CCTV slashed in Westminster borough
Josie Hinton MOTORISTS are celebrating after the use of CCTV to issue parking fines in Westminster has been slashed by more than 30 per cent. Parking bosses have removed 45 of the loathed devices – bringing the total across Westminster down to 100 – after
MOTORISTS are celebrating after the use of CCTV to issue parking fines in Westminster has been slashed by more than 30 per cent.
Parking bosses have removed 45 of the loathed devices - bringing the total across Westminster down to 100 - after huge public concern about the use of CCTV to enforce parking rules.
A further 30 will be relocated to "traffic hotspots" to tackle congestion and parking offences.
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Cllr Danny Chalkley, the borough's transport chief, said the changes were intended to "reassure motorists" in the face of public concern about the use of CCTV for parking enforcement.
All camera locations are also now listed on the council's website and each camera is identified with a 'street enforcement camera' sign.
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Parking campaigner Barrie Segal, who founded the AppealNow website, said: "This is a positive decision, not least because those cameras were used in contravention of the Department for Transport guidelines.
"There should only be parking cameras where it's not possible to have civil enforcement officers, but these cameras have been used where there are officers operating."
But he added: "Although it's a positive step, it doesn't go far enough. They should scrap the other 100 cameras."
The announcement comes as new figures reveal CCTV cameras in three streets in St John's Wood were responsible for more than 3,000 parking tickets being issued last year.
The figures, released following a Freedom of Information request by parking campaigner Paul Pearson, show 3,005 tickets were issued in Circus Road, St John's Wood High Street and Abbey Road as a result of CCTV.
In Circus Road, a camera penalised 1,549 offences while cameras in St John's Wood High Street and Abbey Road caught 1,456 drivers.
Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg, leader of the opposition Labour Group at City Hall, said: "These figures are truly shocking. Westminster Conservatives are fleecing motorists of thousands of pounds for minor parking offences.
"Shopkeepers in St John's Wood High Street and Abbey Road are having their businesses severely damaged by Westminster's money-grabbing parking policies.
"At a time of tough economic conditions, the last thing local shopkeepers want is the council frightening off their customers with constant parking fines.
"The time has come for a fundamental review of the use of CCTV to issue parking tickets in residential streets in St John's Wood, Maida Vale and Paddington. Residents are fed up with their money-grabbing Conservative council taking even more of their hard-earned cash."
But Cllr Chalkey said that on busy streets such as St John's Wood High Street, the figures were not that shocking.
"If you break these figures down, it equates to CCTV cameras helping to issue less than 30 tickets a week in Circus Road, 17 in St John's Wood High Street and just 11 in Abbey Road," he claimed.