Category Archives: South Tyneside Council

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)
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.
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.
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.


Disappearing Footpaths

When Garlands applied to South Tyneside Council for permission to build their Call Center they anticipated a workforce of about 800 and permission was granted for two office buildings and a large overspill car park:-

Garlands is delighted to announce a major business expansion, with the creation of a new contact centre in South Shields, South Tyneside in North East England. The centre will comprise two new office buildings totalling 47000 sq. ft. within a two acre site. Construction of the new eight hundred seat centre will be carried out by Mandale Commercial Ltd. and work will start immediately. The centre is expected to open in February 2008. Over a thousand people could eventually work at the site.

Garlands went into administration in May 2010 and the Centre was shut down before they even put the second office in to use.

The site appeared to have been cursed because UtilityWise used the main office building for a while but they too went into administration in 2014. The car park only ever had an occasional visitor for many years and then the bricks that were laid to make it started to disappear.
When the ‘Call Center’ was converted into housing it was all fenced off in what appeared to have been a land grab by the developer while he carried out the conversion.

Continued in English Coastal Path


Methods employed by South Tyneside Council in evading an observation or complaint and in the example used the slipway company, had flouted one of the conditions of the original grant – that it be built to an approved set of plans

[1] Denial or unfounded contradiction, made in response;
[2] Complaint not recorded, nor questions answered;
[3] Conflation of complaints;
[4] Backward Pass to a body already in denial;
[5] Forward Pass or diversion into a dead end

This is a rationalisation of the table that began as a postscript to a letter to a Green Councillor in April 2021. The order in the earlier table reflected the date of occurrence, rather than their significance:- [1] Complaint or questions not recorded, [2] Back-pass, [3] Unfounded contradiction, [4] Conflation and [5] Diversion into a dead end.

That letter began with the introduction: While attempting to tidy the website it soon became clear that the timeline on which it was built was sound. It was based on the complaints raised by many, including Melanie and myself, that the enclosure (shed) on UK Docks’ slipway off River Drive, was to not built to the approved plans. It was taller by some 3m. The facts behind the letter to Melanie remain the same as do the conclusions one can draw from it and it beggars the question: why did the Council persistently lie about the height of the shed?

The Timeline was not only shared between Melanie and I but with many in the Council and the MP for South Shields, for instance. I was busy creating Part 3 when I received a message from the Council, less than thee weeks later, that they were going to ‘Shoot the Messenger’.

It was done because if the questions raised had been answered honestly it would have laid bare the corruption endemic throughout South Tyneside Council which was that the council were giving misinformation to the Ombudsman:-

I ask you (the Chief Executive) 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.
Continue reading Evasions

Advice from solicitor 26-Jan-16

Pdf copy of letter from Peter Dunn and Co.

The first draft came to 10 about pages and just repeated what I had told the solicitor so I decided to write directly to the CEO simply stating the main facts, the approved drawings state 22m x 12.2m x 12.7m(15.5m): 

The dimensions measured by the Council in September are as follows: length 22.254m, width 13.1m, height at the landward end 15.5m and height at the river end 18m. The gradient is 2.7m and there was no dispute about the planned width of 12.2m. There are four drawings available to determine the planned height. Logic rather than opinion dictates that the landward or road end is 13m or less and the river end is 15.5m

The CEO appointed his Corporate Lead to respond and she declared there was no misinformation  given to the Ombudsman.
A misrepresentation  in itself but the CEO has given her authority to use  subsection F (Unreasonable and/or Persistent Complainants. ) of some code to sanction me but it fails on two counts:

  1. There is only one instance from me  telling the CEO that the Council have been misleading to the Ombudsman;
  2. it is entirely reasonable to tell him that it is taller than the one approved  when it is taller than the one approved.

Naturally I point this out to her and also advise her that I sought a solicitors advice:

In my letter to Ms Hoy asking for a copy of your letter to the MP I said was I waiting to hear from the MP, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, before I complained to the LGO about their Inspector’s report. I have not yet complained. I consulted a solicitor about Ms Hoy’s letter because I felt that she was being used by Mr Simmonette to avoid answering the question of the planned height of the shed.

Ms Hoy was being used by Mr Simmonette to avoid answering the question of height and the Corporate Lead has gone further by denying there is anything wrong with the height.

I did complain to the CEO about the conduct of the pair (Mr Simmonette and Mrs Johnson, not Ms Hoy) but my letter remains on file unanswered because he deliberately conflates the complaint with the way the complaint was handled.

Dear Monitoring Officer 7-May-2019

The whole point of the original complaint, which I have attached, made when UK Docks restarted work on the enclosure in January 2014, was that they had not applied for retrospective planning permission and as far as I am aware they had not before they applied for permission to extend it, 20-05-2014. You can confirm that this is true.

Angela and therefore Julie have been misinformed by UK Docks and you can confirm that also. To it bluntly, whoever told them that UK Docks had submitted a retrospective application was lying. Continue reading Dear Monitoring Officer 7-May-2019

Cllr A Dear Monitoring Officer

Dear Monitoring Officer,
I have a complaint about the conduct of Councillor John Anglin re the Town Hall meeting 25-Nov-13.
A meeting in November 2013 with the Council was arranged by Councillor Anglin, about the height and width of the cover on UK Docks slipway on River Drive in South Shields and to get any evidence that it had been built to plan but we were told that it was compliant i.e. it had been approved and the meeting promptly moved on to speculation about further expansion of the yard.
We, the Residents were given to believe that the meeting was to be formal, and so it should have been: Continue reading Cllr A Dear Monitoring Officer

Email to Paul

On 3 Aug 2017, at 17:19, Michael Dawson wrote:
Hi Paul,
Because the landing was a restricted byway it was not really owned by anyone but it was the Council’s responsibility and they needed a Secretary of State’s decision to stop it off. To all intents and purposes the Council have given it to the Port of Tyne. 
Peter Cunningham just happened to be the Case Officer and what I trying to say was that he would have known Tyne Dock Slipway (leased by UK Docks) was going to close years ago and they were going to have to move another site. UK Docks would have to be found a new home when Tyne Dock was closed. Their MOD work specifies it had to be done under cover and the planned shed was not big enough to house an overhead crane and there was no guarantee that the plans for a bigger shed would be approved.  
The River Drive slipway the only suitable one for the pilot boats, border patrol boats and the Shields Ferries on the whole river I believe the UK Docks place on the Wear is suitable but the PoT would not let that happen. Nexus wouldn’t like it either. There is loads of foreshore suitable for another site but a slipway would have to be made.
UK Docks would have known that they could probably got away with the extra width but there is no way the could have got away with the extra length or height so they had to kid the Council that it was the approved height and use a second planning application to lengthen the shed. For that they needed the services of a new planning officer and a new agent, Gary Simmonette and Gary Craig.
The deception, that the shed was built to the correct height, was exposed when the drawings from the agents, Maughan Reynolds Partners, arrived at the Council’s offices. Its ironic that the Planning Manager approved them and then spent the next year and a half trying to devalue them.
I appreciate your commentary because it helps me sort my ideas out when I have to explain them to you.
I’ll stick with bounders although liars or hypocrites would be more accurate.  

Misuse of Complaints Procedure

by South Tyneside Council Staff.

when the Corporate Lead, the person responsible for the Council’s complaints, can write that there is no evidence of misinformation provided by Council officers to the Local Government Ombudsman it is plainly wrong. Even their Inspector doesn’t even deny it, he just says it is to late to complain.
It is hypocrisy for the Corporate Lead to say that attempts have been to have complaints considered in ways that are incompatible with their adopted complaints procedure – see list below.
And finally our complaints are now described as allegations which shows you the way that the Council’s Complaint Procedure (CCP) is going  under the guidance of the  Corporate Lead .

  1. referring one to the CCP instead of answering enquiries;
  2. not registering complaints when they are received and/or:
    • treating it as an enquiry and referring you again to the CCP;
    • passing it on for someone else to respond.

    adding misinformation, and it is rare that they miss the opportunity;

Continue reading Misuse of Complaints Procedure

FBR 248789 – the Misepresentations

The complaint of 10-Jan was not recorded. The description in 248789 is not the complaint. It reads: Comment: see email to planning 14/1/14.
Mr Dawson asking various questions relating to the ongoing development at the slipway, River Drive, South Shields.

The complaint had simply been hidden away and may as well been chucked in the bin. If you read through the entire lot you will see that the Planning Manager conceded that shed had not been built to approved plans and that was with reference to 8296/14.

You will also notice that he has written each of his responses in such a way to support the lie that the shed has approval and that included some fraudulent misrepresentations. The Planning Manager said:

  1. 28-Jan:  “In fact the 15.6m height is the height to River Drive and the height on the river side is some 3m greater when referring my figures on the gable end of the river end;
  2. 28-Jan: “It is therefore reasonable to say that 8296/1A, 8296/1B, 8296/2 and 8296/4 represent the development which was approved in 1996 – it is not reasonable. ../1A or ../1B give a height of landward end as 15.5m and are not authorised. ../2 is authorised and gives the height as 12.7m
  3. 13-Feb: The engineer chose to show a gable elevation of the structure (not drawn to scale) on the same drawing – it is to a scale of 1: 100

Continue reading FBR 248789 – the Misepresentations


Greens Place
South Shields
NE33 2AQ

Ref: 248789

2nd September 2016

Dear Ms Johnson

South Tyneside Council and the Local Government Ombudsman

Thank you for your letter of the 1-Aug-2016 in response to my letter to the Chief Executive on the 8-Jul-2016 about the conduct of his staff over the last two and a half years. Thank you also for the Section F document – Unreasonable and/or Persistent Complainants.
You say that you manage the process and staff that support customer complaints but you have not made it clear if the opinions expressed in it are your own or you are writing on behalf of the Council. As some of my complaint concerns staff who, I believe, report directly to the Chief Executive I think you may not a position to question their conduct in respect of my complaint 248789.
You will appreciate that when I am complaining about the conduct of Council staff I need a case for reference. I am basing it on 248789 but I note that you refer to 253539 in your reply on behalf of the Chief Executive. This may explain why you can find no evidence to suggest that the Council deliberately misled the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO).
Now I know one of your responsibilities as a Corporate Lead Officer I will take this opportunity to comment on your response to Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the MP for Berwick who wrote to the Chief Executive on 01-Jun-2015 from the House of Commons.
It would have been courteous of you to have sent me a copy of your letter in which you use the pejorative phrase ‘allegations raised by your constituent’. As it happens I did not see what you had written on 25-Jun, to the MP, till January 2016, some six months you had written it, and only then because I requested a copy from Customer Advocacy. I gave up asking the MP about whether the Chief Executive had responded and it was only Alison Hoy’s email to me on the 9-December 2015 that prompted me to ask. Ms Hoy kindly sent me a copy.
In my letter to Ms Hoy asking for a copy of your letter to the MP I said was I waiting to hear from the MP, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, before I complained to the LGO about their inspector’s report, f have not yet complained. I consulted a solicitor about Ms Hoy’s letter because I felt that she was being used by Mr Simmonette to avoid answering the question of the planned height of the shed.
The Solicitor’s view, off the record, was that UK Docks, in saying they were building the shed to approved plans when they were not, was probably criminal fraud but the police were unlikely to act on a planning issue. He also suggested a civil court may not be be the best way forward but he did say that in his view we needed to raise a new complaint. The new complaint being the misinformation and/or misrepresentation by the Local Authority in supplying information to the LGO. It so happens I’m using the UK Docks development but I could be using the application for demolition of the Beacon for instance.
You were not to know but the original letter to the MP was sent to MP for South Shields in March, but Anne-Marie Trevelyan responded because of parliamentary rules. It was becoming increasingly clear to me that the Inspector for the LGO was being misinformed by the Council as she was not taking any notice of what I was saying. It appears that she was taking more notice of the misinformation given her by the Council than what I was saying.
Anne-Marie’s summary of the situation is fair, it is certainly better than I could have done – She was however, not specific about which end of the shed has a planned height of 15.5m. I wrote to her and copied the letter to the Chief Executive and said :

You have not specified that the stated height (15.5m) is of the river end of the shelter and it is likely that, the Chief Executive, if he follows the arguments of the Planning Manager and Mr Mansbridge before him, will say it refers to the road end. The drawing, 8296/1A which they have used for their argument also states the height of the river end as 15.5 meters. This is clearly not consistent given the slope of the slipway.

You say you had made enquiries the matter. It appears that you were misinformed about 8296/1 A. It is not authorised. The Planning Manager said on January 28th 2014, “Following a search of our archived file the only drawings that we have that are stamped ‘Approved by Tyne and Wear Development Corporation’ are 8296/2 and 8296/4.”
As both ../1A and . ./1B show the river end to be 15.5m it is therefore equally reasonable for me to say that the road end is 12.8m. If, as the Planning Managers says, they are consistent with authorised drawing 8296/2 (river end height of 16m, road end of 13m), it will only go to confirm that the river end height is correct at 15.5m and not the road end.
Incidentally, 1B was produced in 1997 and, perhaps, should not be be considered as a legal document in respect of a grant made in 1996. In my letter to MP Trevelyan I go on to say:

Knowing that both ends of the slipway cover were given heights of 15.5m on drawing 8296/1A I used a different drawing to gain the admission of the Planning Department that the cover had not been built to an approved plan. They had said at first it was being built to approved plans.
This drawing, 8296/14, is available on the planning portal for all see (8296/1A is not readily available) and it shows the river end gable with door fittings. It has sufficient detail on it to determine that the height is near enough 15.5m i.e. – nowhere near the 18m of the built height of the river end.

I add a catch all at the end: “If the Chief Executive provides any new plans to show you that I am wrong in my assessment of the development on River Drive by UK Docks please let me know.”
You did not provide Anne-Marie with any new plans – ergo my assessment is correct and the LGO Inspector is wrong in her final assessment and therefore she has been misinformed by the Council.
1. How ‘deliberate’ it was, I cannot say, because I am not a legal expert;
2. Did it not occur to you that if I took the trouble to write to the MP I would be certain that what I said was true and stand in a court of law?
3. That if the river end is 15.5m the road end is not 15.5m, it is less by the slope of the slipway (gradient 2,7m) or 12,8m.
If you had reviewed the original complaint of the 10-Jan-2014 and the correspondence following it up to 13-February as I had asked of the Chief Executive you would have realised hat the Planning had effectively agreed that the was 2.7rn too high. He and I were discussing the height of the shed and he could no longer maintain the pretence that 8296/14 referred to the road end.
It appears from your letter that you have not reviewed the emails (10-Jan to 13-Feb 2014) as I suggested to the Chief Executive. Your legal section should be able to provide them but if not, I will be very willing to let you have copies.
One only has to look at the drawing to see that it is: a) the river end (note about access for boats) and b) has a height to width ratio of about 5:4 which corresponds with 15:12 not 18:12 whatever the scale of the drawing. Why he went on to say that it was not to scale, was not only irrelevant but appears to be a piece of misinformation designed to get himself out of an embarrassing situation. He had already said that the gable was the road end.
You say you can find no evidence to suggest that there has been deliberate misinformation provided by Council officers to the LGO. I suggested earlier that you may have been looking in the wrong place, 253539 instead of 248789 but it could be that I, clouded my explanation to the Chief Executive with too much information. I represent them again, more plainly I hope with the addition of the Case Officer’s item of misinformation first.

  1. 13-Jan: referral to meeting where we were told the shed was ‘legal’ [I went and measured the width of the shed after the meeting and found it to be a meter wider than planned. 8296/14 published in December 2013 confirmed it to be 2.7m taller than planned];
  2. 15-Jan: the base and height of the structure are compliant [see 1:13-Jan];
  3.  15-Jan: 8296/1A said to be approved, [the drawing is not approved];
  4. 15-Jan: The overall height of the structure as 15.5m above the foundation level at the landward end. [the dimension at the landward end is in error, it is 2.7m too high];
  5. 28-Jan: the Planning Manager said the drawing was the road end [it is the river end];
  6. 13-Feb: River end is not drawn to scale, [it is drawn to scale].

Four of these misrepresentations re-appear in the findings of the Inspector, 15-Apr-2015, in spite of reasoned arguments that I sent her. Items 3 and 4 link to #34 and #35 of the final LGO draft which illustrate how the Council deliberately misled the LGO .
34 -1 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 Dawson says the Council should not have taken the applicant’s word for this…The Tyne and Wear Development Corporation as planning authority approved this.
35 – In January 2014 the Council wrote to Mr Dawson about this. It said the overall structure on the plans is 15.5 metres at the land end and the foundations are 2.656 metres lower at the river end due to
the gradient…Since then the Council has consistently told Mr Dawson the shed is the correct height.
The the only difference between ../1Aand ../1B is the foundation detail. Tyne and Wear Development Corporation did not approve either of the drawings and ../1B was drawn in 1997. Items 5 and 6 link to # 37 of the final LGO draft.
37 – Mr Mr Dawson says plan 14 shows 15.5 metres as the river end height. The Council has explained to Mr Dawson why this is not the case….The drafter has not specified which end this is and the drawings are not to scale.
I explained to the inspector that 8296/14 referred to the river end of the shed and that it indicated a planned height of 15.6m. I have no record of the Council explaining to me why it was not the case and I do not think you will find one either. They do keep repeating, contrary to the evidence, that the road end is 15.5m but that does not make it true. The drafter has put a note on the drawing ../14 to say that strips are drawn aside to allow access for boats which makes it perfectly clear that the drawing is of the river end. I he boats come up the slipway from the river.
The LGO had been deliberately misinformed because items 2-6 appear at the end of each of paragraph, 1 for each of #34 and #35 and 2 for #37.
I did not bother to correct the misrepresentation, about drawing 8296/14 not being to scale, with the Planning Manager but that does not make it valid, I knew what he was saying was rubbish because it was me that pointed out to him that the draughtsperson had specified the size of the portal columns (and by inference the roof beams) from which one could gauge the height and the width of the shed. I’ll correct it now, and would appreciate it if you could communicate this to all of the Council especially Simmonette and Mansbridge:
· The beam, rafter and columns (horizontal, diagonals and verticals) are all the same dimensions (686 x 254mm) and by scaling give a size of 15.6m x 12.2m.
The width accords with the planned width of the 1 996 drawings so it is reasonable to assume that the drawing is to scale and that the planned height is 15.6m;
· The Planning Manager did not say it was out of scale when he assigned it to the wrong end of the shed;
· Customer Agency said it is clear that drawing 8296/1 4 was submitted in 201 3 for the purposes of discharging a planning condition and as such, could never supersede the previously approved plans in terms of defining the dimensions of the approved development. This would confirm 8296/1 A river end of 15,5m;
· No reputable firm of architects would publish such a detail such as this out of scale and anyone working in a well run planning office would know this;
· Maughan, Reynolds Partnership Ltd would not be at all pleased that the Council were giving a misguided opinion of their work to the LGO,
I can only say that if you, the Council that is, had been more honest from the beginning then I would not have needed to raise my original complaint in January 2014 and much, if not all, of the correspondence since then would not have occurred.
The Case Officer tells me the shed is compliant when it is not and says do not email him again, 20-Dec-2013, the Planning Manager repeats what the Case officer has said about compliance, 15-Jan-2014. He also says a drawing of the river end refers to the shorter road end of the shed and tries to pass me to the next stage of the Council’s complaints procedure. Worst of all the Head of Development Services says there is no significant variation in height when deciding whether to take enforcement action when I have already pointed out to him that the shed was more than 8ft (2.4m) taller than In the light of this volume of misrepresentation /misinformation generated by the Council concerning the development on River Drive I your threat of Section F as offensive and somewhat hypocritical. Just consider the bullet points in your letter:
· Letter to MP Trevelyan dated 1 June 201 5 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 201 5 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.
Mr Simmonette had not responded to my email about the illogicality of applying for planning permission to extend a shed that had been built without planning permission. He passed it to Ms Hoy to with;
• 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 have not written to the ombudsman yet as there are number of items of misrepresentation, about the development on River Drive, made by the Council to residents, the LGO and an MP that need 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,
The issue is not exhausted until the Council answer the question about planned height of the shed,
• 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 had not written to the local or the 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?
• 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. Please note that the complaint was not treated properly from the beginning:
1. the Principal Planning Officer received it but did not register it;
2. the Planning Manager quoted the escalation, not the complaint details;
3. Mr Mansbridge instructed his staff to wind it up before the first stage was complete. – see comment.
Is it good practice to tell representatives of a protest group and the Councillors that a structure is ‘legal’ when it is not? is it good practice to keep repeating that a structure is built to an approved height when it is not?
The Council have not produced any legal documents in nearly three years to support their contention that the shed is built to an approved height and no-one will enter into a debate about it. When probed, they: a) avoid the issue, b) say or imply, wrongly, that the shed is built to approved plans, c) refer the issue on to someone else or d) say the subject is closed. Apart from a) they often add or repeat an item of misinformation which is what has complicated the matter.
I have collected many examples of this sort of response from the Council, the first being from the Case Officer a few days after the frames were first erected because he did not answer the question, “Has the revised height of 15.5metres been approved or is it in breach of the 1996 Planning approval?” He referred the questioner to the Council’s complaints system.
Even Customer Advocacy would not settle the question of height, I had broached the subject with them in a letter to the Chief Executive 7-Jul-2014. It was never mentioned, in their Stage 3 reply, 25-Sep and I quote the relevant paragraph:
With respect to your comments about the deviation in the measurements of the shelter ‘as built’ compared to the approved scheme, I am satisfied that when George Mansbridge made the decision on behalf of the Council that it was not expedient to take planning enforcement action, he was fully aware of the discrepancies noted in your email with regards to the width of the structure and the variation in pillar angle.
Your response to my letter to the Chief Executive is just another example, I asked him to review the early correspondence from 248789 and pronounce on the planned height. You have not done this and now you now consider this matter closed. You have also included another misrepresentation i.e. there is no evidence to suggest that there has been deliberate misinformation provided by Council officers to the Local Government Ombudsman.
It is not a complex matter, as a UK Docks representative said to the local paper, Shields Gazette 9-Sept-13, “All I can say is that we have been through all the controls with the planners, and the work meets all the necessary legal requirements. All we are doing is going ahead with the previous planning permission.”
Quite simply, there was a lack of control over what UK Docks built, it not built to authorised plans and thus built without planning permission. It is still in use nearly three years after the local residents first questioned the height and received no answer.
Yours sincerely,
Michael Dawson
CC: Customer Advocacy – MH