refused to accept the decision of the Council or Local Government Ombudsman, by arguing points of detail

The others were rewritten, somewhat hypocritically, as:-

  • attempted to have the complaint reconsidered in ways that are incompatible with our adopted complaints procedure, or with good practice.

I say hypocritical because because if one looks at the history of the  complaint that the shed is taller than planned, from a request made in September 2013 for clarification on the planned height of it,

Has the revised height of 15.5metres been approved or is it in breach of the 1996 Planning approval?

to today, one will see that the Council have avoided the question about the height by not using their adopted complaints procedure. Especially not the one described on their website.

There is ample evidence that the Council manipulated their own adopted complaints procedure to hide wrong decisions, misconduct etc. by evasions and denials.

Shed and Corruption – Part 12

From: mick.dawson@theharbourview.co.uk        
Date: 25/03/2022 (03:53:57 PM GMT)
To: Nicola Robason
Cc: Gill Hayton (Solicitor)
Attachments: Revised Cycles of Deceit.pdf
and Shed Heights.pdf

25th March 2022

Dear Nicola

Cycles of Deceit and its Repercussions

On March 3rd I sent a letter, Shooting the Messenger 2015, to Mr Tew explaining how his predecessor had chosen to deny the fact that the shed was nearly 3m taller than the height approved and had chosen instead to falsely accuse the people, who had claimed that it was taller than the plan approved, of making allegations.

I made a mistake in sending it to the parties I thought should be concerned rather than copying them and I hope by the content that it should have been obvious that it was a mistake and that included the agent who, on behalf of the Chief Executive, had accused us of making allegations. I wished to write separately to you as Monitoring Officer as it appears the the same people who were content to lie to the Ombudsman were quite happy to mislead the Monitoring Officer, whom I believe, was originally the Head of Legal Services.

That is the main reason have copied Gill Hayton into ‘Cycles of Deceit and Repercussions’. It looks like she was was Deputy Monitoring Officer in 2018 and then second in command to John Rumney three years later:- 15-May-21:

“I am out of the office returning on 17th May 2021. If you need urgent assistance, please contact Gill Hayton at southtyneside.gov.uk.

I did not need urgent assistance but neither did I expect Mr Rumney get back to me as I had already sent him a copy of Shed and Corruption – Part 4. In it, I explained to Paula Abbott why her misuse of Complaints Policy 2019 v 1.5 on April 29th 2021 was unreasonable and I thought that the Council’s Legal Section should be made aware if its misuse by Customer Advocates. Unreasonable because there was only ever one complaint about a planning officer giving misinformation the Ombudsman.

Soon after I became aware that South Tyneside Council had allowed developers of adjacent properties to close off waterfront footpaths in July 2021, I discovered that the practice had spread to Amble and that Northumberland County Council’s enforcement officer was not prepared to do anything about it either and that then made two issues that I have shared with you:-

1) English Coastal Path

The practice of giving parts of the English Coastal Path to the developers of adjoining properties had spread from South Tyneside to Northumberland and as rights of way etc. are a matter for Parliament and I should be really be pursuing it with one or possibly both the MP’s, or the corrupt practice of giving away public footpaths to developers will spread further. The English Coastal Path had been in existence since 2014 so it is unlikely that the practice was invented by the Planning Office in South Shields but it was the first one of which I became aware.

2) UK Docks, River Drive, South Shields

After UK Docks’ started to assemble their enclosure on the slipway off River Dive in South Shields in September 2013, it was quickly established to be taller than planned because the planning officer who was promoting the development, Mr Cunningham, referred the questioner to the Council’s complaints procedure instead of answering her question: “Has the revised height of 15.5 metres been approved or is it in breach of the 1996 Planning approval?

I said quickly established because his refusal to answer led to people like me, to look more carefully at the drawings he had provided and we realised that the enclosure was taller than planned by the gradient between each end or 2.7m and someone in the Council’s Planning Office must have come to the same conclusion because they forced UK Docks to stop work on it for nearly 3 months. Please see the attached detail, Shed-Height. It takes the sound gable end dimension of the river end from either 8296/1A or 1B to arrive at the true approved height of the shed.

They did not address the complaint that the shed was taller than planned and it was removed from the records so that they need not answer it. Using the drawing approved by the Council’s Planning Manager in October 2013, I eventually got him to concede that it was too tall in February 2014 but that did not suit those who were promoting the myth UK Docks had permission for their shed and it was removed from the records.

That was the second rewrite of the history of events, the first being the removal of the original complaint from the records, and was made by the Head of Development Service introducing a new complaint in cycle 5 on the 2nd June 2014. It appears to have been made to save the Head of Development having to take disciplinary action over his Planning Manager in allowing UK Docks to continue to work on their shed in spite of his admission about the breach of the second condition.

This was done by overwriting original complaint for the second time and changing its job number to 253539 and Mr Mansbridge’ reputation was saved by not presenting the true version of events to the Ombudsman but his ‘new’ version. Mine was ignored and I suggest if that do nothing else about the ‘Cycles of Deceit’ you read the blog:- lgo-paras-30-38

Meanwhile my letter/email to the MP for South Shields landed on the MP for Berwick’s desk just before the election in 2015 and it ended up with Anne-Marie Trevelyan and it appears that she was given the same misinformation and or misrepresentation that was given to the Local Government Ombudsman as I heard no more about it.

I met Emma Lewell-Buck MP, not long before the hustings for the 2017 General Election where we agreed that the Council were being evasive about UK Docks and I would work with her Westoe Road Office (to) try and get some way forward but that failed because Emma was told on 6th September 2017:- The previous issues relating to the boat yard have in fact now been looked at by the Local Government Ombudsman and they found no issue with the yard or anything relating to its development. Unfortunately, the Ombudsman’s decision cannot be re-visited.

This was a year after my exchange with the Council’s Corporate Lead where I had told her that I had consulted a solicitor but it appears that she kept that information to herself and she may disagree but I think it would have interfered with the Chief Executive’s decision to hide the fact that the shed was taller than planned if the staff that worked in Customer Advocacy had known of the solicitor’s advice.

Maybe not, they were still repeating the lies embedded in the Ombudsman’s Findings to an MP in September 2017 and it looks like she needs an apology for being told there was no issue with the yard.

There has been an issue since UK Docks claim that they had approval for their shed was backed by the Principal Planning Officer, Mr Cunningham, who told me, 20-Dec13:- “I have explained during our meeting that the base and height of the structure are compliant…this is the end of the matter as far as I am concerned.

As you can see they (are) not compliant with any approved plans and that was how UK Docks got their longer shed through the back door, a polite way of saying corruptly. I hope you agree.

Kind regards
Michael Dawson.

Web of Deciet/Broken Promise

Introduction

I became aware that South Tyneside Council were manipulating their complaints procedure, which has three stages, when I complained that the planning officer promoting the redevelopment of 71 and 72 Greens Place, South Shields had not followed the guidelines given in SPD9. The Council told the Ombudsman that they had followed the guidelines and my complaint was not upheld.

To put it simply the Ombudsman turned a blind eye to the evidence I presented and Nos 71 and 72 will have to remain permanent reminder to those interested level of embedment of corruption in the planning and development offices in the Council and possibly the Local Government Ombudsman.

They are now just a permanent reminder because UK Docks started to build an enclosure over their slipway off River Drive in September 2013 while I was deciding whether to make a complaint about the way in which the Ombudsman had handled my complaint. We had discovered within a few days that the enclosure or shed was 3m taller than the height that had been approved in 1996 but planning officer in charge was addressing his emails:- RE: Approved boat repair shelter at Tyne Slipway, River Drive, South Shields.

Something was amiss but when the 1996 plans were recovered from the archive we were proved right and UK Docks were told to stop work on their shed and they did as soon as the structure was made stable and that left the Council/UK Docks with three decisions to agree:-

1. pull it down and put it in a non residential area;
2. rebuild it to the correct height;
3. put in a retrospective planning application for shed that was 3m taller, 1m wider and 5.5m longer than the one agreed in 1996.

The slipway off River Drive was ‘owned’ by UK Docks so they had no wish to consider the first option. The second one was not available because it left no room to operate an overhead crane and it would be too short to accommodate the latest ferries and the third was not available because it was unlikely that they would get a longer shed and that would make the business financially unviable.

It appears that the Council at a very senior level had decided to grant them their wish so that they could move their business from Commercial Road to River Drive and that was to maintain the lie that they had approval for the shed. South Tyneside Council had a tried and tested method of doing this and it involves repeating the lie through each cycle or stage of the complaints procedure until reaches the Ombudsman.

If for any reason honesty prevails and the fraud is revealed the Council just overwrite that stage so the fraud is reinstated because they can, they control the complaints procedure, and a bowdlerised version of the complaint is presented to the Ombudsman by the Council giving them misinformation and/or misrepresentation and it looks like the spokesman for the Council, a Senior Planning Officer, simply tells the Ombudsman that the complainant was making allegations, so the Inspector for the Ombudsman can turn a blind eye to the truth and she does.
How else can she say in her third and final draft:-

There is no evidence of fault in the way the Council dealt with the breach of planning control and its decision not to take enforcement action. It kept residents informed throughout the process. 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.

The Council then use that conclusion to ward off anyone trying to establish the truth behind a scheme such as an MP or the Press they are spun a version of that summary and if one attempts to correct the lie one is accused of making allegations and what started as a Cycles of Deceit had become a Web of Deceit.

Please read on:-

31 March 2022

Dear Nicola,

I have added my email, of the 25th March, to you and Gill Hayton, to that list of attachments because I have decided to copy the latest information to the two MPs who have been involved with the main issue, UK Docks’ Shed, for a number of years (nearly 7 for the MP for Berwick and nearly 5 for the MP for South Shields) – I was lodging in Amble 8-6 years ago and that may explain the MP for Berwick’s involvement two years before the MP for South Shields. Strange because UK Docks have no presence in Amble and definitely no oversize boat shed.

The purpose of my email to Ms Hayton on 26th October 2018 was to make it clear that that the same people giving misinformation and misrepresentation to the Local Government Ombudsman were giving much the same misinformation to the Monitoring Officers, the first being Mike Harding. He never answered any emails and when I complained about the conduct of Councillor Anglin, re the Town Hall meeting, November 2013, in 2018, it was Ms Hayton who was given the task of responding and she did so by repeating some of the fraudulent misrepresentations given to the Ombudsman, the main one being, that the height of the shed had been approved.

With regard to the height of the shed I tell her the Ombudsman said, in paragraph 34 in her Findings, 15-Apr-15:“I have seen the 1996 plans. On plan 1/B the applicant has written the proposed elevations at the inland end as 12.5 metres plus 3 metres. Mr X says the Council should not have taken the applicant’s word for this.

I go on to explain to Ms Hayton:- “If you have any doubt about what I am saying about the planned height of the shed please take a look at an authorised copy of 8296/2 and on the left hand you will get confirmation that the shed is 2.7m taller than planned ~ the left hand is the landward end!

Her response, 12-Dec-18, was a contradiction:- “Furthermore, the Ombudsman disagreed with your assertions as to the height of the development and whether that was not in accordance with the plans. The Ombudsman found no fault in how the Council determined the permitted height of the landward end of the development was 12.5 metres plus 3 metres.

The permitted height per Shed-Heights.pdf is 12.8m, 8296/2 being the only drawing from 1996 with dimensions and it shows, to put it bluntly, that someone was lying when they told the Ombudsman the approved height of the shed was 15.5m at the inland end and I suggest you ask Mr Simmonette to take a good look at 8296/2 because I told him much the same thing as I told Ms Hayton, three years earlier on the 30th September 2015:-

Drawing 8296/1A was not authorised by T&WDC and I believe it was because of the misleading dimensions but they did authorise drawing 8296/2. If the gradient (2.656m) is used to give it a scale the dimensions of the elevation are:- 13m road end, 16m river end and length 22m. This gives much weight to the contention that the shed has been built 3m too high.

1

While the dimensions are approximations to the nearest meter, they clearly reflect the truth i.e. the shed is 3m taller than planned and he ducks the issue by not responding and probably because I reinforced the point later in that email letter by asking Mr Simmonette:-

Please examine the drawing 8296/14 yourself and tell me that a) it is not to scale, b ) the height is not about 15.5m (rather than 18.5m) and c) the elevation is not the river end. This drawing shows that taking the gradient into account the planned height of the road end elevation should be about 12.5m, not 15.5m as built.

I think I have demonstrated that the current slipway shed is built 3m higher than any plans provided by South Tyneside. I does not appear to be good planning practice to consider an application to extend a structure when it has been built without planning permission.

Added to the fact that I had earlier referred him to 8296/2, I had given him the choice of repeating those 3 lies or admitting that the shed was in fact nearly 3m taller than permitted and he avoided it by passing the choice to Customer Advocacy and Alison Hoy responded on his behalf on the 9th December 2015:-

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:-

From: mick.dawson at theharbourview.co.uk 
Date: Wed, September 30, 2015 9:09 am 
To: Garry Simmonette, Mick Dawson
Cc: George Mansbridge, Gordon Atkinson 
Subject None 
Title of letter - Amended Planning Application - ST/0461/14/FUL.

All people addressed knew that the the shed was, as I said, nearly 3m taller than planned because they would have seen 8296/2, Messrs Mansbridge and Atkinson had brought 8296/1A and 8296/2 to the meeting of 8th July 2014 instead of 8296/14 and it clearly gives the height of road or landward end of the shed as 12.7m.

You can see Alison continues to try and absolve them:-

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.
The Local Government Ombudsman’s final decision dated 15 April 2015 was that: This complaint is not upheld. In 2013 a developer resumed building a boat shed for which he had planning permission and had started building in 2001.

Alison went on to say:-

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.

The complaint response from the Council was mainly misinformation or fraudulent misrepresentation much of which was repeated to the Ombudsman. Please see the critism of paragraghs 30-38 of the Ombudsman’s Findings, as that summarised most of what I told the solicitor to whom I took Alison’s email, 9-Dec-15, in January 2016.

I’m not sure that I sent you a copy of his advice but I certainly sent one to Mrs Johnson and Customer Advocacy on the 15th January 2020. Incidentally it was the first item the list that Alison gave Paula Abbot on the 29th April 2021. If they have ‘lost’ their copies, one can be found at in the post:- Advice from solicitor 26-Jan-16.

The solicitor and I had discussed how the Council had maintained the lie that the shed had been built to the approved height for over two years and we reckoned it was because they had not recorded the original complaint so that they could then just repeat the fraudulent misrepresentation, that the dimension 12.5m plus 3m at the landward end had been approved again and again until it got repeated by the Ombudsman.

That was why the solicitor said I must raise a new complaint, advice from Peter Dunn, Solicitors:-

The new complaint being the misinformation and/or misrepresentation by the Local Authority in supplying information to the Local Government Ombudsman. Hopefully this can be dealt with as a “new” matter. If this complaint is not dealt with by South Tyneside Council, and it may well be that they say it relates to the old complaint, then I believe it justifies going straight to the Local Government Ombudsman.

A new complaint was not raised and it was the second Ombudsman that said it related to the old complaint. Not the original complaint, that went into the bin but the one presented to the first Ombudsman by South Tyneside Council. The first Ombudsman ignored my complaint that the shed was 3m taller than planned completely and based her findings on Mr Mansbridge creation and that was how the UK Docks got their longer shed.

I was looking forward to your response re Conflation when Leah posted to various people on your behalf on 24th December 2020:-

RE:   Conflation of Complaints. Date: 24/12/2020 (11:37:26 AM BST) From: Nicola Robason To:   mick.dawson@theharbourview.co.uk, Nicola Robason 
Cc:   Emma Lewell-Buck MP, Anne-marie Trevelyan MP, Cllr Angela Hamilton, Cllr David Francis, Peter Cunningham, George Mansbridge, Hayley Johnson, Alison Hoy, Garry Simmonette, Angela Coutts, Mick Dawson

Dear Mr Dawson Thank you for your email regarding complaints you have raised with the Council. I am writing to acknowledge receipt and confirm that this matter will be looked into and you will receive a response week commencing 4th January. Regards Leah

It would appear that whoever was running South Tyneside Council had become aware that once I had started the ‘Shed and Corruption’ series, where what it would lead to and instructed Ms Hoy/Ms Abbott to silence me again and it does mean that Leah’s promise has been broken.

Yours sincerely,
M Dawson

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

From Nicola Robason: 26-Feb-20

Dear Mr. Dawson,

I note the emails sent to me and copied to me dated 31 January and 24 February.
I confirm that Mr. Harding has now retired from the Council, which is why his email won’t be active.
My email dated 19 December 2019 set out my position on this matter. It remains the case that all complaints procedures relating to this matter have been exhausted both internally within the Council and externally.

Kind regards
Nicola

Nicola Robason
Head of Corporate & External Affairs and Monitoring Officer
South Tyneside Council
Town Hall and Civic Offices

Misrepresentation: 14-Jan-20

Two emails were sent to the MP and copied to Mr Palmer but not to Mr Buck as it was assumed that Mr Palmer had taken over from Mr Buck.

I spoke to on the phone to Mr Palmer but Mr Buck responded and therefore became the inadvertant target of Mr Palmer’s attempt to stitch me up. Following the phone call I wrote to Emma with a copy of the letter from Peter Dunn and Co. about the Council giving misinformation to the Ombudsman and copied it to Mr Palmer not to Mr Buck as I assumed from the call that Mr Palmer had replaced Mr Buck.

the email I sent in the morning was addressed to the MP (Emma), as was the one I sent the evening before. Both were copied to Mr Palmer, neither of them to Mr Buck and both emails to Emma had been blocked so how could Mr Buck respond to them without input from Mr Palmer?

  • it looks as if Mr Palmer had not made Mr Buck aware of the contents of the morning’s email as he could not of given his response in all honesty;
  • Mr Buck says Mr Palmer was polite, informative and accurate implying that I was not polite;
  • Mr Palmer was neither accurate nor informative and in the absence of a recording of the conversation you will have to take their word against mine.  To the ‘Dissection’ > >

Continue reading Misrepresentation: 14-Jan-20

Misdirection by Corporate Lead [1]

Date: 1 August 2016
Our Ref: CX/253539  > the letter to the CEO was about 248789
Your Ref: blank

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.

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

There is no evidence to suggest that there has been deliberate misinformation provided by Council officers to the Local Government Ombudsman, – misinformation is deliberate by its very nature!  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 can find no evidence that the Council did not fully comply with the investigator’s questions throughout the process.

  • why did they tell the Inspector that the extra width was not material when the Council had admitted that it was material;
  • why did they tell the Inspector that a drawing (8296/1B) was an approved one from 1966 when it was from 1997 and not approved;
  • why did they tell the Inspector that a gable end drawing on 8296/14 was not to scale when it clearly drawn to a scale of 1:100;
  • why did they say the same gable end could be the road end when it was the river end;
  • why did they say there were to be openings at both ends of the shed when you could have viewed it before extension and seen that there is no opening at the road end;

if they did not intend to deceive the Inspector.

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. The footings were laid in 2001 but not measured, complaint 248789 was closed and reopened as 253539 in 2014 and the Ombudsman misled in 2015. 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. See no evidence, above.

I refer you to an email sent on 9 December 2015 from Customer Advocacy (CA), 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.

I took the letter to a solicitor along with a binder full of the said repeated contacts and he hinted that it was not really a planning issue but a case of criminal fraud but the police were unlikely to act  because they would say it was a planning matter and civil action was out of the question so his advice was to say that the Council had given misinformation etc. to the Local Government Ombudsman.

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, – the first draft of the LGO’s bore so little resemblance to the complaint, summarised above, it was clear that the Inspector had been misinformed by South Tyneside Council so I wrote to my MP about it in March 2015. There was one letter to the MP for Berwick copied to the Chief Executive between then and the 9th December about the existing development. I wrote to the Planning Officer, Gary Simmonette, about the second phase of the development to which he did not respond. Mrs Hayley Johnson has  a) run two separate issues into one and b) covering for her mistake having told the MP for Berwick that there was nothing wrong with UK Docks development.
• 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, – the letter 1-Jun was the letter from the MP Trevelyan to the CEO responding to a letter I had written to MP Lewell-Buck in March. Mrs Johnson ought to have got her facts straight before she made allegations about anyone else.
• 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.
The approved drawings gave lie to what the Council had told the Local Government Ombudsman and I wished to advise Gary Simmonette of his mistake in covering up the fact that the cover had been built without permission before he made things worse for the Council but to no avail. Mrs Johnson does concede that it is a new planning application but the objection was that the first one was completed without planning permision. •  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.
See the list of misrepresentations given to the Inspector. There are more but they are quite involved and the 5 given are quite enough to be getting on with. One was particularly offensive as it they words onto my mouth that I never said and another was put in to change the sequence of events to put the Principal Planning Officer’s replies in a better light.
• Letter 8 July 2016 to the Chief Executive and the Ombudsman,   What letter!

If the facts are checked one will see that the Corporate Lead’s action and her justification for it, below, are unreasonable. If the Case Officer had not originally misrepresented the plans to the meeting in November ’13 there would have been no need to raise the original complaint – 248789. If the Council had not tried to cover this up there would have been no need for a ‘persistent complainant’.

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:
• submitted repeated complaints, essentially regarding the same issue, after our complaints process has been exhausted, The issue is not exhausted until the Council answer the question about planned height of the shed which we believe to be 12.7m and what the approved drawings indicate.
• attempted to have the complaint reconsidered in ways that are incompatible with our adopted complaints procedure, or with good practice, – pure hypocrisy:
• 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, I had not written to the local police, independent auditors or the Standards 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’.
I wrote: “Are you 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 ‘legal’ or should I say compliant. It appears she wishes that members of the Residents Group should remain ignorant of the fact that the shed was not compliant and built without planning permission?”
• refused to accept the decision of the Council or Local Government Ombudsman, by arguing points of detail. 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  and approved by the Planning Manager which I considered more valid.

I now consider this matter closed. – she does not wish to talk about a Senior Planning Officer giving misinformation to the Ombudsman! Should you continue to repeat historic complaint issues in your contacts, we will consider imposing formal restrictions – she did and gave a shield for the Executive to hide behind! 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, – they do not because they conflate a complaint about way they handle a complaint with the complaint itself! including any that may arise from a new planning application, are dealt with appropriately and that you receive a response where necessary.

Yours sincerely,
Hayley Johnson
Corporate Lead Strategy and Performance