March 17 2014 Latest news:
Lizzie Dearden, Senior reporter
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Redbridge Council has made a staggering £1.6million from parking fines issued in just 10 roads last year.
We understand that nobody wants to receive a parking fine, but these restrictions are there for a reason.
When the council introduces parking or moving traffic restrictions, it does so because it has a responsibility to make its roads as safe as possible and to try to ensure the free movement of traffic.
We have to try to balance the needs of motorists, local residents and businesses with a huge number of other local factors, such as ensuring vehicles can move freely, bus journey times, the safety of children walking to school and the need to restrict blind turns and increase motorists’ visibility.
If residents feel they have received a parking ticket incorrectly then they can appeal through the regulated process described on the back of the ticket.
We are currently in the process of revising the code of practice to make it easier for motorists to better understand parking controls and parking enforcement, and it is hoped this will help to reduce parking contraventions within the busiest and most congested areas.
A Freedom of Information request by the Recorder revealed 40,000 tickets were issued in the borough’s hotspots – mostly in Ilford town centre.
More than £1m is yet to be paid by drivers, with fines starting at £60 for parking and traffic contraventions.
Cranbrook Road, which runs through Ilford, Gants Hill and Barkingside, took the top spot – making £393,000 from 8,964 fines.
Nearby Clements Road is just 500m long but had the second-highest number of parking tickets in Redbridge in 2013.
The 4,600 fines have so far made £251,000.
Many drivers caught on CCTV cameras have complained signs in the road are not clear enough.
In June, a parking tribunal ordered the council to cancel multiple tickets it issued for an offence that “did not happen”.
Sarah Gallagher received two contradictory notices for different offences at the same time in January 2013.
An adjudicator ruled that no contraventions occurred, adding that the penalties “made little sense”.
Although many of the top-10 traps are in Ilford town centre, George Lane in the heart of South Woodford came in at number four.
Motorists have stumped up more than £160,000 so far for 3,738 tickets issued last year and businesses fear the fines are scaring shoppers away.
Ramay Estates manager Shujaa Latif, in Cranbrook Road, said: “It definitely makes a difference because people can’t park up and come in.
“It’s an issue, there are yellow lines everywhere.
“It is also very expensive for people to park up locally.”
In response to complaints, the council lowered parking charges in high streets and shopping areas outside Ilford town centre to 30p for half an hour in December to help local shops.
The practices of parking officers have come under fire by drivers who claim they are over-zealous.
Mohammed Butt, 50, said he was given a ticket for pulling over for “seconds” in June while a van reversed.
He added: “I just want the council to stop harassing drivers and issuing tickets just to make money. Businesses in the area are suffering because of this.”
The fine issued in Grange Road near Ilford Lane was eventually overturned in an appeal.
The charge notice said a warden observed the car for just one minute.
There is no minimum time for parking penalties, but last month the government announced a possible five-minute grace period for drivers after parking tickets run out.
CCTV could also be scrapped for on-street parking and some yellow lines removed.
Transport minister Robert Goodwill said the government wanted to rein in “overzealous enforcement and unjust parking practices”.
The council has not committed to bringing in the scheme but said it would “listen to the government’s advice”.