Questions Not Answered

or critical evasions or denials, cf. Denial No 9


Important Dates Questions in blue
STC Avoiding the truth – Red
Green are URLs
6-Sep Please give me the contact details of the Building Control Officer dealing with this installation.
An Evasion: My colleague Mike Telford (Snr. Building Control Surveyor tel: 4247435) is dealing with the Building Regulations application. You may be aware the Building Regulations system is there to ensure that development is constructed in accordance with modern day building standards, they are not dealing with residential amenity issues such as outlook as this would be a planning issue. Is no-one responsible for making sure it is the correct height? Drawing missing the permitted height copied to the Questioner, plus a drawing with incorrect height.

Denial No. 1*

Has the revised height of 15.5metres been approved or is it in breach of the 1996 Planning approval?
The question was not answered: The planning officer wrote: This email has been classified as: PROTECT** 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.
I attach a link to the Council’s website explaining the complaints procedure.

13-Sep The second set of drawings supplied by you which you received as per date stamp on 06/09/13 clearly show measurements of 12500 (not 12000) + 3000 equalling a height of 15.5 mtrs from the same base above foundations. Could you please confirm what height the structure is being constructed to? It seems that one had approval (12 mtrs), and the other didn’t (15.5.mtrs).
Not Answered.
17-Sep Height of the shed measured by the Principal Planning Officer and found to be 15.5m at the landward (River Drive) end.
The authorised Drawing says it should be 12.8m.

Denial No. 2

The misinformation that the shed had approval was given out at the meeting but couched so vaguely, but it would still be described in legal terms, as a denial – see correspondence 26-Nov to 20-Dec.The Executive representatives of the Group may have believed been made legally as per drawings seen but one should know  that to say a building was legal to mean it had been approved was fraudulant misrepresentation.
The residents were therefore told a lie – see 20-Dec-13 where it was confirmed in writing.


Denial No. 3

28-Nov: Dear Councillor, Thank you for arranging the meeting of Monday 25th, please could you send a copy of the minutes.
Michael Dawson.
1-Dec-2013: Summary of meeting:-
Michael, I took no minutes as is customary at these informal meetings. For your record I am sure all would agree: The Exec representatives of the Group accepted that the construction had been made legally as per drawings seen.


Confirmation of Denial No. 2

By the Principal Planning Officer: Mr Dawson – once again – I have measured this on site and have copied the 1996 plans across to you twice already 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.
The plans he copied across were not approved . Neither the base nor the height had been approved; and height was compliant with very suspect plans.
Notice, the height has been removed fron the left hand side of the upper drawing!

* He chose to hide the facts about the size of the shed by giving us drawings that misrepresented the planned height of the shed in the first communication. In effect, the first denial. He was asked the question again on the 13th and again, it was never answered.

** [PROTECT] is used when there are legal implications or being dishonest. The drawings showed no sign of having been near the T&W Development Corporation.

Stage 1 of formal complaint.

Dates Details with their URLs
10-Jan As the applicant has not discharged condition 2 why is there no retrospective planning application? Question/Complaint ignored.
13-Jan Referal back to Denials 2 and 3.
My understanding is that the responses that I had provided to you at this meeting enabled the matter to be closed.

Stage 1 began with the protestors trying to establish the planned height of the shed and we believed it to be about 3m less than that built. The publication of the Agent’s drawing addressing conditions 3 and 4 in December 2013 proved that we were correct but the Council/Principal Planning Officer continued to deny it so the complaints procedure naturally had to advanced to the next stage.

It ended with the Principal Planning Officer, Mr P Cunningham, referring back to the meeting which was brought to a close by one of the directors of HB Hydraulics saving that the shed was legal – see summary of meeting, 1-Dec-13. Mr Haig then reported back to the Tyne Gateway Assn, later that day:-

1: “KH advised that they had seen the plans which were date stamped 1996, the structure is 15.5m. Proper drawings were on file and there is nothing illegal about the structure.
2: “KH advised that PC was honest and fair.

PC, Peter Cunningham, was neither honest nor fair. When asked for copies of what was seen at the meeting, we were passed copies of 8296/1A, 8296/1B and a cropped copy of 8296/2 to maintain the lie that UK Docks had approval for their shed.

Stage 2 of formal complaint.

Dates Details with their URLs
14-Jan Escalation from the First to Second Stage of the Complaint
Not registered as the second stage of the complaint of 10-Jan-14 that asked:
As the applicant has not discharged condition 2 why is there no retrospective planning application?

Denial No. 4

By the Planning Manager: The dimensions of the steelwork have been checked on site and he says they are in accordance with the measurements shown on the approved drawings. A lie. The dimension shown the approved drawing say the height should be 12.7 or 12.8m. The height at that point is 15.5m.


Denial No. 5

Following a search of our archived file the only drawings that we have that are stamped ‘Approved by Tyne and Wear Development Corporation’ are 8296/2 and 8296/4. 8296/1A and 8296/1B are consistent with these two stamped drawings in terms of overall dimensions. It is therefore reasonable to say that 8296/1A, 8296/1B, 8296/2 and 8296/4 represent the development which was approved in 1996
They are not consistent: ../1A and ../1B give a height at the landward end of 15.5m and 8296/2 which has been approved shows it to be 12.7m.


Denial No. 6

The engineer chose to show a gable elevation of the structure (not drawn to scale) on the same drawingthe drawing is to scale and no-one in the last 9 years has questioned the dimensions noted, i.e. 12.2m x 15.5m on the river end gable.

4-Mar-2014: Thank you also for confirming that the Slipway Shed is not built to the approved 1996 plans: The approved plans from 1966 (8296/2) quite clearly gives a height of the landward end of the shed as 12.7m (roof 108.8m/ footing 96.1m).

End of Stage 2

Dates Details with their URLs
7-Apr Why can’t you give us the timescale for this to be fully assessed when the resident constituents have been raising these questions and pointing out the facts for the last 7 months?
Denial No. 7
Dear Miss Todd
Thank you for your email, which I acknowledge receipt of. I need to speak with my Head of Service, George Mansbridge, about this case, but he is off this week. Regards,Gordon Atkinson, 9-Apr-14 – please see 2-May-14.
It looks like it was never followed up because the Council needed to maintain the lie that the shed was the approved height or ask UK Docks to remove it. The shed is still there because the Head of Development Services, Mr G Mansbridge, repeated the lie made by his Planning Manager in 15-Jan-14, in a letter to the residents of Greens Place and Harbour View.
25-Apr From: Gordon Atkinson
: Subject: feedback case 248789
Dear Mr Dawson, I’m sorry for the delay. Mr Mansbridge is hoping to get a comprehensive response off to residents by the end of next week.
02-May Denial No. 8
Repetition of lie of the 15-th January in response to a Petition by the Head of Development Services to some of the Residents in Greens Place and all of those in Harbour view was broadcasting the misrepresentation about the shed’s height over a wider area than just the protestors.
02-May Email to the Head of Development about his and the conduct of his Planning Officers: I will also ask at the same time that you do not refer this letter to one of your staff to raise a stage 1 complaint on my behalf. I understand you did this with my email of the 4th April which I take to be an abuse of the complaints procedure.
Then an example of a backpass by his Principal Planning Officer plus one of a forward pass by his Planning Manager.*
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.
This complaint was ‘ignored’ and was confirmation that the Council’s Complaints Procedure was being manipulated to hide not only the misconduct by Planning and Building Control but that of Senior Managers as well.
09-May Email to Mr Mansbridge about the dimentions of the shed in the form of a complaint about his response to Petition, “I would like to question your basic assumption in the letter:- “The approved dimensions of the steelwork are: Proposed height 15.5m at the River Drive end.”
This is not true, there is no supporting documentation which says that the approved height is 15.5m at the River Drive end. All indications are that the approved height is 12.5m which one can get from
scaling the portal details in the Drawing 8296/14.
12-May 1. The Head of Development Services overwrites first two stages of the complaint  that the shed is taller than planned and South Tyneside Council have done nothing about it – Acknowledgement for letter 09-May-14

On February 13th 2014 the Council’s Complaints procedure was exhausted when the Planning Manager wrote: “the current structure is not built to approved plans”, we were discussing the height of it at the time – see Denial No 6.

Messrs Cunningham and Atkinson had already removed the main complaint of January 10th 2014 and it was rewritten as see email to planning 14/1/14. Mr Dawson asking various questions relating to the ongoing development at the slipway, River Drive, South Shields.
Notice the discrepancy detween the dates – the original complaint was made on the 10th of January and the email to Planning 14/1/14 was the escalation of the complaint to Mr Cunningham’s manager, i.e. from Stage 1 to Stage 2.

25-April: the Planning Manager passes complaint 248789 to the Head of Development Services and following a complaint that his staff have been fraudulently misrepresenting the planned height of the shed, 9-May, he switches the complaint to 253539 on or around the 12-May.

The letter of the 4th April was passed back to Mr Atkinson who had already dealt with the conmplaint about the shed being 2.7m taller than planned at stage 2:- Planning enforcement of Tyne Slipway boat shed Letter to GM following previous letter dated 4th April. Not happy with G. Atkinsons response at Stage 1. Letter to be dealt with at Stage 2.

* The letter of the 4th of April, was passed back to Planning, unanswered – See Denial No. 9.

Dates Details with their URLs
02-Jun Denial No. 9 – A false stage 2 response. The first thing to notice, besides the change in reference number from 248789 to 253539, is that he has ignored the complaint of May 2nd, i.e. that his planning staff were making fraudulent misrepresentation when they said that the shed had been approved and the third was that he had been caught out as he was asked on the 9th May :
Please examine again the plans that are held by your office and you will see that the elevation in the drawing 8296/14 is the north end and that scaling gives the elevation height to be 15.5m and subsequently the south elevation 12.5m.
If you have any problems with this than please provide the full frame drawing from which the elevation is taken.
In the light of this please consider a correction to the letters sent to the households 32 to 99 Greens Place and all the households in Harbour View.
7-Jul Dear Mr Swales,
I am writing to you because I am not satisfied with the the Head of Development Services’ response to my request that he explain why work on an illegal building continues despite many requests that it stops until the planning issues are resolved.
On the 5th Sept 2013 work started at UK Docks premises on River Drive to build a slipway shed length 22.3m, width 13.1m and height at end facing River Drive 15.5m.
On 27th Sept an application was received in the planning office from the agents for UK Docks, Messrs Maughan, Reynolds Partnership Ltd to meet conditions of a previously granted application ST/0242/96 for a slipway shed length 22.3m, width 12.2m and height at end facing River Drive 12.5m.
This discrepancy is still not acknowledged by your Council after 9 months of work on this site.
The difference in height was ignored while that in width was not.
NB this letter was written because I had noticed that the Planning Manager had been invited to the meeting arranged at the Town Hall and I anticipated that justice was unlikely to be served.

Denial No. 10

Meeting at Town Hall to examine approved drawing 8296/14. The Planning Manager failed to produce it. He brought drawings 8296/1A and 8296/2 and the latter is authorised and shows the permitted height to be 12.7m which agrees with 8296/14.

8296/14 was withdrawn from the agenda, it was not examined because it was not bought to the meeting, see Denial No. 10. Drawing 8296/1A was brought to the meeting to maintain the lie that UK Docks had approval for their shed which has been signed off three weeks before. It was was not authorised and was used to fraudulently misrepresent the planned height of the shed as 15.5m

29-Aug Dear Michaela Hamilton,
Please see copy of my email today to Mr Mansbridge attached:-
I had hoped at this meeting that we would discuss these plans and in
particular my contention that the specification of the RSJ used for the portal column gives scale to drawing 8296/14 which leads to a planned height at the road end of the shed of 12.5m.
I would like it put on record that these plans were not shown or discussed in any detail at the meeting and only mentioned in passing.
25-Sep Ms Hamilton fails to mention the height in her only response but at least she points the finger on those whom she was pleasing by the omission.
Mr Mansbridge was confident in this case that the service of an enforcement notice was not appropriate based on his assessment of the case and his substantial experience, knowledge and expertise of planning matters. Mr Mansbridge discussed the case with the Council’s Solicitor and with the Chair of the Planning Committee.

The first draught of the Ombudsman’s Findings also had no reference to the height of the shed!


Dates Details with their URLs

Denial No. 11

Dear Mr Dawson, Your email to Mr Atkinson has been forwarded to our team as your complaint on this matter has exhausted the Council’s complaints procedure and is now with the Local Government Ombudsman’s office.


Denial No. 12

Spreading the misinformation to the Ombudsman.
The Local Government Ombudsman: She says: The complainant says the shed is also 3 metres higher than it should be. The Council says it is not. There is no fault in how the Council decided the shed is the permitted height. She says: The complainant says the shed is also 3 metres higher than it should be. The Council says it is not. There is no fault in how the Council decided the shed is the permitted height.
c.f. #23 – I have seen the 1996 plans and report written by the Development Corporation. The applicant has written the elevations on the plans. At the inland end this is 12.5 metres plus 3 metres.
Both ends of the shed are given a height of 15.5m which is an impossibility given that the gradient of nearly 3m exists between them and the shed has a level roof – see second explanation below.

06-Apr The first of two corrections was ignored.
This drawing (8296/14) which was the only one available in the public domain clearly indicates that the agent/architect was working from a specification gave the height of the river end of 15.5m.The arguments given by the planning office that the drawing is not to scale are not supportable and the additional notes added (height 15.6m and width 12.2m) are reasonable projections.
The Second of two corrections was also ignored.
This was a detailed explanation of how the the residents were misled by the Council using 8296/1A. The UK Docks had first tried with 8296/1B which was a fraudulent misrepresentation and a criminal offence.

Denial No. 13

Being confirmation of denial 10.
The Ombudsman says: The complainant says the shed is also 3 metres higher than it should be. The Council says it is not.
She goes on to say: There is no fault in how the Council decided the shed is the permitted height, but someone was giving misinformation to the Ombudsman #34: 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.

The council were stuck with repeating lie that the dimension at landward end of eithe 1A or 1B shed represents approved height after the Head of Development Services repeated it in his response to our Petition of 2-May-14.
09-Jun Dear Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, (copied to the CEO)
Thank you for taking up my case and copying me your letter to Martin Swales, CEO, South Tyneside Council.
I agree with your summary but I must say that one has to be very specific about which end of the shelter one refers to when talking about the height. The fall along the length of the shelter is about 3m and this coincidentally is the height of the apparent overbuild.
You have not specified that the stated height (15.5m) is of the river end of the shelter and it is likely that, Mr Swales, if he follows the arguments of the Planning Manager and the Head of Development Services before him, will say it refers to the road end. The drawing, 8296/1A which they have used for their argument also states the height of the river end as 15.5 meters. This is clearly not consistent given the slope of the slipway.
I maintain that that the dimension at the road end has been specified incorrectly and I think that anyone that has spent any time training in a drawing office will agree with me.

Denial No. 14

The misinformation about the shed’s height in a letter to the MP for Berwick, thus spreading the misinformation to a much wider area.
The Council’s Corporate Lead lied when she said:  “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 approved or authorised drawings show that we were not making allegations.She went on to say: “The matter was ultimately referred by way of complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman, the outcome of which was delivered on 14 April 2015.


Denial No. 15:

Is a summary of 11 to 14 and it was this that led me to a solicitor in Sunderland, the ones I spoke to in South Shields being compromised.
Dear Mr Dawson
I have been forwarded your emails to the Planning Team dated 4th and 7th December 2015, in order to clarify the Council’s position regarding your comments on issues relating to the existing boat repair shed at UK Docks Tyne Slipway and your earlier complaint to the Council regarding this matter.

 In early 2016, a Solicitor advised that the ‘police’ would take no action over a planning matter but he summed the ‘mess’ covered by Ms Hoy’s email of the 9th December very neatly.

to 2016 ->