Emasculation of Complaints

This is zero on the list of methods or devices used by the Council to corrupt the complaints procedure. It is used to kill off any valid complaint at birth complaint that the Council do no wish to handle. Its use is universal when any complaint is made against any inappropriate development in which the Council is vested and with more consequence it is used to cover over any administrative irregularities.

Example 1: Sunday working by UK Docks on River Drive.
This is head of the list because of it’s simplicity. The Planning Officer responsible did not acknowledge the breach of planning, he gave Customer Advocacy two items of misinformation and left them to respond:

Customer Advocacy were told:"With regards to the control of general working hours at the site, in respect of planning no restrictions exist. This matter was considered and responded to by the Local Government Ombudsman in response to the earlier complaint they investigated on your behalf.

Condition 5 (Sunday Working) was laid down in 1996 and would still be in force until when UK Docks took over the Tyne Slipway in 2013.

The Ombudsman was told: #16. The Authority’s view is that condition 5 should not have been imposed because the site already had the benefit of unrestricted working hours. I cannot comment on this. I do not know how the business operated in 1996 and it is too long ago for the Ombudsman to investigate.

The complaint was about interpretation of plans and the breach of the second condition. Condition 5 was not mentioned in my complaint to the LGO. One will need to ask South Tyneside Council why the Inspector was asked to consider the fifth condition. As you can see she cannot comment on it.

2.The matter was also considered in the committee report for the latest planning application for the site:
5.61 It would be unreasonable to seek to impose a planning condition restricting the working hours of the boat repair business or restricting the types of works associated with boat repairs at this application site, as it is an established boat repair yard. Furthermore, it is considered that condition to require the additional boat shed doors to be closed when activities are taking place would be unnecessary and unreasonable because activities on the slipway or on the existing jetty.

When permission was granted for the slipway cover, the T&WDC took into account the location of the slipway. The author of the report to the STC Planning Committee appears to be responsible for misleading CA. Since the permission was granted there is now housing  along the downstream side of the boatyard. It was formally Velva Liquids of “Body in the Tank” fame.

Breach of Fifth Condition.
The observation and complaint first made 20th December 2016 :

From: Michael Dawson
Sent: 20 December 2016 15:53
To: complaints@southtyneside.gov.uk
Subject: Re: Sunday Working by UK Docks, River Drive.
Dear Sir or Madam,
This is the second time in a few weeks that they have been working on a Sunday.
Please acknowledge this complaint as I wish to take the issue up with the ward Councillor who organised the meeting – see below.
Kind regards,
Michael Dawson
Greens Place S/S

From an email addressed to another residents:

I was told at a meeting with Mr Cunningham, the Principal Planning Officer, in November 2013, about the Conditions attached original Grant in 1996 (No 5 referred to the working hours) and they had been agreed as 7am to 7pm but not Sundays or Bank holidays.

That the complaint was not registered by the officer responsible was only discovered by calling in the Town Hall and asking what happened to it.
The ward Councillor had meanwhile washed his hands of it.

From: John Anglin 
Sent: 21 January 2017 09:19
To: 'Michael Dawson'; 'Customer Advocates'
Subject: RE: Non Compliance (Base of Enclosure) and Sunday Working, UK Docks, River
Dear Mr Dawson
As you are are dealing with the Council directly and processing an official complaint, I obviously cannot be part of any actions whilst claims and allegations are being investigated.
John Anglin

This treatment of complaints  was first noticed when the local residents complained that the slipway cover was bigger than planned and the design had been altered to accommodate an overhead travelling crane.
If the Council had re-considered the objections originally raised 1996 in 2001, when the footings for the current structure were laid, then the developers would have had to locate the business in location more appropriate for ship repair, a graving dock for instance. Not rare on the Tyne nor the Wear in 1996.

Further examples of Observations and /or Complaints arising from the breaches of the 2nd condition that have not been addressed:

  1. 16-Dec-13, the cover was a meter wider than planned;
  2. 10-Jan-14, the cover was also 3m too high;
  3. 4-Apr-14, comment about Petition spoiler in Shields Gazette;
  4. 2-May-14, the planners were abusing the complaints procedure;
  5. 9-May-14, response to Petition repeating misrepresentations made by the Planning Manager;
  6. 8-Jul-14, Planning Manager does not bring the Agent’s drawing to a meeting specifically arranged to review it;
  7. 29-Aug-14, CA advised about nil show of 8296/14 at meeting ;
  8. 5-Sep-14, CA advised that no action had been taken on mail 4-Apr-14;
  9.  21-Nov-14, no-one responsible for making sure that structures are built to plan:
  10. this list under review and could easily grow to 30 items.

Please note these are only the ones raised by me and they all stem from the meeting in November 2013 were we were told, against all the evidence, that cover was compliant with regard to the second condition.

The example is a breach of the fifth condition. Which is a completely separate issue from the second condition.
Logically separate entities but the Council insist that they are not to avoid entering into any correspondence about condition 5.

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