Dear Monitoring Officer 7-May-2019

The whole point of the original complaint, which I have attached, made when UK Docks restarted work on the enclosure in January 2014, was that they had not applied for retrospective planning permission and as far as I am aware they had not before they applied for permission to extend it, 20-05-2014. You can confirm that this is true.

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.

This all goes back to the Town Hall meeting where we were told, by the Planning Officer responsible, that the enclosure was built to approved plans and even when we discovered that the structure at that time was 2.7 meters and nearly a meter wider than planned the Council continued to deny it. They even told the Ombudsman, after we had been through all the various levels of Management with the complaint, that the shed was the permitted height and the variation in width was not material i.e. the enclosure had been built with planning permission.

If there had been a request for retrospective planning, I would have pointed to the extra set of footings. UK Docks have since lengthened the enclosure to what one sees now by using that extra pair of footings laid in 2001.

I suggest that if they had applied for retrospective planning they would have been allowed a wider shed but not the taller one and certainly not the longer one. That would not have been economically viable and why UK Docks never applied retrospectively for the much larger enclosure you now see on their slipway on River Drive.

Ultimately the blame rests with the Director of UK Docks, it was his decision to relocate his business from Commercial Road to River Drive and you will have to ask him why he presented unauthorised drawings, made in 1997 as authorised drawings from 1996, to the Council in September 2013.

At the same time you should ask why a Senior Planning Officer of South Tyneside Council presented the same drawings to the Local Government Ombudsman a year and a half later.

This brings me back to the interpretation of the plans seen at the Town Hall Meeting of Nov 25, 2013. The residents said the measurements showed the enclosure was too high and too wide and the planning officer said they did not. Now that UK Docks are saying they should have applied for permission for their much bigger shed it suggests that the residents were right all along and the question now becomes: why was the Enforcement Officer not informed of the breaches in planning control in September 2013?

Kind regards,
Michael Dawson.

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