Shed and Corruption – Part 14

Covering Email

Shed and Corruption - Part 14
Date: 29/04/2022 (16:27:49 BST)
To:   Nicola Robason
Cc:   Emma Lewell-Buck MP, Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, 
      Paula Abbott, Alison Hoy, Hayley Johnson
Attachment: Shed and Corruption - Part 14.pdf

Dear Nicola,

Please see the attached file. I hope my condemnation of the two planning officers needs no explanation. *

When Mrs Johnson first accused me of being unreasonable in my attempts to bring the truth about UK Docks’ shed to everyone’s attention, one of her claims was that I had adopted a ‘scattergun’ approach:- “pursuing a complaint or complaints with the authority and, at the same time, with a Member of Parliament/a councillor/independent auditor/the Standards Board/local police/solicitors, while an appropriate avenue is available via the Local Government Ombudsman;

I responded:- I have not written to the local police, independent auditors or the Standards Board which you are implying. If I think that the Council is acting improperly on any issue I believe I am entitled to write to my MP – it is up to the MP whether he or she takes up my case. I wrote to my ward Councillors because they, apart from the Chairman of the Planning Committee(Cllr Wood), attended the meeting where we were told the shed was ‘legal’.  Are you suggesting that the Councillors should not be told that they were misinformed by a Principal Planning Officer of the Council?

I included members of the Residents Group Committee as well because I had to relay the ‘facts’ to a meeting with them a few hours after the same meeting where we were told the shed was ‘legal’. I did not believe what I had been told by the Officer and it took me 2 months and numerous emails to prove that shed was not ‘legal’  or should I say compliant. Are you suggesting that members of the Residents Group should remain ignorant of the fact that the shed was not compliant and built without planning permission?

Mrs Johnson sensibly dropped the scattergunning business after my response but I see Paula Abbott has included it again in her false accusations made against me in her email/letter to me a year ago. Please remind her that when the approved plans say that the shed is 2.7m taller than planned it is not unreasonable to say that it is taller than planned and the same thing goes for the width.

I went on to tell Mrs Johnson in September 2016:-The Council have not produced any legal documents in nearly three years to support their contention that the shed is built to an approved height and no-one will enter into a debate about it. When probed, they: a) avoid the issue, b) say or imply, wrongly, that the shed is built to approved plans, c) refer the issue on to someone else or d) say the subject is closed. Apart from a) they often add or repeat an item of misinformation which is what has complicated the matter.

It is now over eight years and the Council have still not produced any legal document(s) to back their claim that the shed had been built to the approved height and it looks like Paula has been used to continue the policies that were already in place when Mr Swales allowed the Head of Development Services to misinform us in 2014 in his response to our Petition when he told us the shed had been built to the approved height.

Mr Swales had retired by the time of Paula’s false accusations so who asked them to be made. I believe and sincerely hope it was not you.

Kind regards
Michael Dawson

* 1) the Principal Planning Officer. He never said it was ‘legal’ but he did not take the trouble to correct Mr Haig who is now a Director of  HB Hydraulics when he said it to imply that mean the shed had been approved.
* 2) a Senior Planning Officer who convinced the Ombudsman that 8296/1B was an approved drawing. It was never approved.

Shed and Corruption – Part 14 (the detail)

On April 15th 2015 the Local Government Ombudsman said in her summary:-

Summary: This complaint is not upheld. In 2013 a developer resumed building a boat shed for which he had planning permission and had started building in 2001.1Local residents complained but the Council found the developer could still build the shed.2 However,the developer built it almost a metre wider than he should have done.3 There is no evidence of fault in the way the Council dealt with the breach of planning control and its decision not to take enforcement action.4 It kept residents informed throughout the process.5 The complainant says the shed is also 3 metres higher than it should be.6 The Council says it is not.7 There is no fault in how the Council decided the shed is the permitted height.8

Critical Review of Summary -> p3

Part 14 is to provide evidence to show that the Summary was a work of fiction and used to misinform enquirers such as MPs and representatives from the local press and to do that, the Council had to falsely accuse us, the local residents and many petitioners, of making allegations, Corporate Lead to MP For Berwick, 25-Jun-15:- 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.

One only needs to look at the height of the finished shed (18.2m at the waters edge) and the approved drawing from 1966 (15.5m at that end), to see what the truth was, and still is, because South Tyneside Council still maintain the lie that the shed is built to the approved height by accusing me of unreasonable behaviour, Information and Feedback Officer, 29-April-21:- In my view, your behaviour is unreasonable because of persistent refusal to accept a decision.

A decision was taken to hide the fact that UK Docks’ shed on their slipway off River Drive was nearly 3m taller than planned and to do that the Council had to keep on repeating the lie that the shed had been built to the approved height until it got through all the stages of a compromised complaints procedure which included the Ombudsman, paragraph 35:- In January 2014 the Council wrote to Mr X about this. It said the overall structure on the plans is 15.5 metres at the land end and the foundations are 2.656 metres lower at the river end due to the gradient. It said the agreed structure is much higher at the river end.

In paragraph 34, the Ombudsman had repeated an outright lie which I was not prepared accept:- I have seen the 1996 plans. On plan 1/B the applicant has written the proposed elevations at the inland end as 12.5 metres plus 3 metres. Mr X says the Council should not have taken the applicant’s word for this. The planning authority has to consider what an applicant applies for; it can grant or refuse this but it cannot make an applicant submit something different. This developer applied for a shed 15.5 metres high at the land end. The Tyne and Wear Development Corporation as planning authority approved this. The current Council had to accept this as the approved height.

The Tyne and Wear Development Corporation had not approved it and by January 2014 I had sufficient proof to raise a complaint which has never answered:- As the applicant has not discharged condition 2 why is there no retrospective planning application?

It was never answered because it would have shown that UK Docks, the two Executives of the Tyne Gateway Assn, the Principal Planning Officer and Councillors had been complicit in the fraudulent misrepresentation of the shed’s height and width. When the decision was taken to hide the fact that the shed was taller than planned it meant the argument about the shed’s height was displaced from where to belonged, i.e. between UK Docks and the Council, to one between the local residents and Council which could be driven all the way through to the Ombudsman by the Council repeating, again and again, through each stage and more that the shed was built to the approved height.

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