Businessman hit with road ban despite claiming it would would lead to job losses

Jason Rowan
Jason Rowan

An Ilkeston company owner is planning an appeal against a six-month speeding ban which he claims will lead to 62 redundancies.

Jason Rowan spent £12,000 fighting the case after being clocked at 57mph on February 3 last year on the A52 dual carriageway at Bramcote, where the limit is 40-mph.

After being found guilty, he launched a fresh claim, saying a disqualification would cause “exceptional hardship” with the loss of the jobs and the closure of Energy Save offices in Derby and Leicester.

Now his solicitor John Richards has told a court that Rowan intends to lodge an appeal against both the conviction and the sentence.

At Nottingham Magistrates’ Court, District Judge Tim Spruce fined Rowan £750, with £930 prosecution costs and a £120 government surcharge. The ban was imposed because he already had speeding points on his licence.

The judge said: “I find it very difficult for me to establish a link between Mr Rowan’s ability to drive and the closure of two offices.

“In the context of the size of the business and the number of employees, he could redeploy an employee as driver.

“I accept the disqualification will result in hardship. However it has to be exceptional hardship for me to exercise my discretionary power.”

Mr Richards, defending, said Rowan did not want to disclose the company’s financial details in open court.

He said that Rowan needed to drive to meet people upset by a BBC Watchdog case which criticised a product produced by his firm, which has its HQ in the former Co-op building on Wharncliffe Road, Ilkeston. After publicity following his court appearance last month, his family had faced “verbal abuse.”

Mr Richards went on: “He is the face of the business, he is the voice of the business. He needs to be there speaking to disgruntled customers.

“I am sure, if the ban were shorter, he would be able to plug the gap,” added Mr Richards.

Rowan, 45, appeared in court last month and said that his company lost customers after a BBC Watchdog programme filmed a salesman talking to someone with Alzheimer’s disease.

He claimed that customers had “panicked,” forcing him to trim the 300-strong workforce to 120 in two months. If he were banned, he said his accountants told him that he would need to close offices in Derby and Leicester with the loss of another 62 jobs.

“It is restructuring, trying to keep the company afloat. We are trying to save the business. My own bank account is overdrawn.

“We have £40,000 turnover and on profit margins, we are losing money on a weekly basis. We have got £67,000 going out in the wages bill, a £30,000 deficit every week,” said Rowan of Rosyth Crescent, Chellaston.

He said it was not possible to employ one of his existing staff as a driver, telling the court: “People can’t work the hours I work. The hours I work are absurd. I would need three people 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

The judge refused an application for the driving ban to be suspended awaiting the outcome of that hearing.