December 5 2013 Latest news:
by Jon Dean and Peter Apps
Monday, September 10, 2012
Islington has more traffic wardens than almost any other council in the country, new figures reveal.
According to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request seen by the Gazette, the borough has 135 traffic enforcement officers – the second highest of the 200 authorities who responded.
Top of the list was Westminster with 242, Edinburgh third with 121 and Lambeth fourth with 99.
Further statistics released by the RAC Foundation show Islington Town Hall made £5.6million surplus from on and off-street parking last year – the 15th highest in the country.
Figures also show the council took £3million from resident parking permits and £1million from visitor vouchers, prompting criticism that people are being ripped off.
Cllr Greg Foxsmith, of the opposition Lib Dem group, said: “It’s small businesspeople trying to do their runs and families who will really suffer from this. You wonder what they have to cut back on to pay the fees.
“This is a cash cow for the council. We feel they’re picking on easy targets to get extra money.”
He also accused the Labour council of breaking an election promise to end expensive parking fees and introduce a fairer system that puts residents first.
Danny Michelson, who owns cheese shop La Fromagerie in Highbury Road, says parking inspectors are becoming more eager to issue tickets.
He said: “It’s happened a couple of times recently that we are loading goods and just go inside for two minutes and the parking inspectors arrive in their Prius cars and slap a ticket on the van.
“It’s a big problem for us. It puts undue stress on people running a business.”
However, Cllr James Murray, executive member for housing and development, said: “The number of parking attendants in Islington has fallen by a quarter over the last three years.”
He continued: “We have reduced the price of permits for the lowest emitting vehicles and introduced the popular residents’ roamer scheme.”
He said any surplus money that is generated goes towards helping the elderly and disabled travel for free.
The council said that the number of wardens in the borough in fact stands at 128.