STC and Corruption – Petition

Full copy of pdf file: STC and Corruption

More than nine years ago, the Planning Manager agreed with me as one of the main protestors that the enclosure, on the slipway, in UK Docks boat repair yard off River Drive was nearly 3 meters taller than permitted. South Tyneside Council had done little but deny the fact that it was taller than planned for five months, by withholding the approved plan which showed the enclosure or shed was 2.7m taller than what had been approved 8296/2, and we decided to raise a Petition:-

3.3.2014 To the Chief Executive STMBC,
The attached signatories are concerned about recent developments at Tyne Slipway and Engineering Ltd, River Drive, South Shields.
We protest at:
1. A lack of relevant information from STMBC
2. A lack of public consultation on the unannounced construction
3. Lack of research and impact surveys
4. Apparent negligence by STMBC
5. Apparent breach of planning law by the developers

We are concerned that by its actions in this case STMBC is in breach of its own Local Development Framework Core Strategy Objectives, eg. "to protect and enhance the boroughs coastline and water frontage; to ensure that the individual and cumulative effects of development do not breach noise, hazardous substances or pollution limits; to increase public involvement in decision making and civic activity".

Local residents wish to live in peace and harmony with appropriate light industry as we have for many years, supporting the cultural heritage and environment of the area for the benefit of residents and visitors. We believe the new development at Tyne Slipway threatens to disrupt this.
Yours sincerely,
Signatories attached

The response to the Petition was not from the Chief Executive but from the Head of Development Services. It was in the form of a letter, sent to addresses in top third of Greens Place on the Lawtop and all of those in Harbour View, South Shields, on the 2nd May 2014 and it contained a lie.

At some point Tyne Slipway and Engineering Ltd had become UK Docks and the lie, that UK Docks had approval for both the height and width of the development on the slipway became established when it was repeated by the Head of Development Services, that day in May:-

The approved dimensions of the steelwork are • Proposed height 15.5m at the River Drive end. The gradient of the slipway is 2.66m over the length of the shelter. This would mean the height at the riverside end would be 18.16m above the slipway; • Proposed length 22m; • Proposed width 12.2m.

More precisely, when he said: “Proposed height 15.5m at the River Drive end”, he was repeating the fraudulent misrepresentation made by his Planning Manager in January 2014:-

The following are details of the relevant drawings in the Council’s possession. The drawing that was submitted on 11th April 1996 with the application is numbered 8296/1A. That shows the overall height of the structure as 15.5m above the foundation level at the landward end.

He went on to say that the riverside end would be lower by 2.656m, giving a height at that end of 18.17m above the slipway, another misrepresentation of the shed’s height because one can see that 8296/1A clearly shows the riverside end to be 15.5m.


Either of copies of 8296/2, one of the two approved drawings to have survived from 1996 showed that the landward end to be 12.7m as well. The Planning Manager, Mr Atkinson, had therefore been fraudulently misrepresenting the facts about the shed when he said on the 15th January 2014:-

The dimensions of the steelwork have been checked on site and they are in accordance with the measurements shown on the approved drawings.

We were not to have proof that the measurements were not in accordance an approved drawing until we had seen a copy of 8296/2 towards the end of January 2014 when he said in an attempt to reinforce the earlier fraud about the shed’s height:-

It is therefore reasonable to say that 8296/1A, 8296/1B, 8296/2 and 8296/4 represent the development which was approved in 1996 (the only difference between 1A and 1B being to the foundation detail).

It was only reasonable to make that statement if one assumed that the height of the shed given on 8296/1A and 1B at the downhill end of the shed had been approved at 15.5m but he compounded the fraud by reference to a drawing that he had approved in October 2013 by adding:-

8296/14 is the recent drawing and the only purpose of that is in regards to the condition dealing with the strip curtain door fixing details. You explain that you have measured the height from this drawing as 15.6m, and you seem to have assumed that is the riverside elevation, and have adjusted for the gradient of the slipway and concluded that the height at the River Drive side should be in the order of 3m less. In fact the 15.6m height is the height to River Drive and the height on the river side is some 3m greater.

I had to calculate the height of the river gable end on 8296/14 and found it to be 15.6m and no-one from South Tyneside Council in nearly 10 years has ever questioned it. I discovered later that it was because he included the fraudulent misrepresentation about the shed’s height his email of the 28th January was marked with a protect notice:- This email has been classified as: PROTECT.

The first time we come across the use of PROTECT was as early as the 9th September 2013 when Mr Cunningham said:-

Hello – I stamped these drawings on the day they were handed to me in reception, as I explained these are copies of drawings passed in 1996 by the T&W Development Corporation the only difference is that these drawings do not have the approved stamps on them.

The drawings did not have approved stamps on them because they had never been sent for approval. 1B shows that it was an amendment to 1A made in 1997 and the cropped drawing with it, that bore no identification turned out to be 8296/2 with the height of 12.7m at the road end removed to complete the fraud that UK Docks had approval for a structure with a height of 15.5m at that point.

It was to avoid the issue of whether the height of the road end had been deliberately removed to complete the fraud that 8296/14 was used to register the complaint about the shed’s height made on January 10th 2014:-

As the applicant has not discharged condition 2 why is there no retrospective planning application?


It would appear from Mr G Mansbridge’ response to our Petition that the difference between the planned and actual height had been deliberately removed from 8296/2 by UK Docks before sending them to Mr P Cunningham in the first week of September 2013 and he was complicit with the fraud when he forwarded the pair of drawings to the protestors within a few days.

I had not seen the response to our Petition before I wrote to Mr Mansbridge about the slipway shed being in use before completion and advised him of the abuse of the complaints system by his staff:-

  1. in an email from your Principle Planning Officer, dated 13th Jan 2014:- “May I therefore suggest that you speak with the Chair of the residents group in respect of the points that you have raised below, as these have already been discussed and explained. If you are still not satisfied with the Council’s response then you should use the Council’s complaints procedure which has 3 stages.”
  2. in an email from your Planning Manager, dated 28th Jan 2014:- “I can only suggest that if you do wish to pursue this matter further you ask that my Head of Service, George Mansbridge, responds to any remaining points you may have formally under stage 2 of the Council’s complaints procedure. You will have to write to him and say specifically what you remain unhappy about.”

Those 2 responses were made to a complaint about the shed being taller and wider than planned made on 10th Jan 2014 and I finish the observation of May 2nd, by saying:-

If I had followed the suggestions by these officers there would have been no admission by the planning office that the slipway shed on River Drive had not been built to plan and it ill behoves you to refer my email to the formal complaints procedure as well. Work continues in the slipway shed as I write this so if you have not written to the operator to stop, as you intended to, then please do so.

The operator, UK Docks, did not stop work in, or on, the incomplete slipway shed and the North Shields Ferry, on which they had been working, was soon back in service.

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