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Chapel Market car ban leaves traders in crisis

PUBLISHED: 13:04 26 July 2012

Traders in Chapel Market who are in uproar over the restriction brandish their multiple fines

Traders in Chapel Market who are in uproar over the restriction brandish their multiple fines

Dieter Perry

A disastrous attempt to ban cars from a famous market street sparked outcry after more than £200,000 in fines was handed out in just 20 days.

New restrictions barring cars from Chapel Market, Islington, saw 1,771 tickets worth £120 each issued after a CCTV enforcement camera went up on July 3.

The scheme was hastily suspended on Monday following uproar among traders – and Islington Council has now pledged to cancel all £212,520 worth of outstanding tickets.

But shopkeepers say their businesses will be destroyed if the rules are not scrapped permanently.

Tony Gill, of Chapel Market Building and DIY, said: “It’s a joke. If they carry this on the business will have to shut down. Do they want to kill every business in the market?”

The new restrictions allow access to Chapel Market only from 8.30am to 9.45am and between 4pm and 6.30pm, and the council says it will hold “further discussions” towards making the scheme work.

A sign and CCTV camera were installed in Baron Street to stop motorists turning into the western part of the market, where there are no stalls. This is the only way to access the council-run car park in Grant Street, used by scores of traders.

Mr Gill added: “They are effectively telling me when I can go to work. There’s a whole list of problems. How are we supposed to take deliveries?”

One cab firm based in the street says it amassed 85 tickets alone – worth more than £10,000. Terry Burke, of Star Cars, said: “Picking up and dropping off in Chapel Market is my whole business. My business would be finished over this.”

Firms have criticised the idea as being little more than a cynical cash cow.

Some spoke of already losing clients, and they said disabled people can no longer park in the street to do their shopping.

Mark Evans, managing director of Mark Nicholas Design in Penton Street, said: “Absolutely everybody is up in arms about this.

“All the services we offer to clients can’t happen during the day now, because we can’t access our cars. I think everybody is clear that it’s just about milking money.”

Cllr James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing, development and transport, said: “The pedestrian zone was brought in to help regenerate the far end of Chapel Market.

“We have suspended enforcement of vehicle restrictions and cancelled outstanding tickets whilst we have further discussions about how to make this work.”

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