clowes and akers-smith war of words

A war of words has emerged after an Cheshire East Independent councillor says she is “recruiting candidates” for the authority’s next election in 2023, writes Ethan Davies.

Cllr Suzie Akers Smith (right), the borough’s cycling and walking champion, claims she is “starting so early” with her election preparations following a farcical debate over 20mph speed restrictions last month.

Councillors eventually approved the “principle” of 20mph at December’s virtual full council meeting.

At the meeting, Cllr Akers Smith accused the Conservative group of trying “to do everything they could to wreck the proposal”.

However, Conservative group leader Cllr Janet Clowes (left), of Wybunbury Ward, disputed her understanding of the debate, saying the accusation was a “cheap political shot”.

In a letter, Cllr Akers Smith said: “Anybody with a heart understands reducing traffic speeds in areas where there is a mix of pedestrians and cyclists is imperative to creating better communities where people live, work and visit.

“Yet the Conservative group made a mountain out of a molehill and tried to do everything they could to wreck the proposal and kick it into the long grass.

“They were given plenty of information explaining it is not a blanket ban, how it could be paid for, who would help decide which roads need reviewing, how it could be enforced, yet the farcical debate ended in a word change from speed limits to speed restrictions.

“A limit is a restriction. I sat listening to the Conservative nonsense which confirmed all the reasons why I chose to stand as an Independent at the last election.

“It would send a strong message to the Conservative group if the only blue left at Westfields after the next election was the carpet.”

In response, Conservative leader Cllr Clowes said: “It was a really good debate, and some new members do not realise what the art of debate is.

“To say it was all Conservatives is nonsense.

“We had Liberal Democrat, Independent, and Labour members [speak on the proposal], and it was a Liberal Democrat amendment that got through.

” was happy to support it, and my group was happy to support it, as it got across the key points we wanted.

“It is a cheap political shot to have a go at the Conservatives.”

Cllr Clowes, who represents the Wybunbury ward, added: “Bearing in mind that Suzie lobbied all councillors in the weeks before the meeting, it is highly revealing that she refused to take notice of their opinions, the research or to alter her Notice of Motion accordingly.

“Cllr Akers-Smith’s letter is a reprehensible misrepresentation of the facts, presumably coloured by embarrassment at having the weaknesses of her proposal exposed by many of her cross-party peers.”

One Comment

  1. Steve Bratt says:

    I suggest people of all parties read Akers-Smith’s twitter page over the past year or so. She’s basically a car hater. Don’t get tied up on her “walking champion” title, I wrote to her with list of problems (and some photos) caused by council policy/ errors in autumn 2019, specifically nothing to do with cars drivers, things like ANSA policies causing footpaths to be blocked by wheelie bins for long periods. I got a fobbing off reply about her/Chriss Boardmans proposal for a blanket ban on pavement parking but nothing done about the rest.

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