Michael Winner's cousin says even Camden baffled by 'confusing signs' on £5million fines road
PUBLISHED: 18:17 23 July 2012
A Hampstead magistrate stung by a "cash cow" traffic camera claims even Camden Council is confused by its own baffling signs on a notorious stretch of road that has generated £5million in fines.
Paul Winner, the cousin of food critic Michael Winner, was issued with a penalty notice after being caught out in Grafton Road, Gospel Oak - branded the “most confusing in Britain”.
The camera has raked in more than £5million in fines over six years and can sometimes collect £1,000 an hour from unwitting drivers.
But the retired reputation management consultant’s £65 fine was cancelled after an appeal ruled that the council had made it “insufficiently clear” which sign Mr Winner had contravened.
He now believes that 1000s of motorists could be eligible for a refund on fines.
Mr Winner’s wife Mary, who had been following in a car behind on April 16, received the same fine and also had her fine revoked by the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service (PATAS).
Mr Winner, who lives in The Old Orchard, said: “There are thousands of motorists who are being charged with the exact same fine as me on this one camera, which has earned the council more than £5million.
“The council must conform to the law and it is quite clear that it is not bothering to.
“It is extremely misleading and even they seem to be confused this time round.”
The council’s paperwork failed to provide a relevant picture of the sign which Mr Winner was accused of ignoring and his appeal was upheld on July 11.
Just last week in a different case at PATAS an independent adjudicator ruled that the signs were “not valid”, sparking calls for cash collected from the camera to be paid back.
The council said it was not considering changing the cluster of nine different signs along that stretch of road and the recent rulings did not set precedents for further appeals.
Mr Winner, an artist in his spare time, said: “The onus should be on the council to comply with the law and these signs are inadequate and misleading.”
A council spokesman said Camden was not legally required to provide a picture of the sign with the penalty charge notice and did not agree with the adjudicator’s decision in Mr Winner’s case.
He said: “The signage in place at Grafton Road is clear, however from time to time we will have such cases overruled by individual adjudicators, depending upon their own interpretation of the guidance in place.”