At the Cabinet meeting on 12 September, reference was made to letters sent by local resident groups and local MPs to the Secretary of State expressing concerns about the running of Cheshire East Council.
The Conservative Leader tried to brush off the Council’s problems as ‘legacy matters’ and said that many of the action groups that have written to the Secretary of State have suddenly appeared, then appeared to contradict herself by saying that the residents groups had been quiet for a long time. The Conservative Council Leader then added, in an apparent criticism of local Conservative MPs who have written to the Secretary of State, that nobody who had written to the Secretary of State had contacted her or come to the Cabinet meeting to speak.
Cllr Brian Roberts, Labour Councillor for Crewe West said, "Many local residents would dispute the Conservative Leader's claim that the Conservatives are not brushing the Air Quality scandal under the carpet. Private Eye’s Rotten Boroughs column has reported on the Council’s response to the finding that air quality figures had been systematically and deliberately manipulated for years. We still don’t know who manipulated the figures or why and the Conservatives maintain that no planning applications were affected. It seems that the Conservatives are in denial about the reputational problems of Cheshire East Council."
Laura Jeuda, Labour Councillor for Macclesfield South, queried why the Conservatives have decided that now is the time to review the Council's Constitution. At present the Director of Legal Services and the Chief Executive are both suspended and the Council is under investigation by the Organised Crime Unit of the regional police
Cllr Jeuda said “Reviewing the Constitution at a time when the Chief Executive and Director of Legal Services are both suspended, when residents groups are calling for the Council to be placed into Special Measures, and even Conservative MPs are writing to the Secretary of State sounds like re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.”
At the Cheshire East Council Cabinet meeting Labour Group Leader Sam Corcoran said,
“From the comments today it seems that some members of the Cabinet are in denial about the serious concerns of residents. I would like to suggest a way forward.
“In March the Labour Group called for an external, reporting within 3 months to the Group Leaders, into allegations of bullying and the culture of the organisation. Would the Leader agree that had she responded positively to that request then there would have been no need for residents groups to have written to the Secretary of State? Would she also agree that initiating such an external review now would help restore the reputation of the Council and protect those many staff who work hard to deliver good services in Cheshire East?”