Stoke-on-Trent Passengers Board the Bus to Fight Against Subsidy Cuts

The public of Stoke-on-Trent came out in force yesterday [Thursday] to speak out against the City Council’s decision to cut bus subsidies in a bid to save £313,000 as a part of their crusade to impose cuts totalling £35million over the coming year.

The public gallery as well as one of the committee rooms were packed to the rafters in a public show of solidarity in sending a message to the council that the bus subsidy cut would leave some people stranded at home and unable to access town centres, leisure facilities and supermarkets.

The council’s decision to cut the bus subsidies was voted through as a part of a whole host of austerity measures at last month’s Budget Meeting in a bid to rationalise services in the city as a result of the 8% cut in government funding to the City of Stoke-on-Trent.

Between three bus operators, First, Wardles and D&G, a total of 44 services will be affected.

Community representatives delivered and presented petitions, asking for certain routes to be saved, to the meeting of the City Council from areas such as Chell, Packmoor, Brindley Ford and Penkhull.

The petitioners pleaded with the elected councillors present to save what they consider to be a vital lifeline and the economic benefit to traders their travel bring.
Inside the chamber Community Voice councillors attacked the Labour benches for encouraging the public to campaign against the subsidy cuts while proposing them and then voting them through.

Cllr Mick Salih [Community Voice] said that Labour had attempted to deceive the public over the cuts to bus routes. He said it was vital the all councillors told the truth out on the streets and that the only councillors that had a clear conscious over the subsidy cuts were his group and the other councillors who voted against the budget.

Coalition councillors told the meeting that council officers were working with the bus companies and alongside ward councillors and communities, resolutions had been found to most of the contentious bus services.

One member of the public shouted out his dissent from the public gallery and said that he was disgusted by the councils treatment of members of the public that had turned out to view the proceedings. We recorded an audio interview with him and he wished to be known as “ËœBus Driver’

Listen below.

We also recorded audio’s with Cllr Mick Salih [Community Voice], Cllr Brian Ward [CIG] who is also the cabinet member with responsibility and with the Council Leader Mohammed Pervez [Labour].

Cllr Pervez also gave his thought on the past year and what he thought that the council had achieved.

New No Cold Call Zone to keep residents safe

Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Staffordshire Police and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue are once again joining forces in Stoke-on-Trent to help the elderly and vulnerable ward off suspicious callers at their door.

Residents in Brindley Ford are being encouraged to step up security at their homes as a “ËœNo Cold Calling Zone’ is launched in the area on Wednesday 9 February.

Neighbourhood police officers, city council neighbourhood and trading standards officers and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service have worked together to set the scheme up.

Those residents living in Handley Drive, Patrick Place, Finch Place, Lally Place, Hugh Bourne Place and Beatrice Walk are set to benefit from the new scheme – which is the second to be launched in the city so far this year.

Visitors to the No Cold Calling Zone will see street signs on lamp posts to warn traders, and residents will also be provided with information packs, letters and a door/window sticker to display.

“These particular streets in Brindley Ford are mainly populated with elderly and vulnerable residents.

“Due to this the area would greatly benefit from a No Cold Calling Zone. Myself and colleagues from partner agencies completed questionnaires in the area and more than 60 per cent of the residents agreed the community would benefit from the scheme.

“The aim of the No Cold Calling Zones is to deter cold callers and rogue traders from operating in the area, which will protect and reassure our more vulnerable residents.

“Previous No Cold Calling Zones across the city have been well received by members of the community. Anything which reduces crime and the fear of crime in our communities is to be welcomed.”

“No Cold Calling Zones have been successfully used in other parts of Stoke-on-Trent to reduce the levels of distraction burglary and rogue trading and to reduce the fear of crime, particularly amongst elderly and other vulnerable groups.

“They also discourage rogue traders who target vulnerable residents falsely claiming that work needs doing and then charging exorbitant prices for shoddy and unnecessary work.

“The zones will also discourage those who use door step selling as the opening for distraction burglaries or to make plans for future burglaries.”

“As a partner we were pleased to assist in this project to help safeguard the more vulnerable citizens in our community.”

ASBO granted after threats to community

Stoke-on-Trent’s Safer City Partnership has been successful in its application for an Anti Social Behaviour Order against a woman who threatened residents in Brindley Ford.

Margaret Wooliscroft, aged 55, was told she must not shout, swear or use abusive language or insulting or threatening behaviour directed at any person in Bull Lane and Stadmoreslow Lane, Brindley Ford.

District Judge David Taylor granted the ASBO based on Mrs. Wooliscroft’s behaviour in the last six months. During this time, the court found she had:

* Used a wooden tool to damage the front door of a property in Bull Lane and the car parked outside.

* Shouted abuse at another resident of Bull Lane.

* Used foul and abusive language to a police officer and caused distress to a PCSO by shouting at her in Bull Lane.

* Caused alarm and distress by assaulting another female in Bull Lane.

* Caused alarm and distress to residents of Bull Lane by wailing and shouting whilst holding a wooden stick in an angry and aggressive way in Bull Lane.

{quote=Councillor Ross Irving, cabinet member for community safety, partnerships and the Local Strategic Partnership, said] “There was a real need for us to pursue this case due to the weight of evidence that had been gathered over the past few months.

“Abusing the police and threatening members of the public is unacceptable, and causing physical damage to other people’s property is equally reprehensible.

“Communities need to feel safe and secure, and that can’t happen if flagrant threats are made to residents on a consistent basis.

We work very hard with the police to gather evidence in these cases and we are very pleased that another application has been successful.”[/quote]

The Safer City Partnership, including the city council, Staffordshire Police, and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service was successful in 13 applications over the last 12 months.