Councillor accuses borough of targeting Chiswick to cover budget shortfall
The camera on Hartington Road
The Hartington Road access restriction, which Hounslow Council recently announced it plans to make permanent, has so far raised over £2 million in fines.
Over 30,000 Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) have been issued by the ANPR camera at the site since it became operation on 2 December last year up until 31 August 2021.
The figures obtained by Chiswick Riverside ward councillor Gabriella Giles suggest that the council will have brought in over £2,000,000 in fine revenue so far from the measure. It has recently announced further restrictions on Staveley Road and Burlington Lane which will also be enforced by ANPR cameras which would provide a further financial boost.
If the 30,406 fines issued to motorists were paid at the full rate Hounslow Council would make nearly £4,000,000 from this one camera but many of those fined will pay within two weeks to get the discounted rate of £65. Even if they all did this then revenue would come to £1,976,390. However, the data shows that less than 50% of these tickets were paid within the discounted 2-week period. Combined with the fact that at least 2644 PCNs have been paid at the full rate of £130 and, allowing for a small number of tickets that have been cancelled, this means that the council have already banked £1,303,445 and with over 10,000 tickets yet to be processed an equivalent amount of additional revenue is likely to be received.
Vehicles permitted to travel northbound through the restriction are those registered at residential properties that sit within the geographical area covered by the ‘CS’ and ‘RV’ controlled parking zones.
People who have been fined claimed they were unaware of the restrictions or that they failed to see the signs or found them misleading. In many cases they have been directed up Hartington Road by their SatNav device.
There have been a number of reports of taxi drivers and delivery firms refusing to travel to the area because of concerns about getting fines.
Councillor Giles said, “The original purpose of the entry restriction into Hartington Road was to reduce traffic in Grove Park during the morning and evening weekday rush-hours. However, the restriction applies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. That is totally unnecessary.
“It is appalling that this restriction was introduced without proper consultation with and without the consent of local Grove Park residents, let alone within the consent of the wider local Chiswick community.
“Given that the initial award to the London Borough of Hounslow as part of the Mayor of London’s Liveable Neighbourhood programme grant was £2 million pounds, which also included funds for the Grove Park Piazza and the Barnes Bridge walkway, I have to wonder if Hounslow Council is just using this to plug any gaps in the budget.
“It has adversely affected the lives of many tens thousands of people not only in Chiswick but in many parts of London, not least families from all over Hounslow who attend the SEN unit at Strand-On-The-Green. It has made life very difficult and more expensive for carers, tradespeople, delivery and taxi drivers, members of the local rowing and other sports clubs and family and friends of local residents”.
She believes the policy of the council is now primarily being driven by revenue rather than traffic considerations and that Chiswick is being specifically targeted.
She added, “These deplorable decisions are being made by Labour councillors who don’t live in Chiswick, who aren’t elected in Chiswick, who don’t know Chiswick and who don’t care about Chiswick and its residents. They must be reversed”.
The council has justified the restriction by saying that nearly 8,000 vehicles used Hartington Road on the average weekday at its busiest point with two thirds of all traffic is heading in a northbound direction. This northbound dominance of traffic continues on Bolton Road, Grove Park Road and Sutton Court Road, which the council believes shows the degree to which traffic uses this route as a cut through between the A316 and A4, in order to avoid Hogarth Roundabout.
The council will shortly be issuing a new traffic order which will make the Hartington Road restriction permanent. The government has made it very clear to local authorities that they face financial penalties if they do not retain schemes introduced during lockdown unless they can show strong evidence as to why they must be removed.
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September 5, 2021