Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bloomsbury street that makes £2.5m a year in traffic fines

London Evening Standard
11 January 2010
By Ellen Widdup

This is the most lucrative road in London for parking fines and traffic penalties — raking in up to £2.5 million a year.
Wardens and cameras in Southampton Row in Bloomsbury, which is only 500 yards long, have snared almost 23,000 drivers in the past 12 months — giving out fines of up to £120 a time.
A Standard investigation has found that the road is one of many fines hotspots in the capital. Wardens issued almost 29,000 penalties for contraventions in Station Road, Harrow.

But the council charges half the level of fines of Camden, which regulates traffic in Southampton Row, making its potential revenue £1.7 million a year.
Across London in the past year, almost four million penalties were issued to motorists. Other roads which regularly rake in more than £1 million a year include Ripple Road, Barking; Queensway; and Atlantic Road, Brixton.

Today parking campaigners accused councils of using drivers as “cash cows” and focusing on single roads with poor signage as “entrapment spots”.

Barrie Segal, founder of Appeal Now, a website that helps drivers fight unfair penalties, said: “There are a few reasons that some roads are much worse than others. Often it's road signage — one sign will contradict another so it will be confusing for the motorist. Sometimes it's poor road marking. The problem is there's no incentive for councils to correct this.”

Camden's parking wardens and cameras have caught drivers in Southampton Row for a variety of offences, including driving in a bus lane, making an illegal U-turn and parking illegally.

A spokeswoman said 90 per cent of the fines issued were for traffic offences and the rest for parking violations.
Several major bus routes run along the road, so bus lanes must be kept clear at all times to prevent them being delayed,” she added. “It is important to ensure motorists follow regulations so traffic is able to move freely and safely.”

Westminster was the borough that issued the most penalties with 684,000.
Last year Prudence Fay, 69, won a case against the council after receiving a £120 fine based on photo evidence faked by a warden.

Danny Chalkley, Westminster's cabinet member for city management, said more than half a million vehicles entered the borough a day which was bound to result in a high number of offences: “Every penny of surplus income from parking is ploughed straight back into transport improvements,” he added.

'I've lost 30% of my business'

Ruggerro Acar, 51, owner of Verdi Ristorante:“Two years ago there were much more restrictive traffic wardens. Now the council's parking rules are not so bad. We need to be reasonable, to think of ourselves and other people.”

Nikki Cottrell, 30, manager of estate agent Frank Harris: “A couple of [contractors] would risk pulling over to pop in, and a couple have had tickets. It's a frustration. I have to get our deliveries taken to our Bloomsbury office.”

Alan Mays, 45, delivery driver for two firms:“Now the council's taken over [giving tickets] it's a lot worse. Now it's cameras or wardens and there's no discretion. They have to keep London flowing but it's a nightmare.”

Thomas Sacker, 66, owner of florist Bonnie Blooms:“I've lost 30 per cent of my business because people can't park. Even with people coming to pick up funeral flowers, they can't stop. It's money-motivated for councils.”

Top 10 hotspots for fines

1. Station Road, Harrow (Harrow) Fines: 28,884
2. Southampton Row (Camden) Fines: 22,275
3. Chiswick High Road (Hounslow) Fines: 18,668
4. Queensway (Westminster) Fines: 12,464
5. Ripple Road, Barking (Barking & Dagenham) Fines: 12,266
6. Herbert Road, Southall (Ealing) Fines: 9,645
7. Fore Street(Enfield) Fines: 8,789
8. Lea Bridge Road (Waltham Forest) Fines: 7,719
9. Uxbridge High Street (Hillingdon) Fines: 6,425
10. Golders Green Road (Barnet) Fines: 5,868
*Local authority in brackets.

No comments:

Blog Archive

only search Neil Herron Blog