Senior Conservative councillor banned from roads for repeated speeding

John Fisher, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for children's services. Pic: Norfolk County Coun

John Fisher, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for children's services. Pic: Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Norfolk County Council

The county councillor in charge of services for vulnerable children has been disqualified from driving for six months after being caught repeatedly breaking the speed limit.

John Fisher, county council cabinet member for children’s services, previously pleaded guilty to driving at 36mph in a 30mph zone on February 27, 2020.

The offence occurred at 6.48am on Bishop Bridge Road (A147), where his Ford Focus was caught by a speed camera.

The 66-year-old had nine points on his licence - meaning he had too many to comply with the fixed penalty notice he received.

He pleaded guilty on May 28 and his plea was taken into account.

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He appeared at Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court on Wednesday, August 12, where he was banned from driving for six months, and given a £250 fine.

He must also pay court costs of £100 and a £32 victim surcharge.

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Speaking after the sentencing, Mr Fisher, of Yarmouth Road, Thorpe St Andrew, said he had been on his way to BBC Radio Norfolk to discuss the county council’s music service.

He said: “I was exceeding the speed limit at 36mph. It’s not as if I was doing 110mph down the A11.

“For the next few months my community will not benefit from my goodwill of delivering prescriptions and taking people to lunch clubs. I will manage without my car. I have an electric bicycle.

“The magistrate decided I could still do my job perfectly well.”

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Mr Fisher added: “I did explain to them I was a cabinet member and I do visit schools - when they get back again I have a visit to our special educational needs schools.

“The magistrate said I could still perform those duties by public transport or taking a taxi.”

Mr Fisher said the nine existing points on his licence dated back to October 2018, and were all from driving at speeds of 34-36mph in built up areas.

“I think one was at about 1am when I was coming back from Thetford,” he added.

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When asked whether he would consider resigning, Mr Fisher said: “Absolutely not. That was obviously part of the suggestion that I might be able to benefit by keeping my licence.”

And he said: “I would suggest anyone who has not committed a minor speeding offence can judge me. I suspect most people have.

“But it was a speeding offence and I fully acknowledge that if you’re going more than 30mph you can create more danger and damage to anyone you might hit.

“I accept that and I apologise if I have brought the council into disrepute in any way and I apologise to the children’s services team who we work very well with and hopefully will still have the same respect for me.”

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Labour group leader Steve Morphew said: “‘Many of us have had a speeding ticket at some point but getting a driving ban while holding such an office can’t be shrugged off with an apology.

“I’m not bothered about resignation but Norfolk deserves an explanation of how he is going to retain whatever credibility he has when trying to hold others to account for their behaviour.

“As cabinet member for children’s services he has to explain to young people how this is setting standards they should aspire to.

“Young people have been among the heroes of the past few months but we’ve seen Mr Fisher’s colleagues criticise some for their behaviour. They deserve better than that.”

A spokesperson for the Norfolk Conservatives said Mr Fisher would not be asked to step down from his role.

Norfolk County Council has been approached for comment.

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