Council blasted for car park spending

A LEADING councillor has slammed Ashfield District Council’s decision to spend almost £45,000 resurfacing the car park at its headquarters in Kirkby (pictured).

Liberal Democrat leader Coun Jason Zadrozny says the cash-strapped council could have spent the money providing services for residents in the district.

He said: “I can’t think of a lower priority for the district than re-Tarmacing. It’s the lowest use for the public and the highest one for officers and councillors.

“I can’t think of another road or pavement that I wouldn’t do before that one.

“Anything else in the district is a higher priority — crime prevention, cleaning the streets or start-up loans for businesses.”

Coun Zadrozny, who is a county and district councillor representing Sutton North, said there were no potholes or health and safety issues in the car park.

He added: “I can’t think of the slightest justification on any grounds.”

Trevor Watson, who is head of land and property at the council, said it was the first time comprehensive remedial work had been carried out since the Urban Road car park and access ways were constructed 25 years ago. But restrictions on the site meant the repair work could not have been carried out sooner. Last winter’s extreme weather caused further damage.

He added: “In addition, particularly on the carriageways adjacent to Urban Road, road markings were erased to the extent that drivers were unable to distinguish rights of way.

“Had the council not undertaken these works, there was a considerable and increasing risk of damage to employee and delivery vehicles, worsening trip-hazards and an increased risk of traffic accidents as a result of the deterioration of the road markings.”

Meanwhile Coun Zadrozny has also criticised the council for splashing out £800 on a new television for the members’ room at the Kirkby HQ.

But a council spokeswoman said it had been installed because the office would be used in the event of an emergency.

She added: “The Civil Contingencies Act means that as a Category 1 responder, Ashfield District Council has several duties in respect of emergency planning and civil contingencies, along with other organisations including the emergency services, NHS bodies and the Environment Agency.

“The members’ room was identified as the most suitable for the designated emergency planning room for the council and as such, the provision of a TV screen with a live news feed is a civil contingency recommended action.

“The information feed to the room is at no additional cost to the council.”