Shed and Corruption – Part 11: Shooting the Messenger in 2015

The neighbours of UK Docks’ slipway shed off River Drive complained about its height in September 2013 and after the Council’s Planning Manager conceded that it was too tall, some five months later, we asked for it to be removed but instead of it being removed the Council removed the admission that it was taller than permitted from the records.
How this was done was described in a letter to the Chief Executive, 3-Mar-22:  Shooting the Messenger in 2015 which was an attachment, SandC-Part11.pdf, to a covering email separating not unrelated issues.

Date: 03/03/2022 (15:14:43 GMT)
From: mick.dawson@theharbourview.co.uk
To: Jonathan Tew, Hayley Johnson, George Mansbridge, Helen Dalby, Emma Lewell-Buck MP, Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP
Attachment: SandC-Part11.pdf (262 KB)

There were two issues, the first being the English Coastal Path which should really be a matter for Parliament and something needs to be done about that quite quickly for the corrupt practice of giving away public footpaths to the developers of sites overlooking them has spread from South Tyneside to Northumberland County Council.

The second is the height of UK Docks’ Shed which I described as a first cycle of deceit to a former neighbour, I was forgetting the first cycle of deceit was the complaint about 71 Greens Place, called Double Standards in August 2021.

I had originally mentioned Cycles of Deceit in a post of February 2020 when I was planning the Shed and Corruption series and thought it might be Part 4 before mentioning it again, the first 2 being the time before Customer Advocacy’s email of the 9th December 2015, 3 being Sunday Working, 4 being up to the email to Cllr Hamilton on the 23rd December 2019 and Part 5 about the false accusation that the MP for South Shield and I were colluding to influence the Local Government Ombudsman’s decisions.

I was also overlooking something that should have been obvious from the beginning, and that was that the second cycle of deceit began with the Principal Planning Officer referring me back to the Town hall meeting because he did not want admit that the shed was taller than permitted and it ended with the accusation that we were making allegations by the Council’s Corporate Lead because she needed to hide the fact that we were correct when we complained that the shed was not only taller than planned, it had been used to cover what was to become a ship repair yard.

After I had hauled the complaint that the shed was too tall back on course, the Planning Manager had the simple  choice of backing his Principal Planning Officer or the protestors, of which I was only one of many, and he chose to back Mr Cunningham presumably to save himself the trouble of taking disciplinary action against his offending planning officer.

His offence was to claim that the shed had approval when the approved plans indicated that not only was the shed wider than planned it was materially taller as well.

My letter to Mr Tew, Chief Executive, of March 3rd, began:- “I have laid out the timeline which I shared with my neighbours in Greens Place and your office from September 2013 but before we retrace our steps through the Council Complaints Procedure, I suggest you determine, by the examination of the approved drawing 8296/2, what the planned height of UK Docks’ shed should be.

In the letter, Shooting the Messenger 2015, I first ask Mr Tew to look at the only approved drawing from 1996 with dimensions and that was because it gave the landward end as 12.7m and then I described how the complaint about the shed being too big and how, in its passage through the complaints system, it was sent round and round in numerous cycles of deceit where every time I point out a material deviation from plan, it is challanged. Finally it was denied by reference to an unauthorised drawing that contains a major mistake to the Ombudsman.

In the first stage, it was passed back to someone who was happy to declare the shed ‘legal’, the first cycle of deceit, and in the second, third and fourth stages, they repeated the lie that the shed had been built to the approved height each one being a cycle of deceit and so on:-

Undesignated complaint

1 Mr Cunningham Compliant with plans that were not approved i.e. ones in error that gave the Landward End as 15.5m.
2 Mr G Atkinson Approved Height Landward End = 15.5m

Complaint ID: 248789

3 Mr G Mansbridge Approved Height Landward End = 15.5m

Complaint ID: 253539 – & – Mansbridge Trap

4 Mr G Mansbridge Approved Height Landward End = 15.5m
5 Ms M Hamilton No mention of the height at all.
6 LGO – 1st Draft No mention of the height at all.
7
8
LGO – 2nd Draft The complainant says the shed is also 3 metres higher than it should be. The Council says it is not. There is no fault in how the Council decided the shed is the permitted height. Second draft reference.

Letter to Emma Lewell-Buck, MP diverted to the MP for Berwick.

8 LGO – 3rd Draft The complainant says the shed is also 3 metres higher than it should be. The Council says it is not. There is no fault in how the Council decided the shed is the permitted height. Final draft reference.
9 LGO
2nd Inspector
I consider that your latest complaint remains that of your previous complaint which has already been determined and the opportunity to request a review of that decision has passed.

In the fifth and sixth stages they failed to mention the height at all and in the seventh and eighth they just repeated the denial given to them by a Senior Panning Officer as I explained to the 1st Ombudsman in great detail in Lexplanation1A.pdf.

In the ninth, the complaint that they had given misinformation to the Ombudsman was conflated with the original complaint to avoid the denial made by his predecessor and that takes us back to the very beginning.

The letter to the MP for South Shields, ended up with the MP for Northumberland and she asked the Chief Executive:- “Mr Dawson has not been able to locate any detail from the Council as to why the structure was approved despite the breach in planning conditions, and has been attempting to do so for nearly a year.

When the structure was approved by the building inspector,  he hid the fact that it was nearly 3 m too tall, then the Chief Executive asked his Corporate Lead to accuse me and the other residents, of making allegations so that he did not have to admit to the cycle of deceits perpetrated by his staff:- “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.

It was because of that exchange in mid 2015 that I called the retelling of this cycle of events from 2013 to the new Chief Executive, Mr Tew:- ‘Shooting the Messenger’

Denials and conflations are the main methods used to corrupt a complaints procedure but no less important are the other items in the table first publicised in Shed and Corruption – Part 2:-

Evasion is supported variously by:
[1] Complaint or questions not recorded
[2] Back-pass
[3] Unfounded contradiction (a denial)
[4] Conflation
[5] Diversion into a dead end (forward pass)

It would appear that complaints raised by the other local residents and I were not well documented and UK Docks provides many examples of each method of evasion. Please see page 4 of ‘Burying the Truth’.

I finish Shooting the Messenger 2015 with the observation that by the time I find out that we have been falsely accused of making allegations the date for making making any observations about ST/0461/14/FUL had closed and one can blame the Council’s Corporate Lead for that. Her parting shot in attachment 6 of her letter to Anne-Marie Trevelyan of the 25th June 2015 was to say:-

I hope that this information is useful. Please do not hesitate to share this letter with your constituent.

The letter was not shared and I do not know else was said. My request to know what was said in the main letter and the other attachments was ignored and it is not unreasonable to come to the conclusion it was not much different from what a Senior Planning Officer told the Ombudsman.

While I knew that the Council were using the Ombudsman to hide malpractice in their planning and building control sections, it was not until I received an email from Alison Hoy on the 9th December 2015, on behalf of Customer Advocates Customer that I get confirmation that they were doing this, 2nd paragraph:-

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.

I also get confirmation that there is another reason in paragraph 5:-

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.

It was to fend off enquiries from people like MPs and Journalists and I took a copy of this email to a solicitor for advice and he said that it would be best to raise a complaint about the Council giving misinformation to the Ombudsman. That was in January 2016 and it was not until July that I made the decision to raise the complaint with the Chief Executive about it.

It was no good pursuing it with Messrs Mansbridge and Co as they had failed to let the Committee who approved ST/0461/14/FUL, know that the existing shed was taller than planned. The company that I have associated with Mr Mansbridge included Mr Simmonette by the time of Alison’s email of the 9th December. It was he who forwarded the emails mentioned in the first two paragraphs of that email:-

I have been forwarded your emails to the Planning Team dated 4th and 7th December 2015, in order to clarify the Council’s position regarding your comments on issues relating to the existing boat repair shed at UK Docks Tyne Slipway and your earlier complaint to the Council regarding this matter.
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 was one of the best examples of a forward pass into a dead end, item [5] on the list and compares with the Planning Manager getting shot of 248789 to Mr Mansbridge in April 2014.

The email to Mr Simmonette on the 30th September was the first time in which, the approved plan 8296/2 was directly referred, and you can see why Mr Simmonette asked Alison to make sure it ended up unanswered. It was about a lot more than the lack of enforcement and you can see why I the first thing I asked Mr Tew to look at 8296/2 before he did anything else.

8296/2 was indirectly referred to, in the request that the Council request that UK Docks either rebuild their shed to the correct size or remove it, made on March 4th 2014. Mr Mansbridge ensured that went into the bin when he re-badged 248789 as 253539 in May 2014.

I finish Shed and Corruption Part 11 with:-

It would appear that the Council’s Corporate Lead was the most important in a line of people starting with Cllr Anglin, Mr Haig and Mr Watson in getting UK Docks their longer shed and I can only assume that she was chosen to take a shot at me again when I told the Chief Executive that his staff were giving misinformation to the Ombudsman because she did such a good job in persuading the MP for Berwick that we were making allegations.

The ground covered in Part 11 ended over six years ago when the Corporate Lead told the MP for Berwick:- “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 lengthy period in time began eight and a half years ago with Mr Cunningham referring my neighbour to a complaints procedure instead of answering the question was the planned height of the shed 12m or 15.5m and I finish with the covering email with:- “The Council have adopted even more underhand methods since the end of 2015 to hide the misdemeanours of various staff and I hope to give you the details of how it was done, before too long.

 

2 thoughts on “Shed and Corruption – Part 11: Shooting the Messenger in 2015”

  1. The letter titled Shooting the Messenger in 2015 was sent to
    Jonathan Tew, Hayley Johnson, George Mansbridge, Helen Dalby, Emma Lewell-Buck MP and Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP by mistake. It should have been sent to Mr Tew and copied to the rest.
    I was in two minds as to whether to call it ‘Cycles of Deceit’ or ‘Shooting the Messenger’ and chose the latter as a previous post of that name had attracted a great many views.

    1. In the letter I mention, measuring the width of the shed and it could quite easily be done from Green Place before it was clad by placing chalk marks on the railings.
      The first attempts gave a width of about 14m and a width of the columns of about 750mm because the railings were not square to the sight line but with the help of a builders square they became 13.2m and 700mm which turned out to be better than 1% error.

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