Milton Keynes Tory councillor resigns after being convicted of driving without due care and attention, no full licence and no insurance
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An MK Conservative councillor has resigned after driving on a provisional licence, with no insurance and without paying due care and attention, leading to a serious collision, the Citizen can reveal.
Cllr Scot Balazs, who represents Newport Pagnell South, was charged by police shortly after the incident in February and pleaded guilty before magistrates on May 18.
This afternoon (Thursday), following a Citizen investigation, he has suddenly resigned as a councillor and also given an apology for the first time.
His case, unusually, was held at High Wycombe Court instead of Milton Keynes and this meant it was not picked up by local press. It was alleged that he veered across the road and crashed into a florist’s van coming in the opposite direction.
The matter only came to light after the florist, Bluebell Flowers in Newport Pagnell’s High Street, revealed today (Thursday) that the shop was being forced to close this Saturday for financial reasons – mainly due to the fact that the van was written off in the collision and there’s never been any compensation.
Owner Brenda Gregory, 62, has been running the popular business for 15 years and it has been the mainstay for local weddings, funerals and celebrations. She says she is devastated to close her shop.
"We can’t afford to continue,” she said. “Because Cllr Balazs had no insurance to claim from we’re having to fight to get anything at all. It could take years. So far we haven’t had a single penny from the councillor.
"He’s never even said sorry or come into the shop to see how we are.”
Brenda, will continue, from Saturday, to run a florist’s service from her home, with the same Bluebell’s website and phone number. But with no van she’s confined to using the family car to make deliveries.
She will be helped by her husband Richard. He was driving the van at the time of the collision, which happened two weeks before Valentine’s Day.
“I was called and rushed out from the shop,” said Brenda. “Later he admitted to police he was driving alone and they told us that he only had a provisional licence.”
Richard Gregory was taken to hospital with severe injuries and needed physiotherapy for six weeks afterwards. He then had to take an extra job as a postman as the florist’s shop struggled more and more.
Brenda said: “We lost so much of our Valentine’s Day trade because the van was written off. For florists, Valentine’s is the big day that sees them through much of the rest of the year. We’ve never recovered.”
A fundraiser has been set up by Rick’s friends and family which can be accessed online here.
The Citizen confirmed with High Wycombe Court today that Cllr Scott had pleaded guilty on May 18 to driving without due care and attention, driving with no insurance and driving a motor vehicle otherwise than in accordance with a licence of endorsement.,
The same day he was fined a total of £660, given six penalty points and ordered to pay £110 court costs and a £264 victim surcharge. The latter goes to a general fund rather than to Bluebell Flowers.
It was not his first brush with the law. In January last year he was caught by a litter warden – ironically employed by the MK City Council he serves, for throwing a cigarette butt on the floor outside Costa Coffee in Newport Pagnell. After not paying the fine, he appeared before MK magistrates in the August of that year.
The Citizen tried in vain to contact Cllr Balazs today. We also informed the MK Conservative group leader Cllr David Hopkins of the court case and Bluebell’s predicament.
An hour later Cllr Hopkins issued a statement saying: “Cllr Scot Balazs has today offered his resignation from Milton Keynes Council following a report to the Councils Standards Committee regarding an incident that took place in Newport Pagnell in February of this year.”
Cllr Balazs himself said in the statement: “I apologise for any upset and concern my actions may have caused. I feel that the issue is of sufficient severity and has placed enormous stress upon myself and my family that the only honourable option for me is to resign with immediate effect from my role as a Milton Keynes City Councillor”.
He added: “I also do not wish to inflict any reputational damage upon the local Conservative Party for which I have worked tirelessly over many years and for the residents of the Newport Pagnell South ward for which I have always endeavoured to offer commitment and service of the highest order’.
Cllr Hopkins said he was “deeply sorry” to see Cllr Balazs leave in such a manner.
"He felt, and I agreed, that this was the only course of action open to him and he has taken the honourable way forward by offering his resignation, which I have accepted”.
“The council has a duty of care to Scot and to his family and I shall be seeking advice from senior MK City Council officers in the ways in which this can best be undertaken over the days and weeks ahead”.
Meanwhile, Brenda said: “At last I feel some justice has been done. It doesn’t bring our van back, or compensate for my shop closing and my husband’s injuries, but it helps.”