Exhausted Complaints Procedures

Covering Email:- Shed and Corruption - Part 16
From: mick.dawson@theharbourview.co.uk
Date: 08/07/2022 (17:19:49 BST)
To: Helen Dalby
Cc: Emma Lewell-Buck MP, Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP,
Jonathan Tew, George Mansbridge, Alison Hoy
1 Attachment:- Exhausted Complaints Procedures.pdf

Dear Ms Dalby,

I have written about the corruption surrounding UK Docks’ shed on River Drive in South Shields for some time and have occasionally passed a copy to you because I thought one of your papers may be interested in the story.

Please see my latest, titled, Exhausted Complaints Procedures, which I have posted as Shed and Corruption – Part 16 which I have attached and hope is self explanatory.

I had planned it to send it to the current CEO, Mr Tew who appears to be content to do nothing about the increasing level of corruption being spread endemically from his office along the North East Coast and it was briefly mentioned in the reference to a Cautionary Tail on Page 4,  in my letter to Andy, who was mainly concerned with the gift a section of the English Coastal Path to some property owners on the banks of the Tyne but it would have just been filed away.

It appears to be quite complex but is very simply done. The Council argue with the people raising the issue about whether the public have access to the river while the planning officer in charge of the development accepts a plan from the developer’s agent which includes a section of the Coastal Path as part of his property. All the planning officer had to do was to ensure that earlier plans that show the Coastal Path, that are not part of the developer’s property, are removed or overwritten and get a Senior Planning Officer or someone with the equivalent authority to approve his scheme.

In the case of the redevelopment of the old call centre, the plans were approved by the Head of Development Services. I’ve tried to raise the issue in Amble regarding the fencing off of the footpath and but noted that when I contacted their Planning Office the first thing that happened was the plan which showed the footpath running the entire length of the eastern side of the marina disappeared and was replaced with one which showed one that went as far as the gate to the pontoon.

Please draw your own conclusion about the situation in Amble but it looks like someone has already decided to give that section of the English Coastal Path that was between the Marina and Coble Developments to Coble Developments, much as the section between the old call centre and the shore was given to the developer of the old call centre.

I said to the South Tyneside Council officer who falsely accused others and I of making allegations about the shed a number of years ago:- “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 notice that ‘the Press’ has been added to the list of those supposedly scatter gunned and it would appear that you are being being given one or two Johnson Type Lies (JTLs) to stop you making any further enquiries. I’m curious to know if they have been spinning similar JTLs to you over the years.

Kind regards
Michael Dawson

Exhausted Complaints Procedures

South Tyneside Council split Planning Control and Building Control into two distinct areas and it is embedded into their Complaints Procedure – The Area Planning Group and the Building Control Enforcement Policy: July 2008:-

The first is the Policy Statement:-

2.1 Fair and effective enforcement is essential to improve and protect the health, safety and quality of life of the people who live, visit and work in South Tyneside. Often a decision about enforcement action has implications for many people, either directly or indirectly and the enforcement of planning and building control is no exception.

2.2 The Area Planning Group and the Building Control section carry out a wide range of legal duties under the various Acts and Regulations. This policy applies to all aspects of the enforcement of Planning and Building Control including;

Works carried out without the necessary permissions
Works not carried out in accordance with the permissions granted.

The second is the Statement of Objectives where the most relevant part is:-

3.5 Building Control enforcement is different to the planning process. An offence, which can be prosecuted in the Magistrates Court, can be committed at various stages of the development where the developer fails to comply with the requirements of the Building Act 1984. We will attempt to resolve a situation without recourse to formal action, but will use such powers where all other attempts have been exhausted. *

* underlined to emphasise the point that exhaustion of a complaint is not part of the planning process and there is no description of how a complaint can become exhausted in the Complaints-Policy-2019v1.5.pdf.

It is safe to assume other authorities apply the Act of 2008 in a similar way and why a solicitor will reasonably advise that the police will not involve themselves in “Planning Matters”. One can easily see if a developer has followed the conditions laid down when the permission was granted by taking measurements and comparing them with the approved plans. Where a developer had not sought permission the process is very obviously different and not relevant to any cases being considered on this site.

It is a simple as that, and when someone from the Council starts repeating that a complaint has been ‘exhausted’ one can safely assume that the developer has not complied with some or part of any conditions of a grant of approval and that the planners and their managers have something to hide. Mind, in more than eight years of dealing with their Planning Officers, I have never heard one [of them] say that a complaint has been exhausted.

Customer Advocates are different and I quote from 29-Apr-22:-

Good afternoon Mr Dawson, Please find attached a letter regarding the review of the contact restrictions currently in place. By way of clarification, the scattergun point quoted from the Council’s Complaints Policy does not necessarily refer to all such options being pursued, but that one or more such avenues is being pursued despite the Council’s complaints procedure having been exhausted.
yours sincerely,
Alison Hoy, Information and Feedback Officer.

Note her use of ‘exhausted’ and that she so keen to Section me for another year that she had no time to read my criticism of the use of the word ‘scattergun’ that I had put in the forward to Shed and Corruption – Part 14:- “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.

After my criticism, Mrs Johnson sensibly dropped all references to scattergunning and I am surprised that she had told neither told Ms Hoy nor Ms Abbott who accused me of it a year ago that its use was unwise:- 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’ [to mean approved]. Are you suggesting that the Councillors should not be told that they were misinformed by a Principal Planning Officer of the Council?

In a similar way, UK Docks said of their shed on River Drive that it met all the ‘legal’ requirements when they knew it was taller than permitted and again while planning officers do not use the term legal to mean approved they do not correct others from using the misrepresentation. Unfortunately for South Tyneside Council some of their elected members were willing to muddy the waters, e.g. Councillor Anglin said of a meeting held in the Town Hall in November 2013:- Michael, I took no minutes as is customary at these informal meetings. For your record I am sure all would agree that the Exec representatives of the Group accepted that the construction had been made legally as per drawings seen.

In the case of UK Docks shed, the overbuild was obvious. The approved plans say it should have a height of 15.5m at its river end but it was built to a height of 18.2 meters at that point. It really is that simple. A variation of 0.7m could possibly be dismissed a non material variation but 2.7m, never. The reason for quoting 0.7m is again simple, it is the depth of the beams (686mm) used to support the roof and can be used to confirm the overall dimensions on an approved a scale drawing.

No-one has ever disputed the dimensions on my annotated copy of 8296/14 and it was by reference to it that I managed to convince Mr Atkinson that we were right about the shed’s height.

When I thanked him for the concession following the meeting of the Local Residents, at the sailing club in Littlehaven, I deliberately referred to 8296/2, the only approved drawing from 1996 with a dimension because he had lied when he had said that 8296/14 was not drawn to scale. In the same email I made a request on behalf of all the local residents with the exception of the owners of 71 and 72 Greens place for the shed to be removed:- The immediate response from residents was to request the slipway construction be removed. However the universally agreed request of Council, is that there is immediate cessation of work on the Slipway Shed until such time as appropriate community consultation with the relevant council departments can be arranged.

2 thoughts on “Exhausted Complaints Procedures”

  1. Ms Hamilton said in September 2014 that drawing 8296/14, submitted in 2013, could never supersede the previously approved plans in terms of defining the dimensions of the approved development (8296/2) and it did not, give or take, 10 cm.
    The value of 8296/14* in defining the approved height was confirmed when the Planning Manager lied about it not being to scale in February 2014 and confirmed by the Head of Development Services in June that year by saying the same thing. Ms Hamilton avoids lying about the scale by attributing Mr Mansbridge:- “Mr Mansbridge stated in his Stage 2 response that the engineer chose to include a gable elevation of the structure on the same drawing but told you this was not drawn to scale.
    The Local Government Ombudsman goes even futher to avoid repeating the lie by failing to mention 8296/14 in her findings of April 2015.
    * page 2, paragraph 4 refers.

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