COUNCILLORS in Oswestry clashed on Wednesday night over claims of 'electioneering' on a motion to put up vehicle activated signs (VAS) in the town.

A motion for the signs, in order to reduce speeding, was put forward by Conservative councillors Chris Schofield, Mark Jones, John Price and Paul Milner.

The motion stated that signs needed to be in key locations and to work with police in Oswestry identify them, plus try to matchfund £14,000 from the council's own Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Local Fund through other revenues.

However, Green Party councillor Mike Isherwood, while supporting the original motion, tried to put forward an amendment that urged the council to go further and implement studies to inform where to put the signs.

He said: "I have no doubt the signs will have an impact but the motion doesn’t go far enough.

"I want to table an amendment that the roads are taken from a traffic study, that is conducted by Oswestry Safer Neighbourhood Team and covers other areas likes the main schools.

"[Because of lockdown], there are fewer children on the road and a changing in behaviours might have an impact on drivers.

"I would also want to request that Shropshire Council review the signage around schools and see some funding come from them for the VAS."

However, Councillor Ishwerwood's amendment riled a number of Conservative councillors including Cllr Vince Hunt, who suggested he was 'electioneering' before May's elections.

He said: "The second paragraph (of the motion) includes local police force so that cuts that out.

"I don’t why we need to slow this down with study after study.

"It seems to me the proposal is seeking to slow it down. I won’t be too cruel in saying there’s an election coming but that was an election speech."

Cllr Schofield added: "This is watering down and I won’t be voting for an amendment. It’s straightforward, there’s nothing wrong with it and we should go ahead with it."

Cllrs Jones and Paul Milner also both criticised the amendment, with the latter stating: "If we kicked this into long grass, like it would with Cllr Isherwood's amendment, how would you explain to a resident if they lost a child in the next four months that we didn’t put a VAS there?

"We should be putting something in straight away. You’ve got to do it for the people of Oswestry and that’s why I’m voting on the first motion.

"I hope you can support that."

Cllr Olly Rose, from the Greens, reminded the meeting that Cllr Isherwood had already expressed support for the motion but wanted to move it forward with studies.

But Conservative councillors John Price and Les Maguire both also criticised the amendment.

Cllr Price said: "Why would you want to prolong and ‘strengthen’ something your fellow councillors have already said is a strong case?"

Cllr Maguire added: "In Oswestry Rural Parish Council, we’ve had to wait a long time to get one erected because of Covid, so you don’t want to wait.

"I won’t be backing an amendment but I will be backing the motion. It’s a given in Cabin Lane – people want it so it has to be done."

Cllr Isherwood denied he was electioneering and said: "We shouldn’t be guessing where those places are, we should be making studies into where the traffic is.

"As for the electioneering accusation, it seems to be common for the Conservatives to shut down anyone who disagrees with them."

The amendment was defeated and the original motion was carried unanimously.