THE Town Hall will have to find up to £1m to repay almost 10,000 illegal fines handed out at a bungled traffic scheme which has caused countless accidents.
Calls have now been made to scrap the road-narrowing lorry restriction in Drayton Park, Holloway, which Lib Dem opposition councillors say has caused nothing but “mayhem” since its introduction last May.
Pedestrians and cyclists have been critical of the layout, which they argue is dangerous.
So far, the entire scheme has cost about £110,000 to introduce and then modify twice. At least three cars have flipped over trying to negotiate the narrowing and there has been constant criticism by drivers of the number of fines they were receiving.
They argued that signs at the junction were not clear. At a full council meeting earlier this year Labour councillor James Murray said the number of fines was tailing off as drivers learned the layout.
But one driver who challenged his fine has won his case at the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service. Adjudicators ruled that signs were not clear and that the fine was illegal.
This means that every fine issued between November and February could have to be repaid.
The council says 10,974 fines were issued in that period. Fines are £130, reduced to £65 if paid within 14 days. It is likely that most drivers would pay the lesser fee, bringing the total cost to the Town Hall to around £800,000.
Lib Dem ward councillor Julie Horton has now called for the road scheme to be scrapped, saying it had inspired a huge number of complaints.
“They have got this scheme wrong right from the beginning,” she said. “They should admit it, rip it up and go back to the drawing board.
“This Labour council just don’t seem to be listening to people. If they had they wouldn’t have redesigned the scheme twice and still got it wrong. A couple of weeks ago a car landed on its roof.”
Cllr Horton said that if all the parking fines were wrong then people should be refunded.
“I know they can appeal and I hope people do,” she added. “But perhaps as a gesture the council should consider returning people’s fines rather than waiting for them to appeal.”
A council spokesman said: “The lorry-ban width restriction in Drayton Park was put in at residents’ request for safer streets.
“When the width restriction was modified late last year, a technical mistake was made and the Traffic Management Order was not changed as it should have been.
“The order is now being changed. We’re very sorry for the confusion and disruption.
“If drivers believe they have been issued with an incorrect penalty charge notice, they should get in touch with us and we will refund any incorrect tickets.”
Source: Islington Tribune