'Deep offence' as Ashfield councillor says some Notts roads would ’embarrass a third world country’
A councillor said he was ‘deeply offended’ after comments were made comparing roads in Nottinghamshire with those of ‘a third world country’.
The comments by Coun Tom Hollis provoked controversy at the latest meeting of Nottinghamshire Council’s transport and environment committee.
In referencing accepting accountability – following calls by councillors for Nottingham University Hospitals’ medical director to resign over maternity failings at another meeting – Coun Hollis, member for Sutton West division, said: “Everybody knows the state of our broken roads and pavements in Nottinghamshire are the worst in the country.
“We need to acknowledge and admit the problems over a significant period of time with highways, but we have not.”
He said he was unhappy with the use of a repair method which he said had ‘created patched up roads which would embarrass a third world country’.
Coun Hollis said: “Despite repeated attempts to find out, we are no clearer to knowing how many times botched-up potholes have been revisited and the cost to the council.”
Coun Hollis and his fellow Ashfield Independents have consistently criticised the road repairs and called for more money to be spent on highways.
His latest comments come as the Conservative-led council conducts its cross-party highway review, which will cost the authority between £20,000 and £40,000.
Coun Matt Barney said responded that the matters discussed at the health scrutiny meeting were “of the most serious and upsetting”.
He said: “It was a very difficult meeting and I find it inappropriate for you to relate any comments made to this subject matter or this meeting.
“We were talking about the most serious issues about mothers and the loss of babies.
“Also, you referenced third world countries which I find deeply offensive.
“I have spent considerable time in the great and wonderful nations of Kenya and Uganda, but I can assure you they have excellent roads, as well as some quite poor ones.
“To relate the roads of Nottinghamshire to their quite poor ones, I find deeply offensive.”
Coun Hollis, Ashfield Council deputy leader and member for Huthwaite and Brierley, said: “If Coun Barney wants to insinuate road safety isn’t a priority of this council, then shame on him.”