Reader’s letter: An apology to council leader over Blyth speed limit claims

Coun Alan Rhodes.

Coun Alan Rhodes.

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May I refer to my letter about speed limits that you recently published.

This letter has generated quite a response, as you might imagine, and I have had many calls and messages of support. However, I fear that Coun Alan Rhodes, Leader of Notts County Council, who I mention due to comments received from residents of my ward, has mis-interpreted my comments as an accusation of misconduct, although he thanks me for my complimentary comments.

He has written to me and he wishes me to publicly apologise and withdraw my accusations and reserves the right to take legal action if I do not withdraw my comments.

I can assure Alan, and your readers, that I meant no offence and was not making any accusations or any implications whatsoever.

I was reporting what had been said to me, with the question of “How?” could that happen.

Indeed such comments have always been made, and could be called common place, regarding politicians at all levels - in fact there has in the past week similar comments made regarding a (anonymous) councillor because some traffic calming measures were installed outside his property some time ago.

My intention was to demonstrate the strength of feeling of some residents. The actual wording of my letter was:-

“I do have to report that some residents of Blyth have challenged me with the suggestion that “it seems to be a coincidence that the Leader of Notts County Council lives nearby; after all they also got lots of new white lines painted in the same area immediately after the change of Administration”. Personally I sincerely hope that this isn’t the case because Coun Rhodes has always been an excellent County Councillor and works hard for the people of Carlton and for the Parish Council. I can only comment on what I know but also have to listen and act on public concerns.”

Maybe my wording was clumsy so if I have given the impression that I was making accusations, or have offended in any way, then I do apologise.

I have no reason to believe that Alan or any other local politician has acted inappropriately.

Alan and I have known each other for many years and, although we are totally opposed politically I believe that we have always had an excellent relationship outside that arena and had many good laughs, and also have had many occasions when we have discussed matters concerning the benefits or otherwise of residents on his Division and Carlton in particular.

I have sometimes sought his opinions and views on topics as well as seeking his support. I KNOW that he would not take any actions that he thinks I am accusing him of.

I do still, however, have to ask why or how Worksop got speed limit reductions when Blyth’s requests are never answered, despite the fact that there have been fatal accidents. The question has been put many times but never answered.

Coun Barry Bowles, Blyth Ward