Ref: STC 248789 and LGO 14 015 052.
Copy of hand delivered letter to Mr Swales
8th July 2016
Dear Mr Swales,
South Tyneside Council and the Local Government Ombudsman
This letter concerns the conduct of your staff over the last two and a half years and has been occasioned by the email on December 9th, from Customer Advocacy (CA).
The Council will not declare what the planned height of the shed is;
The Council repeat unfounded statements;
The Council say that drawings are not to scale without reason;
The Council use unauthorised drawings as if they were legal documents.
In their email to me, CA said I was not satisfied with with the response from my emails to the Case Officer about enforcement. While the correspondence may have alluded to enforcement, it was principally about the impropriety of extending a shed that had been built without planning permission with particular reference to the height and I said:
“If you disagree with the proposition that the cover has been built 3 meters higher than planned, please give your reasons to me and I will ensure that they are circulated widely.”
The Case Officer did not respond to my email of 30th September nor to my reminder of the 4th December and it is probably safe to say he has no valid reasons to disagree with the proposition. CA go on to say that the matter has been investigated fully by the Council and also considered by the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) who say:
“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 explanations I had given to the Case Officer about the planned height were a rewording of what I had said to the Inspector for the LGO and if you look at those explanations you will see that I am right about the planned height of the shed and that the Inspector had been wrongly advised by the Council.
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 follows some three pages (16 hundred words) explaining how the Council misinformed the LGO and a full copy of this letter is found in the pdf file: to Mr Swales, and I conclude by saying:-
I have been advised you may well say that all this relates to an old complaint and so I will ask you for a “new” complaint based on this letter and if you will not deal with it then the Local Government Ombudsman can deal with it. The Council’s “Complaint’s Procedure” is not appropriate, it has failed. It has failed not only me but all the local residents and Petitioners as well.