of the ‘legal’ Shed.

There is, considered by those who live nearby, a most inappropriate slipway development by UK Docks in South Shields. In very early September 2013, large cranes arrived on site and work began on erecting five steel frames of what was to become a large slipway cover or shed.

The local newspaper was told by UK Docks; “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.” They were not going ahead with it.
If they meant that it had been approved then it was fraudulent misrepresentation because it had not been approved, being 3m taller than permitted and we were handed misleading drawings by the Council to claim otherwise.
UK Docks initially hid the fact that unclad structure was taller and wider than planned from the Council but when it was measured on September 17th 2013 the site was closed as the plans recovered by the council showed that the shed was in beach of planning control and a stop notice was issued.
Little or no notice had been taken of our complaints and we were not told that UK Docks had been ordered to stop work on their ‘shed’. It was significant that Case Officer stopped corresponding with us at the same time so attempts were made to activate the local residents group but that failed because it fell under the control of the Council through the agency of the ward Councillors  and UK Docks through the agency of the Director and Procurement Officer of a company who advertised that they supplied services to Navel Dockyards.

Generally the complaints or objections to the Council included:-

  • What was going on and why weren’t residents informed.
  • Concerns about the height and width of the structure.
  • Environmental concerns.
  • Noise when in use.
  • Change of use from light to heavy engineering.
  • Does not appear to fit in with any strategy plans.
  • Little or no information on the Planning Portal.

Our Petition, April 2014 came to nothing because it was given to the Head of Development Services to answer and he just repeated what we told at, or following, a meeting at the Town Hall, November 2013.
No plans that confirmed that the shed was built to the permitted height were produced at the meeting because there were none.

Instead we were told  by the Principal Planning Officer when he said on 20th December 2013:

Mr Dawson – once again – I have measured this on site and have copied the 1996 plans across to you twice already (attached again for your use) and I have explained during our meeting that the base and height of the structure are compliant…this is the end of the matter as far as I am concerned.
Please do not email me again.
Peter Cunningham
Principal Planning Officer

He was comfortable with this lie because he knew that the management chain including the Head of Development Services would misinform the Ombudman if they approved of what he was doing. It looks like they did approve of what he was doing because they did misinform the Ombudsman.

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