Traders slam Highgate’s ‘Big Brother’ traffic spy camera
Furious shopkeepers are campaigning to remove a “Big Brother” style traffic camera spying on motorists in Highgate, which they claim will drive trade away from the already struggling high-street.
The permanent camera was installed by Haringey Council last week to replace much-maligned CCTV cars enforcing a no-right-turn ban into South Grove from Highgate High Street.
A group of business owners in Highgate High Street have fought for security cameras outside their stores for years to guard against break-ins.
But they are furiously opposed to the new camera installed outside Brooksby Newsagents – branding it a “council money-making scheme”.
Jane Wiles, owner of children’s shop Notsobig, said: “If people get a ticket, they aren’t going to want to come back, and we are struggling already.
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“We need more parking, not more restrictions.”
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Seyho Kurt, owner of Brooksby Newsagents, said he didn’t “feel too good” about the camera being outside his premises.
“People are using the right turn regularly, all the school mums,” the 43-year-old said. “We should look after these people. I don’t ever see any trouble from using that right turn.
“The camera needs to be moved otherwise I’ll remove it myself!”
Haringey Council denied using the camera as a revenue generator, and said it was installed in response to years of complaints about the disruptive presence of a parking and enforcement CCTV car in the high street.
But many of the traders believe that changing confusing signs at the illegal right turning would be a better solution than a permanent traffic camera.
Phyllis Harper, owner of Highgate Butchers, said: “The signs are very misleading for everyone. At the end of the day, it’s a money-making scheme.”
Ms Harper is one of several traders who believe Haringey Council should allow drivers to make the right turn to encourage them to shop in the village.
Vet Allan Rapley, 64, of Highgate High Street, said: “It is Big Brother. To me, it’s just a sticking plaster on what is a mess of an intersection.”
A Haringey Council spokesman said: “The right turn restriction in Highgate High Street helps ensure pedestrians can cross safely and enables traffic to flow smoothly, and we’ll be installing clearer signage to further improve the junction.
“We’ve responded to traders’ concerns about our mobile CCTV car causing disruption by installing a fixed camera at the junction to enforce the restrictions.”
The camera was installed just days after Caffé Nero’s historic canopy was wrecked by a lorry, which had been making the illegal right turn.
However, Haringey Council said the camera was scheduled to be installed in the high street anyway and was not prompted by the crash.