Reasons for Delay

Your ref: 17 001 436


Dear Mr Lewis,

Complaint against South Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council

Thank you for responding. My records show that your Inspector, Adele Reynolds, sent her final draft for 14015052 on the 15th April 2015, not in March as you say in your letter.

This is important because I wrote to my MP about the slipway cover on River Drive being 3 meters higher than planned on the 31st March 2015. I could see from your Inspector’s first draft, 9th March, that she had bypassed the main point of my complaint, i.e. we were told that the cover was built to approved plans when it had not and she had ignored the height question completely. Continue reading Reasons for Delay

Whitewash by LGO

The final draft of the Ombudsman Decision was dated 15-April-2015. That Mr Lewis is cheating me of one month is not trivial. I realised the Council were more than just misinforming the Ombudsman and wrote to my then MP about it at the end of March before waiting for the final draft.

When I say more than just misinforming the Ombudsman they go on to use the ‘Findings’ to stymie any enquiry at all and that includes me.

The one example, I’m aware, of is a response to the MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan and that  was only the sixth attachment! South Tyneside Council will not say what the letter or what the contents of the other attachments are.

Mr Lewis made no apology for cheating me out of a month. The rather arbitrary time limit  at that time was three months.

Dear Mr Dawson
Complaint against South Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council
Thank you for your complaint. The time period for requesting review of the Local Government Ombudsman’s decision is three months (which would apply from March 2015). Could you therefore provide your grounds for a review of that decision and why your request could not have been made within that time limit?
Yours sincerely
Paul Lewis

I  gave him quite a lot of examples of the misinformation but will just give one of the grossest here:

That a Senior Council Planner (# 31) thought that he could get away with passing off an unauthorised drawing from 1997 as a legal one from 1996 (#34) is shocking but sadly it appears to have worked, and it does not reflect very well on the office of the Local Government Ombudsman.

When you know that the Senior Planner had sent a copy of 1B after the demolition job had been done on the virtually identical 1A and it can be proved you will understand why he could not flatly deny my complaint:

The Council misinformed your inspector Adele Reynolds so my complaint against them was not upheld.

To finish Mr Lewis puts the following under the cover of a note of confidentiality (shades of STC using PROTECT):

Dear Mr Dawson
Complaint against South Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council.
Thank you for the chronology to show why your complaint has taken so long to reach this office. However, after having read the decision by the Local Government Ombudsman in 2015, I consider that the matter of which you complain remains that of the lack of enforcement [1] by the Council. The Local Government Ombudsman gave you full and detailed reasons for reaching her decision.
Whilst you remain of the view that the building does not comply with approved plans, I see no reason why your argument could not have been made to this office within three months of the decision in 2015. That delay also makes any investigation of the matter more difficult given the length of time involved [2].
I consider that your latest complaint remains that of your previous complaint which has already been determined [3] (whether or not to your satisfaction) and the opportunity to request a review of that decision has passed.[4]
I will treat your complaint therefore as invalid and your complaint will not be investigated.

Yours sincerely
Paul Lewis

1. the Enforcement Officer was not informed about either the of the variations from plan (height or width) or if he was, he did nothing about it.
2. the drawings and measurements do not change over time and the original frames are still in place;
3. he has rolled together the complaint about the Council misinforming the first Inspector with the complaint itself;
4. the latest from the Ombudsman is that the period has now been reduced to a month!

Misconduct of Staff Ignored by STC CEO

The acknowledgement below is wrong on two counts.
The letter to Mr Swales was handed in at the Town Hall late on Friday afternoon of the 26th May. I did not realise that his office would go to the lengths of misinforming Customer Advocacy about it or I would have asked for a receipt.
Fortunately it was copied to the MPs’ Offices the following day:-

“I have attached a copy of my letter which I delivered to the Chief Executive yesterday about the conduct of Hayley Johnson, the Council’s Corporate Lead, and a Planning Officer which I think is self explanatory.”

This quote also covers the second count. The complaint was not ‘raising a historic complaint again’ but one about the misconduct of his staff.
The two have been conflated so that Mr Swales can ignore the charge that his staff have misbehaved  and one day he will have to answer it regardless of when it actually arrived on his desk.

Dear Mr Dawson
Thank you for your letter to the Chief Executive, Martin Swales, dated 26 May 2017 which was received 13 June 2017. Your letter has been forwarded to our team in line with your current contact restrictions regarding issues raised regarding the UK Docks boat shed.I must advise you that this letter is raising your historic complaint again which has been thoroughly investigated by the Council and the Local Government Ombudsman, therefore will be placed on file.
Yours sincerely

Performance and Information Support Officer
Customer Advocacy
Strathmore, Rolling Mill Road, Jarrow

Complaint to Ward Councillor about STC Planners

8th July 2017

Dear Cllr Anglin,

Re emails in January: please note that I sent a time/dated photograph provided by a neighbour to show that it was a complaint about Sunday working and not an allegation. Secondly, the Council had not registered any complaint about Sunday working so it had not been addressed. There is therefore no current action that need concern you.

Condition 5 had been written into the approval of permission for the cover: “No works, other than the launching or beaching of vessels, shall take place within the shelter between the hours of 7pm and 7am Monday to Saturday and not at all on Sundays or Bank Holidays unless any written consent of variation is previously given by the Development Corporation as local planning authority.”

The reason given for conditions 4 and 5 were: In the interests of the amenity of the surrounding area, which includes residential and tourism/leisure related uses.

Separately Condition 2 was also written into the approval: “The development to which this permission relates shall be carried out in complete accordance with the approved plans and specifications.” and the reason for condition 2 was: To ensure that the development shall not vary from the approved plans. Continue reading Complaint to Ward Councillor about STC Planners