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THURSDAY, 23rd JUNE, 2011.
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Win Chill Factore tickets Readers'ViewsPages25-29 Page 56
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Halt cuts to school travel plea is made
By Kayleigh Williams Councillors have refused to withdraw subsidised transport to faith schools and post-16 colleges to make £894k savings, but a final decision has not been made.
They felt like they “had a gun to their heads” and had to make cuts they did not agree with to children’s transport services.
At the Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee meeting at Congleton Town Hall on Monday, councillors refused to recommend the original proposal to the Cabinet and made their own amendments.
The public gallery was packed with parents, head teachers and faith representatives who were invited to speak about their concerns along with committee members.
Gun to our heads Coun Ken Edwards said: “It seems to me that we are sitting here with a gun to our heads. Obviously none of us wish to reduce services to vulnerable children. I feel that we are here saying if we don’t agree the worse is going to happen.”
Officers were asked to prepare a report investigating where £894k of cuts could be made to denominational and post-16 mainstream transport as these are currently not statutory arrangements set by
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The report by Lorraine Butcher, director of children’s services, recommended raising the parental contribution for denominational and post-16 transport to 5%, reflecting inflation this year. • —Turn to back page.
Lego explorers from Christ Church and St Luke’s Church were looking out for wild animals at the safari-themed Alsager Carnival on Saturday. They joined other groups on the procession which went through the village at noon. For the story and more pictures turn to page 34. (“Chronicle” photo. 2515a/11).
Roadrage man caught on cyclist’s helmetcam
A road rage driver from Congleton who throttled a cyclist in Manchester ’s rush hour traffic was caught by a video camera on the victim’s helmet.
Michael Stewart, (47), of Daven Road, jumped out of his black BMW in a fury and grabbed the biker — unaware he was being filmed.
Cyclist Neil Chatterjee later handed over the footage to police, who released i t to a news website.
Stewart, a television sound recordist, handed himself in to police after realising a video of him was being circulated and he was charged, a court heard.
Stewart pleaded guilty to common assault and driving without due care and attent ion.
He denied a more serious charge of dangerous driving and was found not guilty after a trial at Manchester
Stewart was caught on the helmet-top camera as he rushed towards the victim.
Magistrates’ Court last week.
District Judge Jonathan Taaffe called Stewart’s attack “reprehensible and serious”.
It happened on 26th January on St John’s Road in Longsight, at around 6pm.
Mr Chatterjee told the court he banged on the defendant’s window as his car i l legally overtook the bike. As seen in the video, Stewart then stopped the car, jumped out and made for the cyclist.
Mr Chatterjee said: “I was pretty scared. I thought: ‘The only way i t’s going to end is badly.’
“I honestly thought I was going to get knocked off.”
Walking round The court was shown the footage taken from the vict im’s helmet camera, which showed Stewart getting out of his car, walking round to the pavement side and reaching up towards his victim’s neck.
Mr Chatterjee added: “He ran around and he looked really angry. I thought: ‘I’m going to get hit here.’
“He didn’t hit me, he grabbed hold of me by the throat.”
The defendant admitted taking hold of the victim’s clothing, but denied clasping the victim’s throat. But Judge Taaffe found that Stewart did grab the cyclist’s throat.
Stewart was ordered to pay a £200 fine, £200 court costs and his l icence was endorsed with five penalty points.
He was also given a sixweek community order with a four-week evenin curfew.
The judge said the defendant showed “clear remorse”, adding: “You caused no injuries, but i t was still a reprehensible attack, a serious attack, and an act of road rage.
“It’s unacceptable to behave as you behaved towards other road users. All road users deserve respect.”
After the attack, Mr Chatterjee, from south
Manchester, had told the Manchester Evening News: “I just want road users to respect each other.
“I don’t think i t should be war between motorists and cyclists. As far as I’m concerned there are good road users and bad road users. People should be thinking about the consequences o their actions.”
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