Dear Alison 20-May-2019

Please see my email below and answer the question. In the meantime please forward this letter to the Head of Legal Services along with Mr Tilbury’s advice given to me on the 26th January 2016 which I have attached. What had prompted me to seek his advice was your email to me of 9th December 2015 and please forward a copy of that to the Head of Legal Services as well if he is not Mike Harding.

Mr Tilbury said it was not really a planning matter at all, more a case of criminal fraud but the police were unlikely to take it up because they tend to refer planning matters to the civil court and that could get very expensive and Mr Cunningham and Co. would get away with incompetence or something like it. This is why we agreed that ‘misleading the Local Government Ombudsman’ (Ombudsman) was the best way forward.

I did write a draft letter to Mr Tilbury but it was 10 pages, and I had not covered everything so I thought it might be better to write to the CEO myself with a couple of the most obvious of the misrepresentations.

Your email confirmed that, not only was the Council using the Ombudsman to cover up malpractice, (and) corruption of their own complaints procedure but to also use the Ombudsman’s wrong assessment to misdirect anybody who tried to find out why the Council gave permission for the UK Docks to relocate their business in a primarily residential part of South Shields.

They also use the findings to mislead anyone who enquires why they were allowed to build a much larger structure than that for which they were given permission such as my MP, Marie Trevelyan, and is second point in your email 9-Dec-15:

We have also responded to a further enquiry made to the Council via your then local MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan, dated 1 June 2015, which claimed you had not been able to locate any details from the Council on why the shed had been approved despite the breach in planning conditions, even though at that time you had received complaint responses from both the Council and the Ombudsman.

What I said in that letter was; “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.” I followed this with a detailed explanation of why it referred to the river end and finally by; “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.”

Mr Swales did not provide any plans, new or old, because they do not exist. To get round this problem, Mrs Johnson who replied on his behalf makes out that we were wrong about the height;

“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 relabelling of our observations and or complaints as allegations appears to have become standard practice since Mrs Johnson replaced Mr Mansbridge in the ‘Complaints Procedure’ and I think it more than coincidence that that you now label my complaint that the enclosure is nearly 3m taller than planned as an ‘earlier allegation’.

This neatly brings me to the first point you were trying to make in you email of the 9th December and the primary purpose of misleading the Ombudsman. To hide malpractice:

Your email of 4th December refers to not being satisfied with the responses to the second part of your earlier contact to the team on 30 September. This was regarding the planning enforcement aspect of the existing boat repair shed. This matter has been investigated fully by the Council through its corporate complaints procedure. The complaint was not upheld and was also considered and decided by the Local Government Ombudsman who found no fault with the Council’s decision.

The email of the 4th of December was written because Mr Simmonette, the planning officer promoting the expansion of the boatyard, had not responded to my email of of the 30th September.

In the earlier one I had explained the shed was a meter wider and 3 meters taller than planned and said: “You appear to be accepting an application to extend a structure that does not have planning permission.” In the email of the 4th of December I went into much greater detail backing up my claim about the height of the enclosure by reference to the approved drawings 8296/2 and 8296/14 and positing: “The request for permission to extend it by 25% appears to be an attempt bypass the planning regulations, see condition 2 in the original grant of permission.”

If you had checked what was being said in these two emails you would have realised that I was advising Mr Simmonette that the shed was too high and if he did not believe it just look at the approved drawings. There was nothing about enforcement and it appears he told you that because he did not want to admit I was right about the height. In this he was following a trend developed by Mr Cunningham in September 2013 when we first asked him about the planned height of the enclosure.

From what I could gather he, Mr Cunningham, was telling people at first that the enclosure had been approved while some of us had worked out that it had not in various ways. Our main objection was that it was 3 meters higher than planned. Some knew it was also wider than planned, thought it was inappropriately located and thought that the change of use breached the conditions of the grant.

Now it turns out that all of these are true but the Council/Ombudsman have found for UK Docks on all of them but the one thing they cannot skirt around is the fact that it is built 2.7 meters taller than planned and you and others get round this by implying that were lying or making allegations when it is the Council that are at fault in this respect. (Allegation: a claim or assertion that someone has done something illegal or wrong, typically one made without proof).

I first came across this sort of libel in a copy of a letter to my MP from Mrs Johnson dated 25th June 2015 in which she suggests that not only me but the other protestors are wrong about the enclosure. Notice that she does not have the grace to send me a copy of attachment 6 and I did not see what she was saying about us for six months It was not an oversight judging by her comment at the bottom and when I saw the copy you sent me in January 2016 I realised why Anne-Marie’s office had not responded to my enquires and what a nasty piece of work Mrs Johnson was.

I think we are entitled to know what else was said about us by Mrs Johnson in her letter and the five other attachments. Please forward them to me under the freedom of information act.

The letter of the 5th October was Mrs J Johnson’s 2nd response to my letter to the Chief Executive of the 8th July 2016 about some of the misrepresentations presented to the Ombudsman and their source. Mrs Johnson earlier responded on his behalf by saying that there was no evidence of ‘deliberate’ misinformation having been made to the Ombudsman. Misinformation by its very nature is deliberate and she contradicts what Mr Tilbury says in his letter about what the Council have told the Ombudsman.

She carries out her threat in her letter of the 5th October and my response of the 2nd September 2016 and its accompanying letter to Customer Advocacy have remained unanswered all this time and UK Docks have extended their shed without planning permission onto footings laid in 2001.

This appears to be the real reason for closing down conversation about the enclosure. The plans for its extension, submitted by the agent Gary Craig, relied on the Council supporting the false premise that structure signed off in June 2014 had planning permission.

As for Mrs Johnson reasons for imposing her ‘omerta’ let me just refer you to the last point in your letter of the 9th December (which) were spurious to say the least. The emails exchanged between us in July 2015 were about requests for information, not complaints (9th Dec, last paragraphs). It so happens the information you provided, and I thanked you for it, showed that it was the Council corrupting their complaints procedure, not I.

If you look at my letter (to Mrs Johnson) of the 2nd September bottom of first page, you will see a statement that I had already been to a solicitor and received a response. The ball’s in your court. I see no need to engage Mr Tilbury again and I suggest someone from your legal section attends to my email of the 2nd September 2016 and discusses the matter with Mr Tilbury if they so wish.

Kind regards
Michael Dawson

<> on behalf of Customer Advocates <> Sent: 01 December 2017 11:51 To:
Subject: RE: Misrepresentation/misinformation given by South Tyneside Council [PROTECT]
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, therefore should you wish to seek your own legal advice and they have any queries for the Council’s Legal Team they should write to the team at the Town Hall address: Legal Section South Tyneside Council Level 1 (Beach Road) Town Hall and Civic Offices Westoe Road South Shields NE33 2RL

Yours sincerely
Alison Hoy
Performance and Information Support Officer South Tyneside Council, Level 0, Town Hall and Civic Offices, Westoe Road, South Shields, Tyne & Wear, NE33 2RL Tel: 0191 424 6028

From: Michael Dawson [] Sent: 30 November 2017 07:36 To: Customer Advocates Subject: Misrepresentation/misinformation given by South Tyneside Council Dear Alison, Please advise me of email address of the Head of Legal Services. Mr M Harding used to fill this post but I notice in recent correspondence with my former MP that he is now the Monitoring Officer at South Tyneside Council. Yours sincerely,
Michael Dawson

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