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
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.
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.