TGA – Meeting 25th November 2013
From the Inspector’s findings for the Local Government Ombudsman:
21. The Council considered if the building accorded with the approved plans. The planning officer originally assigned the case considered the developers were building the boat shed to the measurements in the 1996 plans. Mr X says he told residents this at a public meeting. The Council accepts these measurements were wrong.
Mr X told the residents at a public meeting, 3-Mar2014, that the Planning Manager had conceded that the shed was too high after examining a drawing 8296/14 (approved by no less than the Planning Manager himself) which gave a planned height of the river end as 15.6m and width of 12.2m. If you look through the TGA minutes you will see that the Planning Department told them that the landward end had a height of 15.5m and therefore the river end one of 18.2m. As they did not tell the TGA the measured width Mr X went and measured it for himself and found it to be nearly a meter wider than planned in November 2013.
The Representatives had to report the findings of this meeting with the Planning Officer to a Committee meeting of the TGA six hours later. In spite of Mr X’s suspicions that the shed was not built to plan he had to report to the Committee what he had been told by the Principal Planning Officer and that was the shed was being built to approved plans.
Ken Haig advised that we had seen the plans which were date stamped 1996, the structure was 15.5m. Proper drawings were on file and there is nothing illegal about the structure.
It appears that he was saying the shed was legal to mean the height was approved as 15.5m at the landward end and this turned out to be a fraudulent misrepresentation. We eventually acquired a drawing which gave the approved height of the landward end as 12.7m.
It took much correspondence over ten weeks to prove that the Officer was wrong. It should be noted that the Chairman of the TGA was obstructive and hindered my enquiries during this time. Neither the Chairman of the TGA nor the Principal Planning Officer would accept my findings. It is also worth while noting that the Manager of the Planning Office did not concede at first that the shed was too wide. Look again at the Inspector’s findings for the Local Government Ombudsman:
22. A more senior officer checked the measurements; he found the width at ground level was just less than one metre wider than the permission allowed. The Council decided the developer had not built the shed entirely in accordance with the approved plans and so had not met condition 2. The Council decided this was a breach of planning control.
The Council checked the size of the shed in September, two weeks after the shed was started and the steelwork completed but they did not admit to it being built without planning permission till mid February.
It appears that it is not unreasonable to say that South Tyneside Council used the TGA to delay the truth about the shed becoming public knowledge for some time. The shed was more or less completed in this time.
A bit about the TGA on page 2.