NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Reputation of Aberdeenshire Council 'damaged by Legoland trip'

Legoland in Denmark Image copyright Legoland

The reputation of Aberdeenshire Council has been damaged after an aborted trip to Legoland which led to its co-leader resigning, a meeting has heard.

Martin Kitts-Hayes had been due to attend the North Sea Commission at Legoland in Denmark in June.

But the delegation returned early as he was unhappy with the accommodation. After weeks of controversy he resigned earlier this week.

A council meeting over an internal report heard lessons must be learned.

Jim Gifford, leader of the Alliance Opposition Group, said: "We all have a job to do to rebuild the reputation of this council."

Councillor Jill Webster described the incident as a "fiasco".

'Intolerable strain'

Council leader Richard Thomson said it was now time to move on.

Mr Kitts-Hayes announced earlier this week he would step down from senior positions - as co-leader of the council and chairman of the policy and resources committee.

He then said on Wednesday that recent personal abuse had put an "intolerable strain" on himself and his family, and was standing down as a councillor.

He stated: "Being a councillor is just not worth the effort."

The abortive trip to Denmark cost more than £3,000.

The internal report revealed last week that Mr Kitts-Hayes felt his Legoland accommodation was like a "glorified shed".

Image copyright Aberdeenshire Council
Image caption Martin Kitts-Hayes resigned

Mr Kitts-Hayes, of the Progressive Independent Group, was the councillor for Inverurie and District and co-council leader with the SNP's Mr Thomson.

Council chief executive Jim Savege is carrying out a further investigation into the actions of those with access to the internal report - which was sent to councillors in confidence - after an earlier leak to the media.

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