New parking camera will ‘kill’ Maida Vale businesses

Traders fear for their future as council targets customer parking

Maida Vale businesses fear they will be forced to close down after a new parking enforcement camera was installed on Elgin Avenue.

Traders claim congestion is not a problem around the small row of businesses and the Westminster Council camera will simply punish customers looking to pop into a shop.

And the shops on Abbey Road say trade has decreased by up to 35 per cent after a camera was installed on the junction with Boundary Road.

Sunil Patel, owner of Vineyard Pharmacy and Williams Chemist on Elgin Avenue, says a number of customers have already received parking notices in the post since the camera was installed a couple of weeks ago.

“Are they just trying to make us close down altogether?” he asked. “We pay all these business rates to the council and what do we get for it? Nothing. This really is going to kill us.

“I understand it for roads like Edgware Road and Oxford Street and major through routes but not for a small parade of shops.”

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Latest figures show there are 138 parking enforcement cameras in use in Westminster with drivers punished for offences even if they don’t get out of their cars.

Bruno Berenguer, who owns Bruno’s deli on Abbey Road, said his business suffered by 35 per cent when a camera was installed there in 2008.

“It still affects us because people are scared to park,” he said. “The camera doesn’t help us – it just takes people away.”

Elgin Avenue traders say they fear the latest addition to Westminster’s legion of cameras will have a similar effect on their businesses.

The manager of Harlequin Dry Cleaners said: “We get a lot of people who want to come in here, drop something off and run out again quickly, but this is going to deter them. If they are going to get a parking ticket that’s going to influence trade a hell of a lot.

“Once a customer gets one they are not going to come back.”

Boomerang delicatessen manager Jeannet Jeffery added: “People like taxi drivers won’t pull in and run inside any more. People will be very scared to come around here now. Business is hard enough without them doing this.”

Paul Pearson, founder of the website, says Cllr Lee Rowley, who is both councillor for Maida Vale and cabinet member for parking and transportation, should rethink the decision to employ a camera. He said: “I’m surprised the local councillor, who is meant to be looking after the interests of his constituents, would approve a camera where there has never been any congestion and where it can only harm businesses and alienate local residents.”

Kevin Goad, Westminster’s Head of Commissioning for City Management, said: “The use of CCTV is considered an essential component of effective parking enforcement in Westminster and is used where there are known traffic problems or risks to the safety of the public and our staff.

“We are currently issuing warning notices at this location to reinforce the message that stopping is not permitted on yellow lines during hours of control, particularly around junctions as is the case at this location.

“Of course no one want to see small businesses suffer and if traders have any concerns I would urge them to contact the council.”