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Conflation of Complaints

Date: 23/12/2020 (15:47:11 BST)
To: Nicola Robason
Cc: Emma Lewell-Buck MP, Anne-marie Trevelyan MP, Cllr Angela Hamilton, Cllr David Francis,Peter Cunningham, George Mansbridge, Hayley Johnson, Alison Hoy, Garry Simmonette
1 Attachment: Conflation-23-Dec-20.pdf (505 KB)

Dear Nicola,

My email started to grow like Topsy when I started to look back at the number of times that my questions/complaints about the height of the shed were referred to Customer Advocacy and especially how many times the responses were accompanied by misrepresentations of various kinds.

I’d also started to reproduce quotes and photographs from the various items of correspondence to reduce the number of cross references so I’ve converted ‘Conflation of Complaints’ into a pdf document.

Please see the attached file.

Kind regards,
Mick Dawson

No Permission for Enclosure (Shed) on River Drive

RE: Complaint: 248789 – Unplanned Development on River Drive
From: Nicola Robason Date: 19/12/2019 (09:56:34 AM GMT)
To: Message Log
– You forwarded this message on 23/12/2019 11:00:46 AM to: Cllr Angela Hamilton, Emma Lewell-Buck, Nicola Robason, Cllr David Francis, Alison Hoy and local residents

Dear Mr Dawson
Thank you for your recent emails and your letter dated 5 December 2019.
I can confirm that I am the Council’s Monitoring Officer. In that capacity, I have read and considered the information you have provided in relation to UK Docks and River Drive and specifically your request for information.
I can confirm that the Council as Local Planning Authority has not received a retrospective planning application from UK Docks. It is entirely a matter for UK Docks to decide whether or not to submit such an application and the Council has no influence in that matter.
I am also aware of the history of this development that goes back some years with the original planning application being determined and approved by the Tyne and Wear Development Corporation in their capacity as Planning Authority at that time. The Council has recognised that the development of the shed on the site is unauthorised but concluded some time ago, in accordance with the Constitution, that no enforcement action would be taken as this was not in the public interest as there would be no change in the level of perceived harm suffered. This decision and the reasoning behind it was communicated to residents by the Council.
I understand that all complaints procedures regarding this matter have been exhausted both internally within the Council and externally.
Many thanks
Nicola Robason Head of Corporate & External Affairs and Monitoring Officer South Tyneside Council

Avoiding the issue 2019

The issue is the height of the shed, and that has been an issue since September 2013, being built some 2.7m taller than permitted. Sometimes it was the width as well.

The width changed from being of no consequence in September 2013, to being a material consideration then although being wider than planned, it was causing no harm and back to a non-material consideration by April 2019 – It is, being nearly a meter wider than planned, a material consideration and has been since 2001 when fixings for the columns was set.
Request to confirm that UK Docks had not been granted permission for their shed off River Drive – put to the Monitoring Officer (MH) on 7th May and answered by the Monitioring Officer(NR) on 19th December.

Date From to: About?
1: 2019
The Harbour
Monitoring Officer: UK Dock’s Slipway Enclosure and STC Council. – I am aware they had not before they (extended their shed )applied for permission to extend it. You can confirm that this is true?
Stuart Wright Head of Environment (Planning) – I’m away from the office now until Monday 13th May and will not have access to emails. I will respond on my return.
THV Alison Hoy: AH and Misrepresentation/misinformation given by South Tyneside Council
Mike Harding I am currently out of the office. Please contact Ben Broome, Paul McCann, Eamonn Breen or Mike Conlon
THV Mike Harding: UK Docks, STC and the LGO – May , 2019
Mike Harding I am currently out of the office. Please contact Ben Broome, Paul McCann, Eamonn Breen or Mike Conlon
THV Building Control: Tyne Slipway & Eng Co Ltd Erection of a Shelter ST/0242 /96.
Deborah Graham Hi Planning, Please see attached and email below which I believe was meant for planning – it was sent to building control and it looks like they told Deborah to dump it on planning to avoid answering the questions honestly.
THV Monitoring Officer – NR: UK Docks, STC and the LGO
Gill Hayton I am out of the office until 30 September 2019. I do not have access to my emails. Please contact: John Rumney, Ben Broome, Eamonn Breen, Paul McCann , David Hayward – first evidence that Mike Harding is no longer in post.
THV ELB( MP): Dishonesty at the Town Hall
Copy to Monitoring Officer: Nicola Robison
Emma Lewell-Buck Thank you for contacting Emma Lewell-Buck, Member of Parliament for South Shields.
THV Monitoring Officer – NR: Complaint: 248789 – Unplanned Development on River Drive
– Att: copy of letter from Peter Dunn& Co.(Solicitors)
Nicola Robason Automatic reply: Complaint: 248789 – Unplanned Development on River Drive
THV Cllrs and STC: Complaint: 248789 – Unplanned Development on River Drive
Nicola Robason That should have read ‘now’ consider, not ‘not’ consider. Typographical error on my part – apologies
THV Nicola and Everybody: Thank you for your apology
Nicola Robason THV: “I can confirm that the Council as Local Planning Authority has not received a retrospective planning application from UK Docks.

End of Table


It was confirmed by the Council on 19-Dec-19 that retrospective planning was not awarded

01/05/19 View message Sent from Samsung Galaxy smartphone.
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.

Julie Routledge
Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone. Continue reading Retrospective-permission?

Misconduct of Cllr A: 27-Mar-19


Dear Angela,

Misconduct of Councillor Anglin (part 1)

Thank you for letting me know about the outcome of your meeting with UK docks a few weeks past. Most of the issues raised are of little concern to me especially as I now live out of earshot and UK Docks have promised not to disturb their neighbours on a Sunday.
I have complained about the noise in the past but the complaints procedure is operated so badly by the Council’s Environmental Section that it is unfit for purpose. One could put it down to incompetence but if you look into it, at least where UK Docks is concerned, corruptly might be a better descriptor judging by the racket they got away with on the 13th.
Planning is not much different, but we do have the advantage that the approved drawings show categorically that the shed is larger in all dimensions than the permitted plans allow. I notice that you have been told the differences are only slight:

Planning: While I understand the concerns you have raised about the buildings deviating from the original plans I cannot see any way to resolve this issue. You have said that the building is slightly wider and higher than the original plans but I have not been able to find out anything about why this happened. As I wasn’t a Councillor at the time I was not involved in any of the discussions so can’t confirm whether this was agreed before or after building works were completed and it wouldn’t be possible to reduce the building and it isn’t financially viable to remove and rebuild it.

The differences are not slight and the reason you cannot find out why the shed is much bigger than permitted is because neither the Council nor UK Docks have been honest with you. They both claim that the structure is the correct height by fraudulent misrepresentation of the plans i.e. 15.5m at the landward end. The approved planned height at the landward end is 12.7m at that end as shown by one of two approved drawing from 1996, 8296/2.
I have normally used the Agent’s drawing made available to the public on the 10-Dec-13 because it would have included any approved alterations made since 1996 and the height is not one of them.
Both this and the authorised drawing from 1996 show that the shed is nearly 3m taller than permitted. Anyone who tells you otherwise, to put it bluntly, is lying. This is why one can never get anyone at UK Docks or the Council to say anything other than the differences are only slight.
The Agent’s drawing was produced as part of the discharge of conditions 3 and 4 and approved by the Planning Manager, 14-Oct-2013. Additional provenance was given to the drawing by Customer Advocacy when they said at Stage 3 level of a complaint:- “that drawing 8296/14 was submitted in 2013 for a wholly different purpose and as such, could never supersede the previously approved plans in terms of defining the dimensions of the approved development.”
One can also use either the drawing provided by UK Docks 8296/1B or the drawing favoured by the Planning Office, 8296/1A, to show that the shed is nearly 3m too high as well but one must bear in mind that they show no evidence of having been authorised, presumably because they show both ends to have the same height. In the explanation I gave the Ombudsman I forgot to mention that /1A was not authorised. Looking at it again I wonder why I had not thought of the ‘three is a quarter of twelve not fifteen’ argument before my complaint about Cllr Anglin.
The shed is also nearly 1m wider than planned, a fact they managed to hide from us for two months. That is, until I went and measured it in late November 2013 and told the attendees and the Committee of the Tyne Gateway Assn (TGA) about it in mid December, 16-Dec-2013.
A mistake, I should have made this information available to everyone protesting because the Chair of the TGA was keeping a very tight control on the information, particularly in respect of the width. Cllr Anglin had responded earlier:
Please see below the reply from Peter (Cunningham).
” Hello – I confirmed at our meeting with Mr Dawson and others on 25th Sept Nov 2013 that I had measured the width and length of the ground floor external footprint and height of the structure and that these dimensions were all in accordance with the attached approved drawing and planning permission.

Councillor Anglin, 19-Dec-13

Why a Principal Planning Officer, Mr Cunningham, was doing the measuring and not the Building Inspector has never been properly explained. I asked Customer Advocacy who was responsible for making sure that buildings were built to plan but they would not tell me; they hurried me along to the Ombudsman. It so happens that Mr Cunningham and Mr Watson, the Chairman of the TGA, managed with the aid of Cllr Anglin to suppress the fact that the shed was wider than planned, till after UK Docks had restarted work on their shed.
The fact that it was wider continued to be suppressed for a further three weeks and it was not until the 28-Jan-14 that the Planning Manager conceded that the width was 13.1m wide i.e. nearly a meter wider than planned. By then UK Docks had fitted their overhead crane and changed the use of the shed. That they could fit it, is a debatable point and rests on the opinion of the same Planning Manager, now retired, so we can do nothing about it because he did not refer it to the Planning Committee for change of use. Planning Committees are there to reduce the temptation of corruption.
In the same email, notice the PROTECT, we were told that; “Following a search of our archived file the only drawings that we have that are stamped ‘Approved by Tyne and Wear Development Corporation’ are 8296/2 and 8296/4. 8296/1A and 8296/1B are consistent with these two stamped drawings in terms of overall dimensions.” They are only consistent if one accepts that the river end has a planned height of 15.5m making the landward end 12.8m. Drawing 8296/2 as explained above gives an approved height of 12.7m.
We were also told that; “(8296/14) You explain that you have measured the height from this drawing as 15.6m, and you seem to have assumed that is the riverside elevation, and have adjusted for the gradient of the slipway and concluded that the height at the River Drive side should be in the order of 3m less. In fact the 15.6m height is the height to River Drive and the height on the river side is some 3m greater.” The drawing is of the river gable end; boats enter the shed from the river!
My response to the email on 3-Feb-13, should have settled the matter but as you can see from the rest of this letter he was acting deceitfully. Telling us one thing and his bosses another, a binary choice: the river end height =15.5m (true), the landward end = 15.5m (false).
To return to Cllr Anglin’s choice; the crossing out is my correction and as you can see, from the evidence given on page 1 and the top of this page, the dimensions were not in accordance with any approved plan when the structure was measured. Cllr Anglin could have asked me to verify what I was telling him about the width and I would willingly have provided it. I would also have explained why the shed was 3m too high because the Agent’s drawing of the river gable end had been made available by 16-Dec-13. It landed on Mr Cunningham’s desk on the 20-Sep-13.
The width is very clearly shown on all plans as 12.2m, not 12.9m as reported in the response to our Petition and in Stage 2 responses.
So, for Mr Cunningham to say; “that these dimensions were all in
accordance with the planning permission” was very obviously a lie, especially as he claims to have measured it himself, and found it to be 13.1m. Cllr Anglin set off to find out whether the shed was the correct height and we find, a month later that, not only were being misinformed about the height but also being misinformed about the width.
I thought during the meeting that he was lying to cover for the negligence of the building inspector but it was to cover for himself. A building inspector would have been duty bound to have told the Enforcement Officer whereas Mr Cunningham could keep the variations to himself.
He and Mr Wilson, Director of UK Docks, had not reckoned on us being able to measure the width at the footings because the pillars had been made vertical. Nor had they reckoned on the fact that the gradient gave scale to any side elevations of the shed thus revealing the fraud about the planned height of the road end.
The meeting would have had some credibility if Cllr Anglin had not agreed with Mr Cunningham to drop Condition 2 from the agenda, and not made it informal. It would of had more credibility still if some authorised drawings had been produced but none were.
They were kept from our sight until the 28-Jan-14. That is the reason for the statements in bold on page 2.
What I particularly resented about Cllr Anglin’s summary of the meeting was his inclusion of me with the other two representatives. If the meeting had been formal I would have asked them to declare their interest. They were director and procurement officer for HB Hydraulics at that time.
They and the Councillors, do not forget that Cllr MacMillan also attended, may have been happy to lie about about shed being ‘legal’ but I was not.
The meeting had lost its original purpose; to establish whether the shed had approval, and was used instead to cover over a Planning Officer’s misconduct i.e. he had failed to disclose the breaches in planning permission after measuring the structure.
I was aware that the Council had misled the Local Government Ombudsman (Ombudsman) to cover over misapplication of planning procedures and guidelines where two developers had built extensions to their properties without planning permission. Both the developers at 71 and 72 Greens Place had built what they wanted rather than what had been permitted but my complaints were ignored.
The variation from plan at 72 was said by the building inspector to be not material when it was not his decision to make. The two separate dormers had become one big one.
The main variation in the case of 71 was hidden by the Council switching the complaint type from FUL to HFUL. The developer had reverted to his original plan and although we told the Council about it they took no action. This happened while my complaint was with the Ombudsman so they said I would have to submit a new complaint and take it through the various levels with the council before it would considered.
It was clear that the Ombudsman was liaising with the Council rather than me.
I was contemplating writing to David Milliband MP about it when work started on the ‘shed’. The developers of 71 and 72 Greens Place were the no other than the HB Hydraulics staff mentioned above; Mr Ken Haig and Mr Graeme Watson, Treasurer and Chair of the TGA
respectively. The Building Inspector, Mr Mike Telford, was responsible for both these sites as well as the development by UK Docks on River Drive.
I could see that something similar was going on when UK docks were allowed to restart work on their shed in January 2014 after a four month stoppage and I was anxious to get the work stopped before it proceeded too far and certainly before the Ombudsman got into the act. As events have shown the Council made sure the shed was use before I had passed the first hurdle.
No surprise then, when the complaint, 10-Jan-14 went in that it would be intercepted by Mr Cunningham to be improperly processed. Central to the complaint was;
Examination of this drawing number (8296/14) gives a detail of a beam (portal column) width 0.686mtres, with which the height and width of the north elevation can be gauged. The north elevation (river end) is 15.6m high with a width of 12.2m.
Above, I explained why drawing 8296/14 was so important and why I used it. It was the drawing which convinced me that Mr Cunningham was being dishonest about the height. On the full drawing the gable is drawn to a scale (1:100) and it is actually 16.3cm tall. If you do the maths it gives 12.7m for the landward end.
That Mr Cunningham was allowed to answer the complaint instead of it going through the proper procedures is central to the corruption at the heart the Council’s Planning Office. He did not answer the question, “as the applicant has not discharged condition 2 why is there no retrospective planning application?” but repeated the misinformation he gave us at the meeting.
“The queries that you raise are not new, indeed I have been repeating my response to them for some time now, and you will recall that I explained the planning aspect of the Council’s position to you regarding this development during our meeting.” – Principal Planning Officer, 13-Jan-14

The main thing to note is that he did not register the complaint so there is no record of it. This device is the first indication that he has no intention of responding properly to it. He then refers me back to the Chair of the TGA, whom I trust less than Cllr Anglin. This sort of referral is standard for someone passing the buck and I believe you have encountered similar problems with your enquiries as well:
“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..” – Principal Planning Officer, 13-Jan-14

I can see the back pass (to the TGA or to ‘complaints’) for what it is so I asked him to refer the complaint to someone who could answer the question (a progress from stage 1 to 2) but the response from his manager was worse again. He took the opportunity to repeat the fraudulent misinformation about the height as well as reinforcing the denial:
“Approved Drawings – The following are details of the relevant drawings in the Council’s possession. The drawing that was submitted on 11th April 1996 with the application is numbered 8296/1A. That shows the overall height of the structure as 15.5m above the foundation level at the landward end.” – Planning Manager, 15-Jan-14

This was such a blatant lie that it would be dismissed as such by anyone looking at the drawing. It shows both ends of the shed to have the same height which could only be true if the roof had the same gradient as the slipway. The major piece of misinformation, is of course, the following statement:
“The dimensions of the steelwork have been checked on site and they are in accordance with the measurements shown on the approved drawings. The variation in the angle of the pillars is not considered to be material. – Planning Manager, 15-Jan-14

Mr Cunningham could have been excused for incompetence but not now with the Planning Manager repeating the lie. It has become apparent that they get away with this by corrupting the complaints procedure and ultimately misleading the Ombudsman.
The Planning Manager did not register the complaint either. In choosing to continue to hide the truth about the shed, the Planning Manager avoided, like Mr Cunningham a few days before;
• having to tell the Enforcement Officer that the shed failed to meet the 2nd condition;
• having to tell UK Docks to stop work on the shed;
There was a complaint registered on my behalf in April 2014 but as you can see from the description; “see email to planning 14/1/14. Mr Dawson asking various questions relating to the ongoing development at the slipway, River Drive, South Shields.”
As you can see there is nothing left of the original complaint made 3 months before. I was not informed about the Job Number and this is significant because it meant that his concession that the shed was too high, and when and in what context, was not recorded.
This meant that correspondence could be taken out of context to perpetuate the lie. The significance of this should not be underestimated and it lies at the heart of a corrupted complaints procedure:
35. In January 2014 the Council wrote to Mr Dawson about this…. Since then the Council has consistently told Mr Dawson the shed is the correct height. – Ombudsman, 15-Apr-15

It meant the Planning Manager could bury inconvenient truths and hide his own and Mr
Cunningham’s disgraceful behaviour. After I had seen his response to our Petition I complained to the author, Mr Mansbridge, about their conduct, but he ignored it. In fact he turned out to be as bad as his planning staff because i n his response to our Petition he said; “The approved dimensions of the steelwork are: Proposed height 15.5m at the River Drive end.” This we know to be untrue. The fraudulent misrepresentation of the height has reappeared in his stage 2 responses as well; “The height of the steelwork at River Drive is clearly marked as 12.5m+3m (total 15.5m).”
Before I leave Mr Mansbridge’ part in this charade I will remind you that I took up his invitation to view the Agent’s drawing and he failed to produce it at a meeting on 8-Jul-14, specially arranged to discuss it! Not quite a wasted journey because I told the company assembled that the drawing produced by the Planning Manager, 8296/1A, showed both ends to be the same height.
This was the same drawing said to have been produced at the meeting arranged by Cllr Anglin 7 months earlier. The height was not mentioned at all in the Council’s third stage response nor in the Ombudsman’s first draught but what should pop up when I pointed out to her that she really ought to take the variation in height into account but; “In January 2014 the Council wrote to Mr Dawson about this.
It said the overall structure on the plans is 15.5 metres at the land end.” I had just told her the approved height was about 15.5m at the other or river end of the shed. One of us was lying and if you look closely at the argument on page 2 you will see that it is not me.
When I received an unsolicited, but not unexpected, email from Customer Advocacy which I have attached, it became clear to me that I needed some legal advice. The email mainly looks at 3 items of correspondence, none of which are complaints:


  1. 4th Dec 15 to Mr Simmonette, advising him that the shed is 3m taller than planned;
  2. 9th Jun 15 (to clarify a misinterpretation in the letter from the MP 1-Jun-15). The MP was not specific about which end of the shed had the approved height;
  3. 15th Jul 15 request for Screen Prints 274396. Notice that Alison has given a Feedback Reference number so the job, prints for 248789 an 253539, was completed quickly and much to my satisfaction after I explained what had gone wrong with my request. If the original complaint made 10-Jan-14 (248789) had been treated so efficiently the shed would probably not be there now. As you can see from the responses, page 4, it was ‘binned’.

I found Mr Andrew Tilbury, a partner at Peter Dunn Solicitors, and he was extremely helpful after I gave him the background to Alison’s email. He looked through the correspondence I had with the Council and the Ombudsman and advised me that it was not a planning matter at all, more a criminal fraud case but the police were unlikely to act because they would say it was a planning matter.
He also hinted that to pursue it through the Civil Court was not an option but he did agree with me that South Tyneside Council had mislead the Local Government Ombudsman and I have attached his reply.
Alison’s email was not unexpected; I had been waiting on a response from the Case Officer, Mr Simmonette who was in charge of the second phase, to a complaint that he was backing the extension of a structure built without planning permission. I had first written to him in September about the height of the shed but he had not replied. I had also been waiting for a responses from the MP from Berwick for 4 months.
The second case is different. I had written to Anne Marie and copied the Chief Executive explaining that the shed was in fact too high; “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.” As you can see Alison was instructed to reply; “even though at that time you had received complaint responses from both the Council and the Ombudsman.”
The first two items are illustrations of the misuse of the Ombudsman’s Service by South Tyneside Council and the last points to the first step on the path to it.
Notice Ms Hayton has not given a Job number yet she says in the last paragraph that I may request the Monitoring Officer to reconsider her decision. That is the catch 22, whoever picks up the complaint is hardly likely to apologise for her repetition of the misrepresentation; “The Ombudsman found no fault in how the Council determined the permitted height of the landward end of the development was 12.5 metres plus 3 metres.” in paragraph 6 nor are they likely to apologise for the two in paragraph 5;
• The Council later accepted that the measurements as taken in 2013 were incorrect;
• the width of the building was just less than 1 metre wider . . . . and considered the degree
of departure from the grant of planning permission was “non-material”.
I realise that this raises more questions about the shed on River Drive than it solves but it does give some perspective on why nobody will give you straight answer about the height of it.
Perhaps we could ask under the Freedom of Information Act; “What is the planned height of the UK Docks slipway Enclosure on River drive?” and resubmit the complaint below again. We can blame Cllr Anglin and his pals for it being put in the bin.

Yours sincerely
Michael Dawson

To Councillor 27-Feb-19

—————————- Original Message —————————-
Subject: Re: UK Docks / Harbour View Residents Concerns
Date: Wed, February 27, 2019 11:17 am
To: “Cllr Angela Hamilton”
Cc: “Mick Dawson”
“Emma Lewell-Buck”

“Planned Height of Shed”

Dear Angela,
Sorry about the quality of the attached print. It gives the authorised height of the shed which is not what UK Docks told the Council. The heights are clearer on the full sized print: the roof 108.8 meters above the datum and the footings are 96.1 meters above it making 12.7 meters altogether.
The first part of the shed is 15.5 meters tall at that point which is nearly 3 meters taller than permitted and the reason the shed it is still there is because UK Docks sent in documents to support the fraud that the shed has been built to an approved height.
Please confront them with the truth about their shed and see what they say. I and everybody else on my mailing list would dearly love to know.
If they show you 8296/1A or 1B claiming an approved height just point out that they show the river end as 15.5m as well. The river end is nearly 3 meters downhill and the roof does not slope down towards the river.
Good luck, I hope you fare better than when Emma went to see them in March 2017. Incidentally the containers did not get placed on top of each other until August of that year.
Kind regards,

Hi Mick

Just wanted to let you know that Emma Lewell-Buck and I are meeting with UK Docks at the end of this week.
I will provide an update on any progress after the meeting. Regards

Councillor Angela Hamilton LLB (Hons), MCIPR
Beacon and Bents Ward
South Tyneside Council

On Thu, Feb 21, 2019 at 1:01 PM +0000, “Mick Dawson” wrote:

Dear David,

I wish you luck with your enquiries but you are wasting your time asking Cllr Anglin to do anything about UK Docks. He sided with them years ago when I wrote and told him that the shed was too wide. When he wrote back he just repeated the lie that “it was built to approved plans” but what he did not know was the planning officer concerned was also hiding the fact that it was too tall behind that statement as well.

I think Cllr Anglin soon found this out but by then he was stuck with being one of UK Docks promoters and by the subsequent actions of the planning officer and his boss, so are the rest of the Council, and you can see that from my current feud with one of the Council’s Solicitors.

When I say the rest of the Council I include Cllr McMillan. Like Cllr Anglin she hides behind the wall of obfuscation erected to protect the Council officers who allowed the shed to be built at all. Cllr Hamilton must be excluded from ‘the rest of the Council’ as she like us, is stuck on the outside of the wall of silence.

By the way I have no objection to UK Docks placing their Headquarters on the site. It is the shipyard that I object to.

I’ve included Stuart Wright in the mailing as I believe he is in charge of planning. When permission was granted for the shed a restriction was placed on the working hours because of the location of the site and that is a planning issue which has not been resolved whatever Cllr Anglin tells you.

Kind regards
Michael Dawson

From: David Francis
Sent: 21 February 2019 09:24
Subject: Re: UK Docks / Harbour View Residents Concerns


Following my emails on the 4th Feb and then the 12th Feb, I just wondered where we are with all of this? A number of local residents are seeking clarification.

Many thanks,

STC and the Local Government Ombudsman

From: Michael Dawson <>
Sent: 05 January 2021 08:31
To: Emma Lewell-Buck MP <>
Cc: Nicola Robason; John Rumney; Alison Hoy; 
Subject: STC and the Local Government
Dear Emma,
The zipped files are for reference; to back up what I have said.
Nicola, the current Monitoring Officer and John Rumney, the acting Head of Legal Services have been copied in so that they may be appraised of the current situation and I have sent a copy to Alison Hoy of Customer Advocacy (CA) so that she can pass it to Mr Swales successor when he or she arrives.
It appears that the staff who were happy to give misinformation the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) were also the source of the false allegation being made against the good people of South Shields and it has been going on for a long time:
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.
Corporate Lead, Mrs H Johnson, 25-Jun-15
The authorised plans indicate that UK Docks’ enclosure (shed), off River Drive, should have a river end height of 15.5m but it was built to a height of 18.2m so our claim that it is nearly 3m taller than planned is true and therefore not an allegation. Mrs Johnson’s statement of the 25th of June, five and a half years ago, is the sixth attachment to a letter to the MP for Berwick, appears to have been made with malicious intent.
My request for a copy of the letter and any attachments referring to planning matters was ignored by CA and until we see a copy it may be best to assume it is littered with similar falsehoods as well.
The Council have maintained the myth or lie, with the help of people like Cllr Anglin and Mrs Johnson, that the shed had been built to the approved height since we first complained about it in September 2013. and continue to do it by repeating:
My email dated 19 December 2019 set out the final position on this matter. It remains the case that all complaints procedures relating to this matter have been exhausted both internally within the Council and externally.
Monitoring Officer, 07-Jul-15
When UK Docks told you and Cllr Hamilton in April 2019 that they had been given permission retrospectively for their shed they blew that myth to bits. That opportunity for them passed when the Executives of the Tyne Gateway Assn accepted the drawings passed to them at or following the Town Hall meeting arranged by Councillor Anglin in November 2013.
GW (Chair) advised that it was a good open meeting, It was confirmed that the structure is being built to the plans which had been approved.
Tyne Gateway Assn, 25-Nov-25
The meeting was neither open nor good; we were passed unapproved drawings with a basic error in a critical dimension but UK Docks took it’s outcome as a green light to restart work on their shed.
The Council, in spite of our protests that the shed was 3m taller than planned did nothing, except maintain that it was so for a number years, quoting the LGO who they had misinformed. When it was pointed out to the Council that one of their Senior Planning Officers had been feeding the Ombudsman misinformation the Council’s story changed during 2017:
Dear Mr Dawson, From your email title it would appear to refer your earlier allegations that the Council in some way provided mis-information to the Local Government Ombudsman. This matter has been addressed previously by Mrs Johnson in her letter to you dated 5 October 2016. The Council would not respond further to you on this complaint which has exhausted the Council and Ombudsman’s complaints procedures.
Alison Hoy, Customer Advocacy (CA): 1-Dec-17
I realised immediately that the Council would seize on the lie that UK Docks had been given permission retrospectively for their shed to replace the lie about the shed having been approved and I felt it my duty kill it stone dead before it gained the momentum of the original myth. That lasted for over five years.  I managed this help of the Monitoring Officer Nicola Robason and you should have some record of that eight-month saga. A copy of  “Dishonesty at the Town Hall” for instance.
On the 8th January last year, I received a request from Simon Buck requesting my home phone number to give to a Keith Palmer and I was inclined to ignore it but after some thought I said that if he was prepared to talk about corruption at the Town Hall, UK Docks and their shed, he could have it.
On the 13th January I received a call from your office in South Shields from Mr Palmer, returned it later that day assuming that he wished to talk about the corruption associated with the shed but I was soon disabused as it became clear that it was the last thing he wanted to talk about.  I bet any recording of the call has been deleted. He claimed that there was no case against UK Docks.
This, as you know is a lie and I tried to contact you about it on the 13th and 14th (messages 3 and 4) but was thwarted twice by the standard reply given to first time callers which was a bit strange after the pleasantries we had exchanged about STC agreeing that UK Docks had not been granted permission etc. a few weeks before.
On the 15th January I received notice from Mr Buck confirmation that M Palmer was basically accusing us of conspiring to influence the Ombudsman. What I was actually asking you to do was to raise the issue of Councils lying to the Ombudsman in Parliament to get it stopped and he made it very clear in the call that was the last thing he wanted. For a start it would put a stop to money laundering schemes, make for safer housing and do away with schemes like the transfer of UK Docks from dockland to a primarily residential area.
Sometime in February I became aware that you and Simon had separated and that put a completely different complexion on things so I wrote to Mr Palmer again and that really set the cat amongst the pigeons and of all the files on the bundle attached, I suggest you read /8toKP20-Feb-20/ if nothing else.
Not only did I get a response from Mr Buck, I got one from Nicola Robason which I ignored because she appeared to have been told to clear up after Messrs Buck and Palmer’s misdemeanours:
My email dated 19 December 2019 set out my position on this matter. It remains the case that all complaints procedures relating to this matter have been exhausted both internally within the Council and externally.
Mr Palmer prefers to sit in the background and let Mr Buck to do his dirty work and if you read his message to me and my criticism of it (11 and 12), you will see what I mean.

It would appear Mr Palmer comes from the same school as those who misled the Ombudsman and treat the Council’s Solicitors and Monitoring Officers with contempt.

Monitoring Officer is now one of Nicola’s duties and before that, it was one of Mr M Harding’s but I do not think it went well with him being the head of Legal Services and he tried to pass the duty on to someone who did not accept the post, so it ended up with Nicola. There are some that are so used to giving misinformation and or misrepresentation to the Ombudsman they do not think twice about lying to a council solicitor.

There is, for instance, an unanswered letter to Mr Harding, 09-Apr-19, about Gill Hayton’s response to my charge against Cllr Anglin and his part in the meeting of November 2013, for the next Head of Legal Services or the next Chief Executive to look at.
On a happier note, I would like to add my thanks to Nicola and Stuart Reid for hastening the departure of Cllr Iain Malcolm.
All the best for the new year,
Kind regards,

Michael Dawson

To Paul Hepburn

Paul was one of correspondents from the early days. He discovered that the Council had originally put the conditions on the enclosure to make sure that the Tyne Slipway business could not be expanded without a resubmission to the Planning Authority.


Hi Paul,

You received a copy because I put the local people who had protested from the early days into the blind copy line (BCC:). It’s a standard method used by clubs and small organisations for distributing important notices. There are quite a lot of you at the moment and if anyone wants to write to you all with any more misinformation about Mr Wilson’s boat shed they can make their own list. Cllr Anglin was a bit free and easy with some address lists, he was responsible for, was he not?

I was also thinking of those that may have relatives working for the Council or the Port of Tyne and someone is going around saying that I am trying to change the facts behind the way the Council have treated our complaints by contacting Cllr Hamilton. That is a bit hypocritical if the source is the Council.

The basic facts about the shed are fairly simple:

• an authorised drawing showing that the shed is nearly 3m too high was recovered from the Council’s archive in early September 2013 but was not made available to us till after the Council had given the go-ahead to UK Docks to restart work on it in January 2014.*
• the footings were laid a meter wider than permitted in 2001 and they were a material consideration from that time and still are. Mr Cunningham appears to have kept the information about the extra width to himself. The Council would have been duty bound, in view of our protests, to issue an enforcement (notice) if he had told building control.

I wrote first to Cllr Anglin then the Council informing them that the shed was a meter wider than planned but again no action was taken by building control.

If you try and engage them about the height of the shed they just say things like:

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.

Council’s Corporate Lead to MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan, 25th June 2015.

The Council operate a system of misinforming the Ombudsman to obscure a multitude of sins committed by their staff. Hayley Johnson, the Corporate Lead, therefore includes you, the ‘other local residents’ as well as me in those she was, to all intents and purposes, calling us liars. Allegations are accusations made without evidence, are they not?

When I complained to the Chief Executive that his Planning Staff were giving misinformation to the Ombudsman I was just brushed aside by the same Hayley Johnson when she said there was no evidence of this being deliberately done!

Here is another gem from the Ombudsman and she was on about the width:

21. The Council considered if the building accorded with the approved plans. The planning officer originally assigned the case considered the developers were building the boat shed to the measurements in the 1996 plans. Mr X says he told residents this at a public meeting. The Council accepts these measurements were wrong.

Mr Cunningham measured the shed in September then told us at a the Town Hall meeting in November that it was compliant. The email to Cllr Anglin and other members of that rather exclusive invitation only meeting can hardly be described as “Mr X says he told residents this at a public meeting.” Mr Cunningham, for the Council, did not accept that the measurements were wrong which was why I put in a formal complaint in January but that is another story.

A Senior Planning Officer has retold the sequence of events to the Ombudsman to hide the fact that not only had Mr Cunningham had not advised building control about the extra width but he had also misrepresented the situation to the residents at the meeting in November.

My experience with taking the complaint against my neighbours all the way to the Ombudsman taught me not to use the phone and to keep all the correspondence! The business of using the Local Government Ombudsman to cover up malpractice, is from what I can gather, not exclusive to Planning Offices nor South Tyneside Council but is a very serious one and therefore not a local issue and that is why I have copied this to the MPs etc.

If you or anyone else has a contact in the national press it would help our cause. The Gazette is not what it used to be.


 * one could work out from the doctored drawings provided by UK Docks that the shed was nearly 3m taller than permitted using the height from the roof top down to the hip of that mansard (3m) that the rest of the shed was 9.75m giving a total height of 12.75m. See figure 1.

Criminal v Civil Action

Dear Julie,

UK Docks and Property Sale.

Thank you for the reference ‘Local Government: abuse of Power’ by the Law Gazette. It is more relevant to the issues which have arisen from my dealings with the Shields Estate Agents. Not only has a building surveyor all but said that it needs a new roof and rewiring but he does not appear to have signed his report. There is also a rumour that the new bathroom and bedroom have been built without planning permission and on top of that an unknown source has misrepresented the Grade 2 listing for 68,69 and 70 Greens Place to Goldfinch. This last one points directly to the Town Hall as its source and there is no reason to think the others have not arisen there either.

So with this much pressure you must bear with me if I lose it occasionally or more precisely, get my priorities wrong, each month that goes by I’m paying out a considerable sum in Council tax, insurance and utility bills and a small mortgage until I get the property sold. Continue reading Criminal v Civil Action

To You and Yours

From: Michael Dawson (Ex hotmail)
Sent: 23 November 2017 08:49
Cc: Emma Lewell-Buck MP

Subject: The Local Government Ombudsman and South Tyneside Council

Dear You and Yours,

I listened with interest to your article about the Ombudsman on Monday 13th November and realised that while they have no real teeth because they cannot enforce their recommendations, their authority can be misused by Councils to cover up irregularities the way that complaints are handled.

Allow me to explain:

I complained to the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) about the way South Tyneside Council had handled my complaint about a shipyard shed that had been built higher than planned but the Council misrepresented or misinformed the Ombudsman about the drawings I presented and the Inspector naturally found for the Council and my complaint was not upheld.

The Council then used the findings of the Ombudsman to mislead the MP for Northumberland about mine and other residents case but what is especially galling is the language used by the Council and in particular the word ‘allegation’ which implies I and the other residents were lying when it is the Council who was misleading the Ombudsman.

“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.”

I wrote and complained to the LGO about the Council misinforming them about the complaint 14015052 but in response to 17001436 the second Inspector said:

“I consider that your latest complaint remains that of your previous complaint which has already been determined and the opportunity to request a review of that decision has passed. I will treat your complaint therefore as invalid and your complaint will not be investigated.”

The first complaint is basically about a breach of a condition of a planning consent and the second was about how the first Inspector was mislead so it can hardly remain that of the first.

It would appear that his arbitrary application of a time limit is to cover the fact that the Council has in fact mislead the first Inspector but he is disinclined to do anything about it because of the consequences i.e. the Council use the LGO to cover the mismanagement of their own complaints procedure and this goes right up to the Chief Executive’s office.

I do not think South Tyneside invented this method of misusing the Ombudsman and I suspect it is not restricted to Planning so you may like to pass it over to Yvonne Fovargue MP or Donal Gilligan or to one of the ‘Inside Out’ teams perhaps.

If you ask South Tyneside Council about it they will say something like:”The matters and allegations raised … etc.” or “Unfortunately, the Ombudsman’s decision cannot be re-visited.” which is what they have told the MP for South Shields. It looks very much like the Ombudsman’s Inspectors are working hand in hand with the Council and that cannot be good for a just or fair system.

Yours sincerely,
Michael Dawson.