Mansbridge Trap – In Detail

Set in June 2014

The complaint 248789 had run its course by March 2014 when the Planning Manager was thanked for conceding that the shed was too tall by 3m by reference to drawing  8296/2 and we should have been considering the fate of the shed as we had exhausted the Council’s Complaints procedure at the end of its second stage with an admission that the Residents were correct about the height of UK Docks’ shed  but it was not something the Council  wanted to admit.

The Head of Development Services, Mr Mansbridge had lied to the residents of Greens Place and Harbour in a letter to them saying that UK Docks had approval for their shed 2-May-14. It looks like he did this to avoid having to instruct his enforcement officer to halt work on it and he did this by overwriting the second stage 248789 a new second Stage by giving it a new number 253539. He said:-

The drawing you have referred to [8296/14] was submitted in discharge of condition 4 relating to the fixing details of the end panels. The engineer also chose to include a gable elevation of the structure on the same drawing but that was not drawn to scale. If it would help I would be more than happy to meet with you to show you the relevant plans and elevation as this may clear up this specific point. – George Mansbridge, 02-Jun-14

The lie, hidden in that statement, was ‘the same drawing but that was not drawn to scale’ and it reappeared in the Ombudsman’s findings -# 37.
It was drawn to a scale of 1:100.

The trap was sprung at the Meeting – July 8th,  when drawing 8296/14 was not brought to the table. The Planning Manager did not bring it to the meeting because it would have exposed the fraud that the shed was built to  the approved height and his part in propagating it. In doing this he was preparing the ground for a Senior Planning Officer to misinform the Local Government Ombudsman.

From: George Mansbridge
Cc: Leanne Bootes
Sent: Wednesday, July 09, 2014 8:21 PM

Dear Michael

I know that Gordon has already responded to you following his further review of the file[1] and in particular the report by TWDC to their Board. I did however want to drop you a line just to thank you for your time yesterday. I fully understand that there are issues associated with the UK Docks development that you remain unhappy with however I did appreciate the manner by which to conducted yourself when we met; so thank you for that.
We did not get an opportunity to talk about the letter you sent to my Chief Executive [2]. My assumption is that you would still like his office to review this matter as a stage 3 [3] complaint in accord with our complaints process. If that is not the case then please let me know and I will pass that information on.

Kind regards
George Mansbridge
Head of Development Services

  1. Planning Managers Review.
  2. Letter to Chief Executive explaining the height with reference to 8296/14
  3. Wrong.  ‘our complaint process’ is designed to deliver a false picture to the Local Government Ombudsman so the complaint will not be upheld.

The trap is simple, if I say yes we move to stage 3 of the rewritten complaint 253539 and 248789 is consigned to the bin and the shed stays put.
If I say no the letter to the Chief Executive goes in the bin to join the original complaint that the shed is taller than planned where it was put by Principal Planning Officer on 13-Jan-14.
Both remove the need for any enforcement action and the shed stays put.

Not quite what the Guide says but UK Docks appear to be a law unto themselves

I suspected the outcome of the meeting would be like the one organised in November 2013 by Councillor Anglin,and that was to repeat the fraudulent misrepresentation that the height of the shed had been approved, so I wrote to the to CEO the day before the meeting and I explained how the shed was a meter wider and nearly 3m taller than permitted. I carefully explain to him the implications of drawings and attached copy email 04 Mar: “Thank you also for confirming that the Slipway Shed is not built to the approved 1996 plans”

The catch is that there is only one approved drawing from 1996, 8296/2, and that only bears one dimension and that is the landward end of the shed and that works out at 12.7m. When it was measured by the Principal Planning Officer in September 2013, he found it to be 15.5m

In retrospect I think the inclusion of i.e. legal in the last paragraph was pure mischief on my part as the only people to use legal to mean approved apart from UK Docks are Cllr Anglin and the Director of HB Hydraulics, Mr K Haig.

They simply did not tender 8296/14 to a meeting specifically arranged to view it because it would have brought to light a couple of truths the main one being that the scale of the gable end on it was 1:100 and confirmed the permitted height of the river end was what the residents said and not what the Council said.

The Planning Manager brought along 8296/1A and 8296/2 instead and when I told the meeting 8296/1A showed both ends to have the same height the meeting came to an abrupt end and ended up with me giving them a earful of my views on the amount of corruption I had had to put up with.

The Planning Manager kindly let me keep the copy of 8296/2 that was not authorised but that only showed more clearly what the height of the landward end on the authorised copy was. It was 12.7m.

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