Cllr A: TGA notes

15th October 18

Dear Secretary,
I’m sorry to have included you latest correspondence I am having with Councillor Hamilton but you were secretary of the Tyne Gateway Assn (TGA) during the time of which we speak.
You can see our new Councillor is having the same trouble with the Council as we had five years ago, the main difference being that we were only having trouble with Principal Planning Officer, Mr Peter Cunningham and she is now having trouble with the entire Council.
When Mr Cunningham began to be evasive, not producing approved plans, not telling us how big the framework was and referring people to the ‘Complaints Procedure’ etc., we held a meeting in the Littlehaven and about 20 or more people attended.
I’m not sure who proposed it but I supported and spoke for the motion to resurrect the Tyne Gateway Assn which under the chairmanship of Graeme Watson had gone dormant. If you remember he was not elected to the post but inherited it because Paul Machel had moved away. I only supported it because I thought Mr Watson would stand down because of his business interests.
You will remember that Graeme was rather stubborn on this issue, he clearly did not want to have anything to do with the protest against UK Docks. He ignored emails etc. and in the end Melanie and I had to pester you as the last secretary to get the show on the road again. We should have asked him to stand down forcing an EGM but we fudged it and called for an AGM which proved a disaster in retrospect. Not only did he not stand down, his employer, Mr Ken Haig was elected Treasurer and then to make things even worse, we turned to the Councillors for help.
You weren’t to know about Messrs Watson and Haig’s business interests but I did and I tried to raise the issue at the first committee meeting on the 15-Nov-13. I refer to Item 2 of the committee meeting minutes, 15-Nov:

All members outlined their reasons for wishing to be involved in the Association, it was confirmed that no one has any vested interest or connection to the development at Tyne Slipway.

Graeme said nothing and all Mr Haig said was that he had not met Harry Wilson. Methinks, he was being a little economical with the truth, the Director of UK Docks was of course, Harry’s son, Mr Jonathan Wilson.
Two people dependent on the good will of the ship repair yards on the Tyne were elected to the most powerful posts on the committee of residents group opposed to the redevelopment of a boatyard into a ship yard. Think about it.
Don’t think that for one minute that UK Docks would have been unaware of of the goings on at the TGA and who was in charge and I refer to Ken Haig whatever Graeme told you. I note from the minutes, we had by mid November, received confirmation about the height but nothing about the width, presumably because whoever measured the structure realised that it was nearly a meter wider than permitted. See Item 5:
Issues to be taken forward:
• Structure is too high, possibly longer and wider than original approval. Suggestion that fishing boats, ferries and MOD contracts were to be sought for site.
• Are additional structures proposed?
• Planning process not followed, flawed as conditions 3 & 4 not discharged properly.
• Important that overall message from local residents is around the inappropriateness
of the development for the local area. Too close to residential properties.

It looks like Cllr Anglin and Mr Cunningham between them had changed the agenda of any future meeting. There would be no consideration of the size of the shed just talk about procedures and future plans, See item 7:

Cllr Anglin has spoken to Graeme and informed him that he is meeting with Peter Cunningham next week with a view to clarifying that procedures have been followed correctly and ascertain future proposals for site.
It was suggested that someone from the committee should attend this meeting;Graeme will contact Cllr Anglin and ask if the committee can be represented. Graeme and Mick to attend, and others if appropriate.

If you look back to what was said at our AGM on the 9-Nov-15:

Cllr A would like clarity on height and how measured, original drawings show height from back of site down to river as 12m – if incorrect information, Cllr A will go back with a vengeance.

Cllr Anglin may have intended to get some clarity but it looks like the width issue was sidestepped altogether and the height issue dropped before Graeme and I even went to the meeting. We believed that the shed was both too high and too wide and had gone to the bother of resurrecting the TGA to find a way round the wall put up by the Council and there was Cllr Anglin conspiring with Mr Cunningham to render the TGA ineffective by patching it up.
The Councillors are now part of the wall and although Councillor Woods found excuses he should be included with Cllrs Anglin and MacMillan.
The meeting at the Town Hall, 25-Nov-13, to discuss whether the shed was approved was becoming packed with people determined to see that the subject was not mentioned. There were six at the end, Mr Haig turned up unexpectedly with Mr Watson. I was left as the only person out of the six that attended the meeting with honest intentions.What galled me most when we had to report back to the rest of the TGA, I had to go along with the misrepresentation it was was built with approval.
Messrs Watson and Haig may have been happy to lie on behalf of the UK Docks and the Council but I was not. A day or so after the meetings I went and measured the width for myself, found it to be a meter wider than planned. I then wrote to all at that meeting and the rest is history. You can see why the Council still won’t discuss the plans with us.
Incidentally, what happened to the balance, for the end of year 2013/14, it was well over £100? It was handed over the new Treasurer voted in on 9-Nov-13. If the TGA has been dissolved I think we are entitled to know what happened to it.
Kind regards,
Michael.

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