June 20 2013 Latest news:
by Tom Marshall
Thursday, January 31, 2013
A controversial lorry restriction has been branded the worst road layout ever installed in Islington – after baffled motorists were left with a bill for nearly £750,000 in just two months.
New figures show Islington Council issued 5,741 penalty charge notices of £130 to drivers taking the wrong route through the width restrictions in Drayton Park, Highbury, in the two months after enforcement began on November 14.
That adds up to £746,330 and comes despite a three-month grace period so they could get used to the unusual layout – which has already been ripped up and redesigned once and has so far cost the council £132,000.
Cllr Terry Stacy, leader of the Lib Dem opposition at Islington Council, said: “This is the worst layout I have ever heard of in my 14 years as a councillor. It’s another example of the council just screwing as much money out of residents as possible.
“The council still hasn’t got it right, despite spending a fortune on redesigning it. We’re getting floods of complaints about how confusing it is.”
Roger Lawson, London spokesman for the Alliance of British Drivers, said: “I have never heard of such high levels of PCNs on that sort of restriction. It’s quite exceptional. Why do they need to penalise people for making accidental mistakes?”
Nearby residents and businesses say the measure has been causing traffic chaos with jams, burst tyres and several accidents, while large lorries have to do U-turns to avoid driving through.
The council insists residents were fed up with truck drivers using Drayton Park as a rat-run to travel from Holloway to Finsbury Park, but that explanation has left some perplexed.
Simon Jary, 45, a publisher who lives just off Drayton Park, in Whistler Street, said: “Nobody thinks the lorry issue was a big problem for quite some months before they built it. All it’s doing is pushing lorries onto smaller roads.”
Veli Narci, owner of Veli’s Café in Drayton Park, called for the restriction to be scrapped, adding: “A lot of our customers are getting tickets and they won’t come back. The council has just done this to make money.”
Glenn Tweedie, 42, who owns Premier Plumbing next door, said: “One of our delivery drivers was ticketed six times. It’s a terrible layout and it’s caused lots of accidents and lots of blow-outs. We have noticed sales decreasing since it was installed.”
When the Gazette attended on Monday, four lorries and one car passed through the wrong section in the space of 10 minutes. We managed to stop a second car from making the same mistake.
An Islington Council spokesman said: “This was put in at residents’ request for safer roads.
“Our data shows nearly all drivers are using it correctly. Eight weeks after implementation, the number of tickets issued is falling fast. This lorry ban keeps larger commercial vehicles from using Drayton Park as a rat-run.”