CCTV parking enforcement is out of control under Lutfur Rahman
Shops and businesses feel the brunt as residents get tickets while shopping local
Shocking figures obtained from the council show a significant jump in loading bay parking tickets. Figures obtained by Labour councillor Josh Peck, in response to enquiries from concerned local shop owners, show that 4,678 tickets were issued to drivers parked using loading bays in 2011, a figure that increased to 14,950 - well over 300% - in 2013.
Loading bays are intended to be kept clear for deliveries but for many people a two minute stop to drop something off or quickly visit a store without causing an obstruction is the most efficient use of time and doesn't cause a problem for others. And yet many people find themselves receiving a penalty notice after a brief stop in the 'wrong' bay. A greater flexibility that would allow residents to use local shops while driving and would be helpful for the survival of Tower Hamlets’ local shopping centres.
Use of CCTV cameras for parking enforcement – where the majority of this increase has come from - is only recommended by the Department of Transportation when the use of traffic wardens is impractical. This is not the case on Tower Hamlets high streets and local shopping centres.
This system of parking enforcement is seen as a money tree by Lutfur Rahman who has been cracking down on this type of parking infringement at the expense of local businesses.
In response, John Biggs and Labour are proposing a series of measures to provide a balanced approach to parking enforcement and broader parking policy including the use of visitor permits and reviewing the car free development policy.
John Biggs and Labour are proposing to:
· Review the use of CCTV to issue parking tickets with the aim of getting the balance right and ending penalties for minor technical infringements
· Trial all day visitor permits for six months
· Reviewing the car free development policy
John Biggs, Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said:
"Parking policies should be designed to stop thoughtless parking and keep the borough moving. It is impossible to solve every problem with so many people wanting to park but I want to review how the current policies work and how we can make them fairer - to serve people better."
Cllr Sirajul Islam, Leader of the Tower Hamlets Labour Group, said:
“Using parking enforcement as a form of revenue raising is not just affecting shops but also residential areas. Labour’s proposals would make things easier for residents, for example, by upping the five hour maximum on scratch cards, so visitors staying with residents can go out for the day without rushing back to avoid a parking ticket.”
Robert Byrne, Owner of The Upholstery Shop, said:
“Loading bays are for loading but my customers are getting unfairly penalised for parking legally and coming into the shop to pick up goods. We've got two cameras near here and I've got customers contesting tickets right now. It's a crazy system that needs to change.”