RESIDENTS across Cheshire East are being asked to take part in a consultation which could see speed limits lowered in the borough.

Members of the 20 is Plenty Campaign were in the public gallery at Macclesfield Town Hall as members of the highways and transport committee debated a draft version of the speed management strategy.

And many campaigners spoke at the meeting.

Dr Ruth Thompson, who has worked in A&E and seen first-hand horrific road casualties, said: “ROSPA suggest that for every one mile an hour reduction in speeds, we will have a six per cent reduction in casualties.”

Brian Fox, from Transition Wilmslow, called for 20mph default speed limits across residential areas in the whole of Cheshire East.

“It would be a valuable contribution to road safety and would allow a consistent approach across the whole of the borough so road users know what to expect everywhere,” he said.

He branded the council’s speed management document ‘disappointing.

“It fails to acknowledge the current impact of speeds on our community and also the perception of safety, which is a specific objective of the local transport plan.

“It reads, to be honest, as the list of reasons for inaction,” he said.

But Wilmslow councillor Mark Goldsmith (Ind) speaking as a visiting councillor, said: “Highways does not support the blanket use of speed reductions and neither does Cheshire Police.”

Winsford Guardian:

Cllr Mark Goldsmith

He continued: “They are experts, they look at the evidence, evidence acquired over 30 years and from councils who have introduced blanket 20mph schemes.”

He said those schemes had ‘delivered no reduction in accidents, no reduction in injuries, no improvement in air quality, no reduction in CO2 emissions, no increase in cycling, walking or playing outside’.

Committee member Suzie Akers Smith (Congleton West, Ind) proposed an amendment to introduce 20mph on urban roads and 40mph on rural but this was not agreed.

Cllr Don Stockton (Wilmslow Lacey Green, Con) said: “The purpose of this debate is to decide whether to give this to public consultation, which is surely what this is all about and I, for one, would stand up for the rights of these people here to put their view on 20mph.

Winsford Guardian:

Cllr Don Stockton

“I would stand up for the rights of anyone who wants to put 20mph in place where appropriate but I don't want, personally, blanket proposals because I believe that goes against what this is actually about, which is about finding the correct speed limits, the right speed limits in the right places at the right times.”

Cllr Sam Corcoran (Sandbach Heath, Lab) campaigned for the 20mph zone now in place in Sandbach Heath.

He said: “I believe the 20mph limits have made it safer to cycle. Since a 20mph limit was implemented as part of the government temporary active travel schemes on Congleton Road in Sandbach, I have noticed cars going slower and also being much more respectful of me as a cyclist so that I can much more easily pull out to turn right.”

He too urged members of the public to take part in the consultation.

But Cllr Rod Fletcher (Alsager, Lib Dem) agreed with public speaker Brian Fox that the document to be consulted on seemed to be opposed to speed reduction.

“Reading this report, I had a great deal of concerns. When you read the document thoroughly, there seems to be about 50 reasons why we shouldn't introduce the speed limit,” he said.

The committee voted unanimously to approve the publication of the strategy for an eight week consultation and to note that council at a meeting last year supported the principle of introducing 20mph speed restrictions where appropriate not as a blanket measure.