STC and Corruption – No 71

For me it started with a Planning Officer and her misapplication of the planning guidelines(SPD9). They were ignored, No71-and-Corruption.

First a comment on No 72:- I was told by the building inspector, Mr Telford that the single dormer that occupied nearly the whole of the roof width of 72 was not a material consideration but discovered later that was just his opinion. Mr Telford was applying different standards to No 72 to those being applied to No 70. which meant that the owner of No 72 avoided having to put in for permission retrospectively.

If anyone had bothered to check, the Listing of No 70 was specific to the frontage and the door in particular, not to any materials used for modifications to the back. I should have questioned the addition of conditions 3 & 4 but as the planning section’s grudge against the previous owners of No 70 was well known and still hung over the place, I just paid the extra for the bricks, which the builder went to some trouble to match. We both agreed that if they tried to enforce metal gutters they would be open to ridicule!

Primarily, this article is about No. 71 – When I mentioned that Mr Haig had not even followed the permitted plans, the Ombudsman had said that as I had not taken the complaint thought the Council’s Complaints Procedure (CCP), she was not able to consider it. This was the first indication in writing that the Council and LGO were working in unison to stifle complaints.

I had noticed as I progressed through the CCP the justification for my complaint against the demolition and rebuild of much of the party wall between 70 and 71 Greens Place had disappeared. The other setback was that Mr Haig had lied to his solicitor when he said that a party wall agreement was in place and I had to force him into one.

It turned out to be a waste of time and money as it was never honoured and in this, he required the assistance of the building inspector, Mr M Telford and a planning officer, Ms L Brennan. Mike Telford was already party to the fraud that Mr and Mrs Haig had permission for what they had built as a party wall when he first made himself absent while its construction was taking place. Lynne Brennan joined that select company when she failed to check the details on Dr J Martin’s application form of the 1st July 2013 were correct.

She did not visit the site until after the decision had been made on ST/0745/13/HFUL. If she had it would have been obvious that there was no fence atop the lower wall.

Mr Haig had reverted to the original plan for a wall.

I did take the Ombudsman’s Inspectors advice and that led to Mr Haig having to put in an application for permission for his two roof gardens to be granted retrospectively. The revision was:- “Construction of a wall to the west side of a flat roof above the two- storey extension. Introduction of solar panels at roof level above the two-storey extension.

The wall to the west side is the wall next to 70 Greens Place, the lower one over the garage and the upper over 1st floor lounge.

This was pointed out in response to the Planning Manager’s view but by November the term retrospective had been dropped from ST/0749/13/FUL. It then just said:- “Consent sought for the construction of a wall to the west side Boundary etc.

The Planning Manager had written ‘retrospective’ out of the consideration and the revised job passed to a planning officer and acknowledged on the 12th November.

I mention all this because what had started life as an application for retrospective planning permission had by the time the Planning Manager, Mr Atkinson given it approval on the 5th December 2013, had become one which bore little resemlance to the one of 1st July 2013.

It had become ST/0749/13/HFUL and its predecessor, ST/0749/13/FUL, had completely disappeared. Since there is no way the Council will allow ST/0749/13/FUL to be recovered there is very little I can do about 71 Greens Place, its first floor patio garden to the rear and its roof top balcony to the front, except to say that if one wants to view an excellent example of the corruption endemic in the Town Hall in South Shields, just take a stroll down the back lane to Greens Place and then back down Greens Place itself.

When someone had recognised the fact a retrospective application would have to be made and raised ST/0749/13/FUL this did not suit Mr Haig, the planning officer involved nor her manager, Mr Atkinson. Nor did it suit the building inspector, Mr Telford or the Senior Enforcement Officer and so ST/0749/13/FUL was “deleted” and replaced with ST/0749/13/HFUL.

The quotes are there because I suspect it still exists because if anyone was caught deleting such a document they would find it difficult to defend their action and one can reasonably accuse South Tyneside Council of corruption until ST/0749/13/FUL is fully restored and implemented.

Lynne Brennan has been deliberately omitted from the list above because it appears that she was not aware that Mr Haig had replaced the fence with a wall whereas the planning officer, Chris Matten and the rest of those mentioned would have been totally aware of the replacement of a fence by a wall.

It also appears that the Interim Head of Legal Services, John Rumney, also wished to hide what went on before 2019 when he has been reported as saying in 2019 by the local press:- “Whether it’s possible to go back beyond the beginning of this year or late 2019 I’m not sure that the records will be there I’m afraid.”

I cannot check with John Rumney what he meant by I’m not sure that the records will be there I’m afraid.” as I always get an out office response from him but what I can say is that a complaint against Cllr Anglin, made in 2018, was dismissed by a council solicitor, Gill Hayton in December 2018. My letter to Mr Rumney’s predecessor remains unanswered.

Perhaps Mr Rumney may care to answer it.

Michael Dawson
5th April 2023

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