Stoke’s Lost Pubs Mapped

As research from pub campaigners CAMRA suggests Stoke’s pubs are especially vulnerable, we have mapped the extent of recent closures (jump to map)

It’s a familiar sight – the boarded-up pub. And it’s increasingly common, as new data from pub campaigners CAMRA shows that more than 50 pub buildings are currently standing empty or being repurposed in Stoke, with more under threat.

The data indicates that around one in five pub buildings in Stoke is currently standing empty, or has been repurposed. Despite high-profile campaigns to save pubs in recent years, landlords continue to struggle with the smoking ban, high alcohol taxes, and competition from supermarkets. Continue reading

15 November set for Police and Crime Commissioner Elections

Election of a new Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent will take place on November 15, 2012 with Stoke-on-Trent acting as the lead authority and being responsible for administering the election across the police force area.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Paul Hackney has been appointed as Police Area Returning Officer (PARO) designate. Continue reading

Anthony Bamford and corporate dependency

I met one of the Bamfords, it might have been Anthony, in the mid 1980s. I was being interviewed for the position of Magistrate. The interview took place at Fenton Court. Mr Bamford was interested in my political activity especially whether I had demonstrated. Asking someone on the left during the middle of the Miners Strike if they had taken part in a demo was like asking whether a duck had taken to water. I had no problem with it and was perfectly open about my political affiliations and actions.

We move forward a quarter of a century and Sir Anthony Bamford’s political affiliations and actions are under scrutiny. His response seems to be far less open than mine all those years ago in Fenton. It seems that he has been funding the Tory Party and that over time he been providing leading Tories with all sorts of perks. Continue reading

Recession map: Are we really all in this together?

The coalition Government talk about we are all in this together when it comes to dealing with the recession. How sure can we be that Stoke-on-Trent is having equal share of the pain? Plus how can we be sure that what little money Stoke receives to provide public services is used appropriately. Continue reading

Police Commissioners and the Thick Red Fog

Neill Harvey-Smith hopes the new Police and Crime Commissioner will leave policing to the Thin Blue Line and tackle the Thick Red Fog of fear and powerlessness.

A woman found notes left on her car, telling her she shouldn’t park at a particular spot at the side of the road. She checked with the police and they confirmed she could legally park there. So she continued – and her car was vandalised.

I read this story on the front page of a local newspaper last week. My first reaction was sympathy – for the frustration, the cost, the injustice that the woman did nothing wrong and was victimised. My second was surprise – why is this in a newspaper? Isn’t this just what happens? Continue reading

The Journalism Foundation’s first British project launches in Stoke

A new era for local journalism is ushered in today when the acclaimed political website Pits n Pots launches its new look in Stoke-on-Trent. This project is the first in the UK to be supported by The Journalism Foundation as part of the Foundation’s commitment to promoting free and independent journalism both in the UK and around the world.

Alongside the relaunch of the website, The Journalism Foundation will publish a free toolkit on how to build your own local website, which will contain practical advice from academics and journalists for people inspired to make a difference to their local community. Continue reading

Clampdown on motorists who use mobile phones while driving

picture of a police car with light bar on stopping a carThe Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership in conjunction with the Staffordshire Police Roads Policing Team and local policing teams is carrying out the campaign which aims to highlight the dangers of using a handheld mobile phone while behind the wheel.

Over the next 2 months the team will be out in force in the highly visible yellow vans, capturing on camera people who are flouting the law.

Motorists caught using a handheld mobile phone while driving are given a £60 fine and three points on their licence. Police records show that 8,039 fines costing motorists over £480,000 were issued in Staffordshire between January 2010 and December 2011. Continue reading

Are you a land owner in Stoke? Help fill out this survey

Are you a land owner in Stoke-on-Trent?

If you own land over 0.25 hectares in size then Stoke-on-Trent City Council is asking you to make contact to help produce a Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) for Stoke-On-Trent.

The council is looking for land owners to come forward to identify land that has the potential for new housing development. Continue reading

Redundancies expected in North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry

North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry has announced plans to restructure.

The Chamber, which is the support network for hundreds of local businesses in Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire is reorganising services to create a stronger, more member-focused organisation.

The reorganisation is expected to result in a number of redundancies for staff at the Festival Park and Stafford offices which currently employs 39 people. Continue reading

Local cricketer Ben Johnson scoops top honours at Sports Personality of the Year Awards

Local cricketer Ben Johnson and olympic running hopeful Emma Jackson scooped top honours at the City of Stoke-on-Trent Sports Personality of the Year Awards at King’s Hall in Stoke last night.

Ben from Checkley Cricket Club was left fighting for his life in 2010 after suffering head, shoulder, arm and leg injuries which left him in a coma after he was struck by a car. Sheer determination and grit saw Ben out on the cricket field less that a year later, after doctors originally told him he faced a 10-year recovery.

Emma, who was celebrating a double win, also collected the Senior Individual award on the night. Emma became only the 18th British woman to run under two minutes in the 800m at the World Championships in South Korea and finished 4th in the 2010 Commenwealth Games. All this whilst also achieving a first class honours degree in Accounting and Finance at Keele University. Emma is now turning her attentions to preparations for the London Olympics. Continue reading