Complaint to LGO

[Central to this complaint are the three emphasized paragraphs, 25-Nov, 20-Dec and 13-Feb. The approved drawings made their appearance between those dates.]

12-Dec-14 Complaint to LGO – What do you think the body did wrong?

The Council have allowed the UK Docks development on Riverside Drive to proceed despite multiple objections from residents and that in dealing with these objections they have neither been open or transparent. It has taken 15 months to gain the admission that the construction did not have planning permission:-
05-Sep-2013 Work began on erecting five steel frames of what was to become a large slipway cover to the surprise and dismay of residents nearby. They were understandably annoyed that they were not given any notice. When contacted a representative of the Council expressed equal surprise. The Principal Planning Officer, Mr Peter Cunningham sent out what were said to be approved plans to Ms M Todd, a neighbour.
25-Nov-2013. A meeting was arranged by Councillor John Anglin between Councillors, Mr Cunningham, and a local residents group including myself. Mr Cunningham again repeated that the shed was neither too wide nor too high and had been built to an approved plan. The slipway cover was said to be ‘legal’.
20-Dec-2013 Mr P Cunningham said in an email to me: “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 also said “Please do not email me again”
13-Feb-2014 Mr G Atkinson, Planning Manager said that the the current structure is not built to “approved” plans.
03-Apr-2014 Petition presented to CEO South Tyneside Council. We protest at:-

  1. A lack of relevant information from STMBC
  2. A lack of public consultation on the unannounced construction
  3. Lack of research and impact surveys
  4. Apparent negligence by STMBC
  5. Apparent breach of planning law by the developers

02-May-2014 Mr Mansbridge, Head of Development Services, responded to the Petition and requests that work was stopped on the construction while the issues surrounding the plans were resolved by saying that “Apart from the width these dimensions are either entirely in accordance with the approved plan, or subject to such minor deviation that they are properly categorised as non-material changes”. He also says that “Enforcement action is at the discretion of the Council as Local Planning Authority.”
24-Nov-2014 Michaela Hamilton, Customer Advocacy wrote in an email to me that “I can confirm that as previously advised, the Council accepts that the structure in question does not have planning permission”.

How has this affected you?

I have a feeling that the planning office is not balanced in the way it handles planning decisions and thus makes wrong decisions. It has taken others and I fifteen months to do what Planning Officials could have done in a couple of days if they had had the will.
It has taken me a year from when I was told at a meeting that it was being built to an approved plan to get South Tyneside Council to admit that the slipway cover was actually built without planning permission. It’s probably a bit strong to say that its taken a year off my life. It is a year I could have done without and explains why I no longer wish to live in South Shields.
I’ve decided to leave my home where I’d planned to spend my my retirement. This was in spite of recently spending £55,000 on improving it, and have moved away.
I’ve already already reduced the sale price of the property by 6.25% and expect it to go down by as much again if there is another slipway shed built as planned.

What do you think the body should do to put things right?

In 1996 the Tyne and Wear Development Corporation stated that they would not support any additional expansion of the yard so close to a residential area. I would like to see they ensure that the developers follow this guidance and if they wish to expand their business, move their ship repair facility to a more appropriate location on one many sites that could be used within the Port of Tyne Estate.
Apologise to the people in Greens Place and Harbour View for the inconvenience that they have been put through.

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