Scots councillor ‘compared Legoland cabin to Butlins in 1970s’

Cllr Kitts-Hayes was staying in a 'Wild West' cabin similar to this. Picture: LEGOLAND Billund

Cllr Kitts-Hayes was staying in a 'Wild West' cabin similar to this. Picture: LEGOLAND Billund

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A ranting Scottish councillor who refused to resign after storming out of a trip to Legoland in Denmark compared his luxury chalet to “Butlins in the 1970s”, a leaked report reveals.

In June it emerged that senior councillor Martin Kitts-Hayes had walked out of a North Sea Commission conference at Legoland over complaints about his accommodation.

Aberdeenshire Council co-leader Martin Kitts-Hayes. Picture: JP

Aberdeenshire Council co-leader Martin Kitts-Hayes. Picture: JP

And now a leaked 76-page internal report on the debacle has revealed that the Aberdeenshire Council co-leader had been at the Legoland Holiday Village for less than two hours when he demanded to go home.

The report said Mr Kitts-Hayes, from Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, also claimed his chalet was a “glorified shed” which may have been fit for a young family, but not a councillor.

And he demanded that the local authority find him a new place to stay or book him on the next flight home.

He later tried to cover up the fact that he returned early from the conference, leaving tax payers with a £3,000 bill.

Cllr Kitts-Hayes described the accommodation as a glorified shed which might be suitable for a young family - but not a councillor, particularly one who is 6ft 2in and 17 stone

Ritchie Johnson

Mr Kitts-Hayes was supposed to speak at a North Sea jobs conference in Billund, southern Denmark, on June 14.

He made the trip with the council’s infrastructure committee chairman David Aitchison and European policy team manager Martin Brebner.

Emails contained in the report show that the angry councillor blamed the council’s travel team for booking the accommodation, which cost £740.

But the report, by Aberdeenshire’s business services director Ritchie Johnson, says that the councillor was told about the accommodation six days before the trip.

Mr Johnson said the councillor immediately branded the Wild West cabins where they were due to stay as unsuitable, and compared the three-star resort to being like Butlins in the 1970s.

The report states that Mr Kitts-Hayes called Mr Brebner, his assistant Lisa Pratt and his partner to demand that they find him somewhere else to stay or book him on a flight home.

In his account of the episode, Mr Brebner said that he tried to find different accommodation, but just one hour after arriving Cllr Kitts-Hayes decided he wanted to go home.

Mr Johnson said: “The standard of accommodation fell well below the expectations of Councillor Kitts-Hayes.

“He described the accommodation as a glorified shed which might be suitable for a young family - but not a councillor, particularly one who is 6ft 2in and 17 stone, or a council officer.

“Councillor Kitts-Hayes was clear that he had no intention of staying at the Legoland Holiday Village.

“Councillor Aitchison was concerned that if one of the delegation stayed it may appear the accommodation was not that bad and this would reflect badly on those returning home.”

The report revealed that the trio arrived at the Legoland Holiday Village around 1.30pm on June 14.

But they were already in a taxi heading back to the airport by 3.30pm, despite the North Sea Commission, who hosted the conference, finding alternative accommodation around 5.07pm.

They flew economy class on Royal Dutch Airlines at a cost of £1,544 and their initial flights to Denmark cost £1,008.96.

According to the report, Mr Kitts-Hayes called his assistant at 12pm the following day to “advise her not to tell people that he and David Aitchison have returned home”.

In a later email to Kerstin Brunnstrom, president of the North Sea Commission, he blamed a disgruntled employee for leaking details of the trip.

He wrote: “Unfortunately, a council employee reported the incident to the press and as a result generated some very negative and unfair publicity.

“Had a disgruntled staff member not gone to the press, nothing would have been said.”

Mr Kitts-Hayes has faced repeated calls to step down from his role since news of the trip first emerged.

He was unavailable for comment.

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