In the Planning Manager’s reply to my email of 24th Jan 2014 I felt that the Planning Office were ‘Stone Walling’ again by trying to sideline me into the complaints system instead of replying to my enquiries. The Principal Planning Officer had refused to admit that the cover had not been built to plan and it was beginning to look like the Planning Manager was going to try the same thing with the height alone. He has conceded is built about 1m too wide but has not conceded that it is also 3m too high. With help from someone used to advising insurance cases I tried a new approach by combining the reply, notice the PROTECT appearing again, and wrote:-
NB: the north end is the river end of the shed.
From: M Dawson
To: Planning Manager
Subject: Slipway Development, River Drive
Date: Mon, 3 Feb 2014 15:10:35
From: Gordon Atkinson
To: M Dawson
Subject: Slipway Development, River Drive
Date: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 11:01 AM
This email has been classified as: PROTECT
Dear Mr. Dawson
Dear Mr Atkinson,
Thank you for you reply and attached documents. I am writing to you again because there are still outstanding issues. I am also concerned that you and your colleague Mr Peter Cunningham (e-mail dated 13 January) appear to be in too much haste to direct me to the complaints procedure. I do not consider my questions concerning the slipway development constitute a complaint.
The Council was contacted by local residents in early September 2013 when the steelwork erection commenced. We weren’t able to immediately identify the archive case and the company provided from its own sources copies of drawings numbered 8296/1B and 8296/2, which is why those drawings are stamped received by us 6 Sep 2013. 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. 8296/1A and 8296/1B are consistent with these two stamped drawings in terms of overall dimensions. It is therefore reasonable to say that 8296/1A, 8296/1B, 8296/2 and 8296/4 represent the development which was approved in 1996 (the only difference between 1A and 1B being to the foundation detail).
My understanding from Mr Cunningham (meeting 25th November Council Offices) is that the Council had a meeting with the applicant or his representative on August 20th prior to the steelwork being erected. I am therefore curious as to why the Planning department did not have drawings to hand and had to consult their archive. You state it is ” reasonable to say” that drawings 8296/1A and 1B “are consistent with these two stamped drawings in terms of overall dimensions” However the stamped drawings you refer to, 8296/2 and 4, have no dimensions. The only similarity between the drawings is the overall tapered shape. I therefore propose that your assertion that 1A and 1B represent the 1996 approved development is not “reasonable”.
The dimensions measured by the Council in September are as follows:
Height at end facing River Drive 15.5m
Height at end facing river 18m
Thank you for confirmation that the current construction is a meter wider than the “approved plans” at 13.1m. I would like to direct your attention to the following communications between myself and your department:
To Peter Cunningham on 19th December 2013, “I have sufficient skills in surveying to be able to measure the width of the structure without access to the site and can say with confidence that it is 13.20m wide give or take 0.05m.”
Response from Peter Cunningham 20th December: “I have measured the site and have copied the1996 plans across to you twice already … and I have explained during our meeting that the base and height are compliant.”
E-mail received from yourself 15th January: ” The dimensions of the steelwork have been checked on site and they are in accordance with the measurements shown on the approved drawings”
I hope this was not an attempt to evade the issue. I now feel confident to assert again, that the current structure is not built to “approved” plans.
8296/14 is the recent drawing and the only purpose of that is in regards to the condition dealing with the strip curtain door fixing details. You explain that you have measured the height from this drawing as 15.6m, and you seem to have assumed that is the riverside elevation, and have adjusted for the gradient of the slipway and concluded that the height at the River Drive side should be in the order of 3m less. In fact the 15.6m height is the height to River Drive and the height on the river side is some 3m greater.
With reference to the drawing 8296/14 I have made no assumptions regarding this drawing but have taken my information from the drawing. There are three indicators that the elevation is the north end of the structure:
- Detail notes on the drawing ” strips to draw back to each side to allow access for boats”
- The section at the door jam shows the cladding on the downward ie.North/river end. The alternative would have the cladding on the inside of the building.
- The apparent use of third angle projection would imply that the door is at the north end. The north elevation height is therefore 15.5m and subsequently the south elevation 12.5m.
What made you determine that the elevation is the South end when there is no such detail on the drawing?
As I mentioned earlier, drawings of historic cases are not put on the Planning Explorer. Nevertheless, the files are publicly available for inspection and we have for several months shared all information that we have with the members of the public who are interested in this case. As requested, I attach the copies of 8296/2 and 8296/4.
There is no more I can add and I feel that we have answered all your questions. You say at the beginning of your message that you believe that the structure is not consistent with any of the drawings. We have looked at all the material available to us and measured the structural frame when it was erected. I have previously told you that the variation in angle of the pillars is not considered to be material. I can only suggest that if you do wish to pursue this matter further you ask that my Head of Service, George Mansbridge, responds to any remaining points you may have formally under stage 2 of the Council’s complaints procedure. You will have to write to him and say specifically what you remain unhappy about.
As you can see there are questions to be answered. I still maintain particularly with your detailed measurements, that the structure is not consistent with any of the drawings. I would like to know why you consider the variation of the pillar angle is not material particularly as the Agent has had to provide a new drawing (Aug.’13) for the cladding and fixings.
I am very concerned, that considering the problems this planning application has caused in the past, that Council did not do more to consult local residents. I am aware that even the Councils own Environment Department made objection to the development in 1996.
The current structure does not conform to any approved plans. How can the council justify allowing work to continue when condition 2, and I quote “The development to which this permission relates shall be carried out in complete accordance with the approved plans and specifications” has not been discharged.