Category Archives: LGO

To Monitoring Officer, 22 July 20

Fwd: Complaint: 248789 - Unplanned Development on River Drive
Date: 22/07/2020 (12:33:34 GMT)
To: Nicola Robason
Cc: Emma Lewell-Buck MP, Anne-marie Trevelyan MP, 
Cllr Angela Hamilton, Cllr David Francis, Keith Palmer,
Customer Advocates, Hayley Johnson, Simon Buck,
Bcc: 20 Local Residents

Dear Nicola,
I should have made clear that I do not agree with the opinion expressed in your last email to me, 26-Feb-20 and I should have replied long before now. In it you refer to my emails of the 31st January and the 24th February and it is the fallout from the second that I will deal with.
It was addressed to Mr Buck, the Office Manager for the MP for South Shields and had quite a wide circulation and I received rejection notices via some anti hacking software from the MP herself, from Mr Palmer, who appears to be associated with her office but he won’t say in what capacity, and two local residents who are in a similar position to myself, i.e. getting nowhere with our protests about UK Docks.
It means they, Mr Buck and the MP, never even saw the copies and not have been aware of the contents. You did see a copy and should now know that the offending shed is nearly 3m taller than that for which UK Docks had been given approval. I provided two approved drawings to reinforce the point I was trying to make and Mr Buck should have been aware that the shed was taller than planned as well but he delivers a hatchet job on me, an hour after your response. Please see the attached; Simon Buck Threat: 26-Feb-20.

I have only recently been able to confirm that this was actually set up by Mr Palmer and his inclusion on that list of rejections was just a device to obscure the truth. One of the troubles with Mr Palmer is that he does not like to put anything in writing, please see below and it goes some way to show why I have taken so long to get my response to you.
The Buck/Palmer hatchet job reminded me of one made by Hayley Johnson on 25th June 2015 in a response to Anne-Marie Trevelyan, MP for Berwick, when she accused the good citizens and I of making allegations about the shed and when the truth be known it it actually the Council making allegations about us. What caused this provocation was my remark to Anne-Marie Trevelyan, 09- Jun-15:

 You have not specified that the stated height (15.5m) is of the river end of the shelter and it is likely that, Mr Swales, if he follows the arguments of the Planning Manager and the Head of Development Services before him, will say it refers to the road end.

Along with the follow-up:

This drawing, 8296/14, is available on the planning portal for all see (8296/1A is not readily available) and it shows the river end gable with door fittings. It has sufficient detail on it to determine that the height is near enough 15.5m i.e. – nowhere near the 18m of the built height of the river end. If Mr Swales provides any new plans to show you that I am wrong in my assessment of the development on River Drive by UK Docks please let me know.

Neither Mr Swales nor Hayley Johnson provided her with any plans to show that I was wrong because none exist. Notice, in attachment 6 of her letter to Anne-Marie, 25-June-15, is a direct contradiction:

The matters and allegations raised by your constituent are well documented and have been subject to a number of enquiries from Mr Dawson and other local residents over a lengthy period of time. The matter was ultimately referred by way of complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman, the outcome of which was delivered on 14 April 2015.

The most disturbing feature of the reply to Anne-Marie Trevelyan was the last line of her response: “I hope that this information is useful. Please do not hesitate to share this letter with your constituent.”
She did not share the letter with me and I was not aware of the misinformation given to Anne-Marie by Mrs Johnson for another six months. That was when I decided to seek legal advice.
Hayley Johnson proved her worth with her hatchet job, shifting the trouble with the shed from the Council to the Local Residents and removing the fact that the Council have misled the Local Government Ombudsman from history, that she was asked to handle my complaint about the Council misleading the Ombudsman to Mr Swales a year later.

After receiving advice from Peter Dunn and Co, I decide to write directly to the Chief Executive and the first thing to note is her denial, 01-Aug-16: “There is no evidence to suggest that there has been deliberate misinformation provided by Council officers to the Local Government Ombudsman,”  and because that conflicted with what I said to the Chief Executive it necessitated another hatchet job and for that she misused some extract (Section F) from what appears to be a code of conduct.
The thing to note is her use of section, F (unreasonable and/or persistent complainants) just does not apply and she has employed it purely to malign me. She has misused the code much Buck/Palmer have misused the one for MP’s conduct and I point specifically to the second sentence in the second paragraph: Members of staff must ensure that they apply this policy consistently.

The first flaw in Mrs Johnson use of Section F is that there is only one complaint to the Council and that is that they have been giving misinformation to the Ombudsman. There are however many items of misrepresentation but only one complaint. I have only sent one, 1-Jul-16 and you can check this with the Chief Executive yourself. To suggest that I am a persistent complainer on that account is a lie in itself.

Any complaint must also be unreasonable to meet the conditions set by Section F and I will just quote from one of my references (to 37) as an example to counter that suggestion:

Re: 37 – the drafter has in fact specified exactly which end it is because they have written on the drawing “strips to draw back to each side to allow access for boats.” The boats come up the slipway from the river.

The whole letter is a reasonable and a perfectly good explanation of how the Council misled the Ombudsman and I have attached a copy of it. You can see for yourself why they did not wish to respond to my central argument.

I ask you to look again at this because there is a clear contradiction between what the Council were telling the LGO and what is known. Why your staff should misrepresent the facts to the LGO is for you to determine. That they have misinformed the LGO should be admitted and corrected and that is what this letter is about.

I go onto say: “I have been advised you may well say that all this relates to an old complaint and so I will ask you for a “new” complaint based on this letter and if you will not deal with it then the Local Government Ombudsman can deal with it.”

Therefore the hatchet job, Mrs Johnson does not raise a new complaint and that was why when I explained to her I had received legal advice, 2-Sep-16, she was able to carry out her threat, 15-Oct-16.
By not registering the complaint she has ensured there no audit trail so she is able to repeat herself and thus Officers such as yourself will be put on the back-foot and have a clue what is going on. Planners and Building Control have been using this trick for years Messrs Cunningham and Atkinson certainly used it in January 2014 to hide my complaint that the shed was to wide as well as too high.

Not only has she has hidden the fact that I consulted a solicitor, she has hidden the fact that I produced an authorised drawing from 1996 to back my claim that the shed was 2.7m taller than planned. It is 8296/2 and you will have seen at least one copy of it over that last few months. You may not have seen a copy of the letter from Peter Dunn and co and I will gladly send you a copy if you so wish.
Mrs Johnson adds a rider at the end of the enforcement: “If you have concerns that I have provided incorrect information in this letter and you wish to request a review of my decision, you should contact Mike Harding, Head of Legal Services, by writing to him at the Town Hall and Civic Offices.”

One knows it will be a waste of time writing to him because Mrs Johnson said a couple of lines before: “We will however ensure that any new issues you raise are dealt with appropriately, but you will only receive a response to any new and substantive points of complaint you make.” Remember she hid the new evidence (solicitors advice and the existence of an authorised plan showing the shed is 3m too high) and I realised what she was doing so I copied my letter to Customer Advocacy but they just passed it back to her so that they remained hidden.
It would explain why Gill Hayton repeated at least three items of misinformation given to the Ombudsman in her response to my complaint about Cllr Anglin a year or so later. Incidentally my commentary on her response posted to Mr Harding remains unanswered and I do not think you can claim that all complaints have been exhausted until it has been answered.

When Emma and Angela approached UK Docks about their shed being somewhat larger than that for which they had approval they were told by UK Docks that they had been given permission retrospectively for it. When I approached the Chief Executive with similar view not only did he get someone to deny it on his behalf he also asked them to do a hatchet job – twice!
Now we have someone in the office of the MP for South Shields requesting the MPs’ Office Manager to do a third one, attached, Threat: Simon Buck, 26-Feb-20, and this was just an hour after you repeat, 26-Feb-20: “It remains the case that all complaints procedures relating to this matter have been exhausted both internally within the Council and externally.”

I looks to be a little more than a coincidence Mr Buck’s empty threat arriving an hour after your whitewashing of the six years of prevarication and lies by the Council.
On the 15th of January Mr Buck wrote that Mr Palmer correctly informed me that MPs have no influence over the Local Government Ombudsman, and he suggested that a possible course of action may be to complain further to the Local Government Ombudsman and suggested I take legal advice.
Firstly Mr Palmer knows I have already sought legal advice and he should have known that I did not involve Emma in the issue over the shed being built and maintained without permission until two years after the Ombudsman had completed her final draft on 15-Apr-15.

I saw straight through their scheme to replace my view that ‘lying to the Ombudsman ought to be referred to Parliament’ to be replaced with their view ‘that I was asking Emma as an MP to influence the Ombudsman’ and I told the pair of them so.
Now you see why Mr Palmer asked Mr Buck to do a hatchet job on me and you will understand why I get a bit upset and say things like:

Dear Mr Palmer, You seem to have done some homework before our phone call on Monday the 13th but if you had paid attention to the facts rather than opinions based on fraudulent misrepresentations you would have come to the conclusion that UK Dock’s shed is 3 meters taller than planned.

Hard but fair but certainly not vexatious, slanderous and personal. I have asked Mr Palmer to stop spreading the falsehood that I tried to persuade an MP to influence the Ombudsman and this email is designed to put a stop to it being repeated by Council Staff or anyone else for that matter.

Yours sincerely
Michael Dawson



Nicola Robason: “I can confirm that the Council as Local Planning Authority has not received a retrospective planning application from UK Docks. – Excuse for Inaction, 19-Dec-20, in which she says:
The Council has recognised that the development of the shed on the site is unauthorised but concluded some time ago that no enforcement action would be taken as this was not in the public interest.

It was pointed out to the Council in January 2014 that the shed was not only to wide (1m) but too high (3m) but they denied it.  They then accepted that it was too wide a month later but continued to dispute the height for another month. Continue reading Monitoring

Trouble with Phone Calls

Date: Fri, 31 Jan 2020 15:40:28 +0000
To: Nicola Robason
Cc: Emma Lewell-Buck MP,
Keith Palmer, Simon Buck, Customer Advocates,
Peter Cunningham, Cllr Anglin,
Cllr Angela Hamilton, Cllr David Francis,
Subject: Correspondence with the Office of Emma Lewell-Buck

Attachment : D8296/2

Dear Nicola,
Please see trail below. I’d like to emphasise that when I gave my personal details to Mr Buck I did it in good faith and said I would talk over phone to Mr Palmer about the corruption with UK Docks.
I should not have talked over the phone but the pair of them hooked me with the bait that we could talk honestly about UK Docks. If Mr Palmer’s intentions were honourable he would have told me that that Mr Buck was listening to the call as well. The Message I got from Mr Palmer was that he actually wanted to close down any dialogue about UK Docks which reminded me of one of the first written communications from Peter Cunningham, Principal Planning Officer, Fri, 20 Dec 2013: Continue reading Trouble with Phone Calls

STC and the LGO

Originally published 8-Jul-16 this letter has been republished in full for the attention of all because the Council position has not changed since. They maintain that the shed is built to the approved height despite evidence to the contrary; authorised drawing 8296/2.

He did not reply but asked his Corporate Lead to present an alternative view to avoid the questions raised in the penultimate paragraph:- I suggest that you ask your legal department to review the original complaint of the 10th January 2014 and the correspondence following it up to 13th February and ask them to answer the simple question, What is the planned height of the shed? and the for you to answer the fundamental question: “As the applicant has not discharged condition 2 why is there no retrospective planning application?

Neither question was answered. The Corporate Lead replied on his behalf saying: "Dear Mr Dawson -Thank you for your letter to Martin Swales, Chief Executive dated 8 July 2016, requesting matters related to your previous complaint to be raised as a new complaint, I manage the process and staff that support customer complaints and compliments. Your letter has therefore been forwarded to me to consider and respond."
She went on to say that there was no evidence of misinformation having been given to the Ombudsman.

The ‘New’ Complaint:- Continue reading STC and the LGO

Complaint: 248789 – Inappropriate Development on River Drive

----- Forwarded message from Nicola Robason -----
    Date: Thu, 12 Dec 2019 15:56:44 +0000
    From: Nicola Robason
 Subject: RE: Complaint: 248789 - Unplanned Development on River Drive
      To:, Cllr Angela Hamilton,
Cllr John Anglin,
Cllr David Francis,
Mike Harding,
"Gill Hayton (Solicitor)", 
George Mansbridge, 
Hayley Johnson, 
Alison Hoy
 Dear Mr Dawson,
 A typographic error on my behalf. 
Apologies – the sentence should have read ‘now’ consider rather than ‘not’ consider.
 I hope my reference to contacting you further in due course may have indicated this.
 Many thanks
 Nicola Robason
 Head of Corporate & External Affairs and Monitoring Officer
 South Tyneside Council

Dear Nicola and Everybody,

 Thank you for your apology and please note I have taken this opportunity to correct some of my own typos. I have also detached the attachments as they appear to have been duplicates.

 As you can see from the List of Denials which I have attached I have not added you yet but I have included new items 40-42 which concern the conduct of Councillor Anglin and the interference of Customer Advocacy which I may elaborate on later.

 Please discard my email of 12th December and its attachments and replace it with this email. You will notice that I still remain sceptical about getting any clarification on the retrospective planning.

 I know I shouldn’t judge you on one email but your predecessors have not set a good precedence. I suggest you look again at my correspondence with Haley Johnson and in particular my email to Michaela (nee Hamilton) of 2nd September 2016. It and my response to Mrs Johnson appear to have been discarded. Alison should be able to provide you with a copy of both.

 I seems that the Council have a policy for discarding (chucking in the bin) complaints that they do not wish answer and that goes for most of the officers I have had dealings with over the last six years, hence my response to your email of the 12th.

 My original complaint was discarded mid-January 2014 and that is why you will have problems getting to the truth and I wish you well in uncovering it.

 Kind Regards,

 Michael Dawson

Dishonesty at Town Hall, 5-Dec-19


Dear Nicola,

Dishonesty at the Town Hall

As the new Monitoring Officer for South Tyneside Council, I fear there is much that you may not have been told and here is some of the background leading to the Freedom of Information request.
If you read through the correspondence I had with Planning from the date of meeting 25-Nov-13 till mid February you will see that the Planning Manager eventually conceded that the shed was taller than planned, though it was not till 4-Mar-14 that I thanked him him for the concession: “Thank you also for confirming that the Slipway Shed is not built to the approved 1996 plans. Continue reading Dishonesty at Town Hall, 5-Dec-19

Freedom of Information Request

Dear Nicola,

Please see the Freedom of Information (FOI) request, below. I managed to establish that no retrospective planning application for the shed had been made and I just need you to confirm it. As Monitoring Officer you should be able to do that without any bother. It is a binary choice: Has retrospective planning for the shed been granted: Yes/No.
I have asked your predecessor, Mike Harding, the same question in a different way but he has not answered:

“Angela and therefore Julie have been misinformed by UK Docks and you can confirm that also. To it bluntly, whoever told them that UK Docks had submitted a retrospective application was lying.”

We, the local residents, all know that UK Docks never made a request for retrospective planning else we would have had notice of it and we had not. We also knew that the shed had been built nearly 3m taller than permitted before the 5th frame went up but the Council said otherwise and misinformed the Ombudsman about it. The reason for this is now known: firstly to hide misconduct and the second to deflect enquiries and they had been doing that for 5 years.
I can foresee that the Council/UK Docks will try the same trick with ‘retrospective planning’ and this needs to be nipped in the bud hence my FOI and the ‘Dear Nicola’ letter which I have also attached.

Kind regards
Michael Continue reading Freedom of Information Request

Dishonesty at the Town Hall: 30-Oct-19

Date: 30/10/2019 (07:34:05 AM GMT)
To: Emma Lewell-Buck MP
Cc: Cllr Angela Hamilton, Cllr David Francis, Cllr Anglin, Nicola Robason

Dear Emma,

Dishonesty at the Town Hall

First of all I would like to thank Angela and yourself for getting UK Docks to concede that the enclosure (shed) on River drive was in breach of planning control from the very beginning. However they have exchanged one misrepresentation for another, the first being; that the shed was built according to approved plans and the second; that they had applied for and been granted permission retrospectively for the shed we now see.
For those that are new to this let me repeat what should be a given; the authorised drawing from 1996 states quite clearly that the shed is nearly thirteen meters high at the landward end giving a height at river end of fifteen and a half meters.

Continue reading Dishonesty at the Town Hall: 30-Oct-19

Dialogue – UKD, Spring 2019

————- Original Message ———————–
Subject: RE: [Fwd: Re: UK Docks / Harbour View Residents Concerns]
From: Local Resident
Date: Wed, May 1, 2019 5:40 pm
To: “Mick Dawson”
Cc: “Cllr Angela Hamilton”

Hi Mick
I appreciate your arguments, but this far down the line there is nothing we can do.
Angela has talked to several relevant people, and the point is the council gave retrospective planning. Which they are allowed to do.
We are working with Angela to negate further issues with the site. It’s all we can do now: limit noise and any other issues If they occur.
Local Resident

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

——– Original message ——–
From: Mick Dawson
Date: 30/04/2019 16:55 (GMT+00:00)
To: Local Resident
Cc: Cllr Angela Hamilton , David Francis , Melanie Todd
Subject: RE: [Fwd: Re: UK Docks / Harbour View Residents Concerns]

Local Resident, You have totally missed the point, well 2 actually:

  • When the footings were set in 2001 they were a meter wider than planned. Which is not a slight variation from the plan. Even the Council admitted that to us when Mr Mansbridge responded to our Petition. Anyone who tells you otherwise is therefore lying.
  • The shed is 2.7 meter higher than planned and whoever tells you that the difference is only slight is also lying. Unfortunately for UK Docks the only approved plans from 1996 show the height of shed at the road end to be 12.7m. The built height at that point is 15.5m.

Ask anyone for proof that the shed is built to the approved height and they either change the subject or say that the difference is only slight. Planning Officer Cunningham has (been) telling that lie since the beginning and you and Angela should be wary of repeating that the variation of the width, and especially the height, is of no consequence. It was because Mr Cunningham would not answer the question of height that we went through the fruitless exercise of raising the TGA.

Cheers Mick

Continue reading Dialogue – UKD, Spring 2019

Cllr A: South Tyneside Council and the Ombudsman

Introductory email to Councillor Hamilton :

Date: Thu, 12 Sep 2019 07:51:39 +0100
To: Cllr Angela Hamilton <>
Cc: Cllr David Francis <>
Cllr Anglin
 <>, Peter Cunningham
 <>, George Mansbridge
 <>, Customer Advocates
 <>, Stuart Wright
 <>, "Gill Hayton (Solicitor)"
 <>, Mike Harding
 <>, Graeme Watson
 <>, Emma Lewell-Buck <>, Stephen  Hepburn MP <>
Subject: UK Docks, STC and the LGO - May , 2019
Bcc 24

Dear Angela,
This email outlines what I have detailed in the attached letter. I have used this technique for a while now so that I can reference drawings, emails etc. as evidence to prove my point and the easiest way to do this is via a letter in pdf format.
The trouble we have had over Mr Wilson’s boat shed goes right back to the drawings UK Docks sent to Mr Cunningham the day after they started erecting the frames in September 2013. They were said to represent the shed approved in 1996 but they did not. Although some vital details were missing it did not take much to calculate what they were and determine that the shed was the equivalent to the gradient(2.7m) taller than planned.
As far as I know Melanie was the first to try and get something off the ground but she kept hitting the wall placed by Mr Cunningham repeating that it had been approved. We could see that the plans had not been approved and in spite this the Council continued to insist that it was built in accordance them even after they were presented with evidence to the contrary as shown in:
• email about the width to Cllr Anglin on the 16-Dec-13;
• email about both the width and the height to Planning Enquiries 10-Jan-14.
I, or should I say we, hit the wall when Mr Cunningham just repeated that the dimensions of the shed were according to approved plans when we knew they were not. This was following the meeting in November 2013 used to hide the fact that no enforcement action had been taken. It was obvious that it was taller and wider than planned and one has to question why the structure was not being measured by the building inspector.
The Planning Manager let it slip that we were right about it being too tall but not until he had repeated the misrepresentation that it was built to the approved height using an error on an unauthorised drawing and from then on the Council were stuck with either coming clean or repeating the lie that it had been built to the approved height. One of the earliest instances of them not coming clean was the response to our Petition in May 2014 and they were still repeating it in December 2018.
We requested the Council ask UK Docks to stop work on their shed until the question of the height was sorted out in January 2014 but they either failed to do so or they were told to get lost because work on it carried on regardless and now UK Docks tell you they had permission, retrospectively applied for and granted, for their extended shed. Please see trail below.
Has anyone seen an approved drawing of what we see now? No they haven’t. It does not exist nor does the permission and we have hit the wall of silence again. I asked the Monitoring Officer nearly three months ago to confirm whether they had applied for retrospective planning permission and have not yet received a reply. I think you can take it that they haven’t but you had better ask them for yourself.
Over to you and David Francis, this is above party politics. In fact it is above local politics and that is why I have been copying both MPs into my correspondence. I’m sure South Tyne Council are not the only people using the Ombudsman to hide malpractice and to put up a barrier to any investigation.
Kind regards,
Michael Dawson