06.06.23 – £4.8milion for Community Projects, Local Taxi Drivers fined
Written by Hitmix Local News on 6 June 2023
Community projects will benefit from £4.8 million over the next two years, after
Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council successfully bid for the funding from the Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
From business enterprise coaching to a homeless hub, the scheme will deliver a range of benefits within three key themes of community and place, people and skills and supporting local businesses.
The network of projects will include community hubs at community managed libraries, nature recovery in urban spaces and enhancements at amenity spaces including Brampton Park, Clough Hall Park and the Trent and Mersey Canal.
A range of projects targeted to supporting local businesses will also be included, such as an enterprise support, a small business space planned at Kidsgrove Town Hall and advanced digital technology and innovation support for businesses.
A total of seven taxi drivers have been fined after being convicted of plying for trade illegally in Staffordshire.
The men, aged between 22 and 49, all from the Stoke-on-Trent area, appeared at North Staffordshire Justice Centre in March this year after each pleading guilty to two offences – The court heard how the men each plied for trade without being booked in advance, which meant they were not insured to carry out the subsequent journeys.
The drivers were identified as part of a proactive operation in late 2022 which saw Staffordshire Police work with partners including Newcastle-Under-Lyme Borough Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency.
A council officer, purporting to be a member of the public, was able to climb into each taxi as a passenger before being pulled over by a roads policing vehicle at a nearby check-point, where it was demonstrated that the driver was operating illegally.
During the recent court hearing, each driver was handed six penalty points on their driving licence and a fine of between £700 and £1,200. They have also each be referred to the relevant local authority’s taxi licensing committee for a decision over whether they are allowed to continue to work as drivers in the future.
PC Martin Randle of our Road Policing Team, who organised the operation, said: “This was a lengthy case that involved multiple individuals who were found to have put the public at risk by driving without insurance in order to supplement their income illegally.
“Though we understand times are tough for a lot of people at the moment, it is not acceptable to put the public in danger and I’m pleased the drivers admitted their offending in court.”
For more information on how to ensure safe travel, visit: Travel safe | Staffordshire Police.