Council leader appoints new ‘cycling and walking champion’

Suzie Akers Smith

Cheshire East Council's leader has appointed a new 'cycling and walking champion' – to help spearhead moves to get more people more active.

Councillor Sam Corcoran announced at today's meeting of cabinet that independent Councillor Suzie Akers Smith has been appointed to the post.

The 'cycling champion' will work to promote cycling for all age groups across the borough. She will also work with cabinet and senior officers to help focus council policies to put cycling at the heart of the planning and design of the borough's streets, communities and green spaces.

Cllr Corcoran said: "I am passionate about the well-recognised benefits of cycling and walking for our environment, communities, local economy and our health and wellbeing – and I know that Cllr Suzie Akers Smith is equally passionate on this subject.

"This council is committed to enhancing and delivering a cycling strategy to deliver a high-quality and safe cycle network so that people of all abilities will be able to travel by bike around the borough. I know that Suzie will be a great champion of this cause."

Cllr Akers Smith said: "I am proud to be appointed the council's cycling and walking champion and am passionate about the importance of getting more people to travel by bike on safe cycle networks and walk more for journeys under a mile.

"I am really looking forward to working with colleagues across the political spectrum to work towards delivering a truly cycle-friendly network of routes to connect people and places across the borough. This cycling network will be crucial to connect more people to jobs, skills, schools, key services and leisure opportunities across Cheshire East."

Cllr Corcoran added: "Cycling has many benefits and is certainly a good investment – as the UK government estimates that for every £1 invested in cycling, £5.50 is returned in social benefit.

"The research is very clear: by cycling and walking regularly, our residents and visitors will be healthier, happier and wealthier – and it's great for businesses, the visitor economy and the environment too."

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Cheshire East Council
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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Andrew Backhouse
Wednesday 12th June 2019 at 4:16 pm
Brilliant to have someone at Council level supporting cycling. Perhaps she can help get Worms Hill on the Styal Road to get a proper cycle route in the way the NT expected when we allowed Macclesfield BC to put in a route on the NT land.......That way it would be a lot safer to cycle from Wilmslow to the Airport and Styal on that route.
David Smith
Wednesday 12th June 2019 at 4:25 pm
First tasks:
1. Convert ALL advisory cycle lanes into mandatory lanes and so make it illrgal for cars to park in them.
2. Clean all roads within 3 feet of the roadside of debris that is a hazzard to cyclists.
3. Ensure there are no potholes and defective drains that need repairing in the cyclist's line of travel. Ensure all drains are in fact draining so that no large floods appear when it rains.
4. In the long term make safe cycle routes around the towns in our borough with parking facilities for bikes.

Anyone else any other suggestions?
Chris Wigley
Wednesday 12th June 2019 at 4:57 pm
This is good news and I agree with Andrew on the need for Worms Hill to be improved not only for cyclists but for those with prams, push chairs and invalidity scooters.

There is also a really good foot/cycle path that runs parallel with Manchester Road and the A34 between Atlantic Ford and Dean Row Road which is difficult to use for cyclists because of the number of steps and I would think impossible for those using invalidity scooters or push chairs. Yet this makes an excellent route for getting into Wilmslow and back for those living on Summerfield or Colshaw Farm
Graham Steel
Wednesday 12th June 2019 at 7:57 pm
I am encouraged to see the appointment of a cycling champion in Cheshire East, as I am regularly cycling to work at this time of year (the poor weather this week is a bit of a set-back).
On a practical note, and to add to David Smith's list on this page: please, please, please can we have more enforcement of speed limits. I know that the community police officers do occasional exercises, but they are not serious enough to bring about a reduction in the number of motorists who ignore the speed limits. Much as I would like to see more cycle lanes and cycle paths, I convinced that treating incidents of speeding more seriously will be a far more cost-effective way of providing safer cycling routes.
Cllr Suzie Akers Smith
Thursday 13th June 2019 at 9:56 am
Thank you for all of your comments, it is with your suggestions that will help create a plan for each town so that active travel is a first choice for short journeys. It is your local knowledge that will help us fix the unconnected traffic free infrastructure that exists in every town and village and create new routes for people, especially young and seniors who may feel vulnerable cycling on a road. We also want to encourage those that don't currently cycle to give it a go which won't happen until people feel safe to cycle. At the same time we need a plan for making it better for cyclists to cycle on our roads for commuting and leisure. We also need an awareness campaign to alert drivers to giving cyclists space and being patient, after all with our hearts being our engine, it isn't so easy to accelerate out of danger especially cycling up hill. The plan for the first year is to visit each town and invite all groups within a radius of the town to tell us what they think are the problems, we also need to work at making the borough's roads safer for road cyclists. The first year is information gathering, changing policies that wll implement infrastructure that encourages the uptake of active travel. Thank you for your support and cycle safely, Cllr Suzie Akers Smith :-)
Roger Bagguley
Thursday 13th June 2019 at 10:08 am
A very good appointment. All cyclists and walkers with experiences and ideas must engage with their new councillors so as to inform this Champion. Remember too the Wilmslow Neighbourhood Plan aspires to improve existing and create new walking and cycle links around the town.

Speeding has become a local issue, not only on the main roads but around the estates too. Quite right to get this Champion behind the drive to make Wilmslow a safe place for all to walk, cycle and drive.
David Smith
Thursday 13th June 2019 at 11:27 pm
I arrived by train at Wilmslow train staion and walked towards the traffic lights on Manchester Road. On the way out of the station area you pass some bus shelters. Behind them and next to the footpath is a row of concrete parking slots for bikes - you know the ones that have a slot, in which you put your front wheel and the bike stays upright until someone knocks it over and the wheel gets buckled so you can't ride it any more. What use are these contraptions, as if they were all occupied by bikes the pavement would be blocked and nobody could walk past? An example of some well-meaning idea to get people on their bike but is a waste of money.
Jon Williams
Friday 14th June 2019 at 8:56 pm
Safe cycling routes to schools is a MUST !
David Smith
Saturday 15th June 2019 at 3:08 pm
Spot on Jon - SAFE SAFE SAFE! We don't have ANY safe cycling around Wilmslow, especially for children going to school. This is a big issue and a problem that has to be solved so please send all your thoughts and ideas to councillor Corcoran. A single person cannot have all the solutions, designs and ideas - they need help.
Mark Hewitson
Wednesday 19th June 2019 at 7:23 pm
Ambitious I know but a safe cycling route into Manchester would be fantastic
David Smith
Sunday 23rd June 2019 at 8:40 am
I remember a while back that Chetan Katre was standing for election to the Wilmslow Town Council and in his 'manifesto' blurb he mentioned having an interest in "road safety'. Fine - I thought - I would vote for someone with these aims. I recently contacted him several times by email asking what he has done for road safety in the meantime but have had no reply to any of my emails. I hear that someone else has tried to contact him too but apparently he spends time out of the country and so is, it would appear, 'unavailable' to reply to the people he represents under his position on the Wilmslow Town Council.
Jonathan Follows
Sunday 23rd June 2019 at 11:53 am
The Manchester Road crossing mentioned by David Smith is just one crossing which is "pedestrian unfriendly" and needs to be changed to give pedestrians an easier way of crossing the roads. Going from the station to the town centre is bad enough because it requires pedestrians to make two separate crossings, but trying to get to the Brewhouse and Kitchen pub is very unpleasant. Our new Champion should have no shortage of similar changes which could be made and I would welcome.

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