UK Docks were allowed to build, without planning permission by South Tyneside Council (STC), a shelter on their slipway on the banks of the Tyne in South Shields. In spite of protests from the first, that it was bigger than planned, South Tyneside Council did nothing to halt, apart from a temporary stoppage, the completion of the shed.
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The Council must have been aware of the breach of the 2nd condition because they forced UK Docks to stop work on the structure on or before September 23rd 2013 (note; there was a site inspection in October to confirm that work had stopped and then none for a futher 5 months).
Meanwhile the Principal Planning Officer continued to hide the fact that the approved plans indicated that enclosure (shed) was nearly 3m taller than permitted, 20-December 2013:
I have measured this on site and have copied the 1996 plans across to you twice already 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.
He and the people following him managed to do this for six years by denying that anything was amiss:-
As the Principal Planning Officer refused to answer direct questions about the size of the shed the residents tried to involve the MP but were met with a poor response.
The newly elected MP, Emma Lewell-Buck, was not to blame for she had only been in post for six months and South Tyneside Council were happy to give her the same misinformation that was being pumped out by the Planning Office over the phone to the Local Residents.
They then decided to resurrect the Tyne Gateway Assn which turned out to be a mistake because with the interference of Cllrs Anglin and Macmillan the two main posts, Chair and Treasurer, went to two people who had an interest UK Docks (director and procurement officer of HB Hydraulics.
At a meeting in November 2013 to arranged to review the supposed Grant given to Tyne Slipway in 1996 no valid plans were produced because they would have shown that the Residents correct and, to put it bluntly, the Principal Planning Officer was being economical with the truth.
The Chairman and 2 of the 3 Ward Councillors were clearly working with the Principal Planning Officer at the meeting to suppress the fact that the shed was too tall, I decided to raise a complaint on behalf of the Residents misrepresented at the meeting about the shed being wider and taller than planned but it got nowhere, partly because it showed that this member of the Group (not an Exec representative as reported by the Councillor) had not accepted that the construction had been made legally as per drawings seen but more importantly that the Enforcement Officer had not been alerted.
By this means the Council avoided taking enforcement action and that led to UK Docks telling an MP and a Cllr in 2019 that they had been given permission retrospectively in 2019 and again this was a lie and it took eight months to get the truth out of South Tyneside Council.
It was it was not logged and may as well have been chucked in the bin. The Council did not properly acknowledge the complaint, they introduced out of date or unapproved plans and passed the buck so far up the management chain that it ended up in them having to give misinformation to the Local Government Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman therefore did not uphold the complaint that the structure was both higher than wider than planned and the Council then had no hesitation in using the Ombudsman’s ill informed judgement to mislead our Members of Parliament (South Shields and Northumberland) and any other enquirers about the status of the structure.
All through this process they: the Planners, the Senior Management and even the Chief Executive, have been asked repeatedly to provide documentation to back their claim that structure is compliant with respect to height but they have failed to produce any. They cannot produce any because there is none.
They either use an unauthorised drawing or one that was not produced for the planning application. If one tries to dig deeper they say:
“The previous issues relating to the boat yard have in fact now been looked at by the Local Government Ombudsman and they found no issue with the yard or anything relating to its development. Unfortunately, the Ombudsman’s decision cannot be re-visited.” ~~~~ MP 06-Sep-17
This all changed when UK Docks as good as admitted that they had not built their shed to authorised plans after all in April 2019 while for five and a half years South Tyneside Council have been telling people that their shed is fine.