Council blasted as Highgate traffic spy camera was never switched on

Exasperated shopkeepers have branded a council traffic spy camera a waste of taxpayers’ money after it was revealed that it hasn’t been switched on in the seven months since it was installed.

The camera was universally blasted by Highgate’s high street traders when it was erected by Haringey Council outside Brooksby Newsagents last October, as they claimed it would damage trade.

It was installed to replace much-maligned CCTV spy cars enforcing a no-right-turn ban into South Grove from Highgate High Street.

But following a Freedom of Information request submitted by the Ham&High, the council admitted this week that the camera has “not been configured for use as of yet” due to technical difficulties.

Chris Underhill, partner at Prickett & Ellis Underhill estate agents, said: “If the council is going to spend money on a camera, it should at least spend money on one that works.”

Lee Harper, master butcher at Highgate Butchers, added: “It’s a metal scarecrow, it doesn’t do anything. It’s a bit weird for the council to put it up.”

Mr Harper, who runs the 40-year-old business with mother Phyllis, joined every trader the Ham&High spoke to in calling the camera “a waste of money”.

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The South Grove junction has been a subject of frustration for Highgate’s motorists for years, with confusing traffic signs blamed for the high number of illegal right turns made there.

The council installed new signs last year in response to the concerns, but some shopkeepers believe the no-right-turn restriction remains unclear.

Allan Rapley, owner of Highgate Vet veterinary practice, said: “What’s it up there for then? It hasn’t made a difference, people still do right turns there. It seems totally pointless. It was put there simply to generate income.”

Jane Wiles, owner of children’s clothes shop Notsobig, said: “What’s the point of it? At least people are not getting tickets.”

A spokeswoman for Haringey Council said: “This camera was installed after nearby residents and traders raised concerns about traffic congestion at this junction.

“Unfortunately our contractors have been experiencing a number of technical difficulties with it.

“We are pushing them to find a solution so that it will be fully functioning by the end of this month.”

The authority was unable to say how much the camera had cost before the Ham&High went to press.