18th Sep, 2018

EXCLUSIVE: Leaked email reveals rift among Coventry Labour over 'unpleasant' wrong signage saga

A LEAKED email has revealed a split in the ruling Coventry Labour group over concerns senior councillors covered-up misleading and incorrect road signage.

The email, passed exclusively to the Observer, has exposed a rift between cabinet member for strategic finance and resources Coun John Mutton and leading councillors over incorrect road signage across the city.

The correspondance, sent on Saturday (December 3) to concerned Woodlands resident and road safety campaigner Richard Heneghan saw Coun Mutton congratulate him for being correct in his long-held assertion that some of the city’s road signs were incorrect.

He added: “All of this unpleasantness could have been avoided if people had been prepared to admit that they were wrong in the first place.

“Anyway, I hope that this brings to an end this long running episode.”

And CC’d into the conversation was the very people Coun Mutton was alluding to – council chief executive Martin Reeves, council leader George Duggins and current and former cabinet members for city services Coun Jayne Innes and Coun Rachel Lancaster, respectively.

The email refers to Mr Heneghan’s ongoing campaign to highlight and remove incorrect signage around the city, which he argues is a danger to road users.

And despite having presented evidence to both Coun Lancaster and Coun Innes about the incorrect signage at a number of locations in the city, Mr Heneghan has been continually rebuffed – with both claiming all signage in the city is compliant with the Department for Transport (DfT).

This email is the latest in a string of tense e-conversations between Couns Lancaster and Mutton.

In October, the Observer revealed an email in which Coun Mutton questioned Coun Lancaster via email in April this year over Mr Heneghan’s claims and pointed to a letter from MP Alan Duncan, the chairman of the Government’s Road Signs Task Force.

The email exchange between Coun Mutton and Coun Rachel Lancaster.

The email exchange between Coun Mutton and Coun Rachel Lancaster.

Mr Duncan had written to Martin Reeves threatening to name and shame Coventry City Council in his report as an ‘example of systematic sloppiness and obstinacy’ over poor signage at the interchange between Park Road and Manor Road which could have seen motorists directed down a road restricted by a bus gate.

But Coun Lancaster’s reply revealed tension between the pair.

Accusing Coun Mutton of being ‘obstinate and obtuse’, Coun Lancaster tells him signage at the Park Road/Manor Road junction was fully compliant and even exceeded DfT requirements.

She added: “What is disappointing is that despite being given all the facts and information from officers and fellow councillors on several ocassions, you’d rather support the view of Mr Henegan [sic].

“So much for being colleagues.”

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