to Cllr Francis: 16-July-20

The grammar has been corrected and the method of pointing to files, rather than attaching them, has been used in this notice.

Dear Cllr Francis,
Please see the email below and note that I have had no reply from Mr Buck to the question, who is Mr Palmer?, and I wondered if you had come across a Keith Palmer <> in your dealings with either the Council or the MP’s office. Like Mr Palmer, Mr Buck has gone to ground and he was so quick to respond on two previous occasions. I guess that it is because it conflicts with Mr Palmer’s wishes.

The first, 14-Jan-20, was in response to an email to the MP (Emma) complaining about Mr Palmer principally because he appeared to be putting it about that I was trying to use Emma’s Office to influence the Local Government Ombudsman. That response does not bear any scrutiny and it was the second item in an email to Councillor Hamilton about it and other things on the 25-Jun-20.
It was a general complaint of the activities of the staff at Emma’s Westoe Road Office:

• the first item was about who was responsible for the blocking of my emails to Emma as the MP for South Shields. It took until the 18th May to establish that it was Mr Palmer, because he blocked my email to Mr Buck on that day;
the second item, a criticism of Mr Buck’ response, 14th Feb, Dissection of Response: 14-Jan-20 is attached;
• third was the original deception, made by the planning officer in charge at that time and based on plans that were neither correct nor approved:-
Mr Dawson – once again – I have measured this on site and have copied the 1996 plans across to you twice already (attached again for your use) and I have explained during our meeting that the base and height of the structure are compliant…this is the end of the matter as far as I am concerned. Made on the 20th December 2013;
• and last was a threat made by Mr Buck on 26th Feb made against me for trying to pursue the truth and I’ll take this opportunity to expand on that with the second attachment; Threat: Simon Buck, 26-Feb-20.

The mess that Mr Palmer left behind following the phone call has not been cleared up and he is not going to do it – he has made it very difficult for us to take the case forward. My view is that Parliament should be made aware that Council’s have corrupted the way the Ombudsman works and that it is up to them, Parliament, to sort it out. Mr Palmer obviously wishes to impede the process by placing a block on communications between Emma and myself.
I could tell as soon as I returned the call, that I had been a set up, but realised quite quickly that the target was actually Mr Buck or more importantly Emma, rather than me. One can gather quite a lot in a twenty minutes call especially as his responses reminded me of the problems I had to put up with for a long time in my dealings with South Tyneside Council, particularly his determination to close things down:

1. lack of Building Control, Enforcement and the Principal Planning Officer covering for them up to the end of 2013;
2. a compromised complaints procedure and that includes the Ombudsman until April 2015;
3. misdirection of case to Northumberland and that leads to the Council giving misinformation the MP for Berwick or concede that I was correct about the shed being too tall;
4. cover up of plans to grant permission to extend a structure that has no planning permission which ends with me taken the case to a solicitor in 2016 for advice;
5. my observations about the shed were suppressed and the Planning Committee Meeting of 1-Feb-16 * granted permission for ST/0461/14/FUL;
6. the Council misapplying a procedure (Section F, 1-Aug-16) at the request of the Chief Executive so that he could turn a blind eye to the fact that his staff are quite prepared to give misinformation to the Local Government Ombudsman- 4, 5 and 6 take us up to the end of 2016;
7. Sunday and Week-end working get brushed under the carpet by the Council during 2017 dismissed by the Council employing a technique of ‘not registering complaints’.
8. they ignore the observation that UK Docks started to extend their shed onto footings laid in 2001.
9. 2018 was taken up with a complaint against the ward Councillors which ended up with the Council repeating 3 of the misrepresentations given to the Ombudsman being given as an excuse for their misconduct.
10. 2019 was taken up with UK Docks declaring that they had been given permission retrospectively for their shed.

This all stemmed from a meeting held in November 2013 where we were told the shed had been approved when it clearly had not. All because an Enforcement Officer did not wish to tackle the problem that had beset his office since 2001 – the footings were for a structure 27.5m x 13.1m but UK Docks only had permission for one that was 22m x 12.2m.

This and the discrepancy over the height of the shed were eventually hidden by the Council giving misinformation to the Ombudsman. The case should not have got a far as the Ombudsman as it was closed by the concession of the Planning Manager in February 2014 but the Council devised a way of restarting it again by repeating misinformation sown in the early stages of the complaint.
Of course the Council should not be giving fraudulent misinformation to anyone but I think that the Ombudsman was chosen by the solicitor because it was impossible for the Council to deny, especially with regard to the approved dimensions of the shed but also with the sequence of events which was also misreported to the Ombudsman. They even reversed what was said to the Ombudsman back onto me, and #35 refers:

It said it had taken measurements on site and the shed as built matches these measurements. Since then the Council has consistently told Mr X the shed is the correct height.

Where does Mr Palmer fit into all this you might ask and that is easy to answer.

At each of the stages above, the evidence has ended up in the bin so to speak and it has to be retrieved each time to make any progress and it looks like Mr Palmer has been appointed to put the lid back on and ensure that it remains there. He has a problem because the genie escaped when UK Docks told Emma and Councillor Hamilton that they had been given permission retrospectively for their shed! Needless to say it took eight months for the Council to confirm that they had not been given it.

Kind regards
Michael Dawson

* permission to knock down the Beacon was given at the same Planning Committee Meeting. Those plans do not bear scrutiny either which is why the pub and former dope farm is still rotting away.

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