Here is a summary the former Undercurrents site which has overwritten by STC and the LGO when the corrupt practices found in the Town Hall over-flowed into the Office of the MP for South Shields, at the beginning of 2020.
In the first six months of 2020 it was under under the control of a Mr Palmer while the MP was very busy in Parliament representing the people that voted for her.
The main trouble with South Tyneside Council (STC) is that if they do not wish to consider a complaint they kill it:
- by not responding or acknowledging it and doing nothing;
- by not registering it or by registering it incorrectly;
- by responding with an outright contradiction, i.e. one complains that a neighbours shed is 3m taller than planned and the Council say that is not 3m taller than planned;
- by conflating the way they handle a complaint with the complaint itself;
- by passing the responsibility back to someone who has already ‘dealt’ with it and giving the same response (back pass);
- by referring it to another officer with some misinformation i. e saying it was about enforcement when in fact it was about the lack of enforcement (forward pass);
- suggest you raise a complaint and if that is done, they say that the complaint the issue has been exhausted or had already been discussed: May I therefore suggest that you speak with the Chair of the residents group in respect of the points that you have raised below, as these have already been discussed and explained. If you are still not satisfied with the Council’s response then you should use the Council’s complaints procedure which has 3 stages.
If they fail to kill the complaint with any the above they drive it through to the Ombudsman whom they mislead to hide or deny any malpractice. They then use Ombudsmans Findings which include the original lie, No. 3 in the list, to ward off any further enquiries.
When you consider that they have three stages in their complaints procedure and they treat the Ombudsman as a fourth stage you find your are having to repeat yourself many times and that always falls at the last hurdle which is to present the truth to a second inspector and that fails because they conflate your complaint that something is wrong with the way the Council apply procedures with the fact that they have misled the Ombudsman. No 4 in the list above.
Apart from that, each response is often accompanied by misinformation which is later said to be a fact, e.g. they say non approved drawings drawings, were approved.
They also play off roles of the Planner and Building Inspector in such a way as to avoid responsibility for making sure that buildings are built to plan and by that, they remove the need to take enforcement action.
There is a myth which the Council are quite happy for people to believe and that when someone says that a development is ‘legal’ that they had approval for it.
It is highly unlikely and in the case of UK Docks it was used to hide the fact that they did not have approval for their shed. It is not until the Council’s Enforcement Officer tells them to build it without material variation from the approved plans and they refuse to do so, that the question of legality arises.
These are the loopholes used by STC to allow buildings to be built without planning permission not only do they allow others to the use of the term ‘legal’ to mean compliant or approved they are very liberal with the borderline between what is and what is not, a material variation.
The main complaint with South Tyneside Council is that:
• building inspectors are elusive and difficult to get hold of and planners do not pass messages to them;
• the building inspectors are extremely lax in bringing breaches in planning/building control to the attention of the enforcement officer.
The Council generally treat the Ombudsman as a further stage in the complaints procedure which is not available to people without the system and that obliges the Ombudsman to complicit in the corruption of the complaints procedure by simply dismissing the complaint against them and puts you back to where you began, in the case of UK Docks to September 2013, by saying:
I consider that your latest complaint remains that of your previous complaint which has already been determined.
This is then is modified for use by the Council as: It remains the case that all complaints procedures relating to this matter have been exhausted both internally within the Council and externally.