County councillor's 'third world' comments about state of roads in towns like Hucknall branded 'deeply offensive'
A county councillor said he was ‘deeply offended’ after comments were made comparing roads in Nottinghamshire to those of ‘a third world country’.
Comments made by CounTom Hollis (Ash Ind) provoked controversy at a meeting of Nottinghamshire County Council’s transport and environment committee meeting.
In referencing accepting accountability, Coun Hollis, deputy leader of Ashfield District Council, mentioned the latest health scrutiny meeting, during which councillors called for the medical director at Nottingham University Hospitals, Dr Keith Girling, to resign over maternity failings.
Coun Hollis said: “Everybody knows that the state of our broken roads and pavements in Nottinghamshire are the worst in the country.
“I note that the chairman of the health committee called for Dr Keith Girling to resign.
“I said at the start of the process that we need to acknowledge and admit the problems over a significant period of time with highways, but we have not.
He added 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’.
He added: “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.”
The 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 (Con) 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 Nottingham to their quite poor ones, I find deeply offensive.”
Coun Hollis responded: “If Coun Barney wants to insinuate that road safety isn’t a priority of this council, then shame on him.”