Islington Council slammed for failure to contact drivers caught at nightmare Highbury junction
PUBLISHED: 15:42 19 July 2013 | UPDATED: 16:38 19 July 2013
The town hall has been accused of deliberately hanging onto cash – collected from a controversial road layout – that doesn’t belong to it.
In April, Islington Council agreed to refund £1.1million collected at the troubled width restriction in Drayton Park, Highbury – which has since been ripped up for being dangerous – after the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service raised concerns about ticketing at the notorious stretch.
The town hall, which says the tickets are legitimate and the refunds are a gesture of goodwill, has come under fire for only giving back £66,000 (less than seven per cent) of the cash so far.
The council says it doesn’t have the drivers’ details to contact them for a refund, but the response to a recent Freedom of Information (FOI) request shows that the local authority holds vehicles’ details and their owners’ addresses for all tickets issued since 2003.
Peter Ashford, a director of the National Motorists Action Group, said: “It’s appalling – they are trying to hide the fact that they have all this information going back many years. It’s shameful.
“They seem to imagine that they can keep any money they don’t refund, but they fail to realise that they don’t have legal ownership.
“There is no reason on earth why the can’t contact those involved. Other councils have done it in exactly the same circumstances.”
Cllr Terry Stacy, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition, said: “This FOI shows that the council has been misleading the public and could contact some people automatically.
“It’s a disgrace that they are not doing so and I am going to demand through the chief executive that this information should be given.
“The Data Protection Act is being used as an excuse by this town hall to keep people’s money.”
The council maintains that these are two distinct things; it does keep details of tickets issued but not who paid them. It also says the road layout was perfectly legal.
A spokesman said: “The tickets issued at Drayton Park were issued legally and correctly.
“Although we are under no legal obligation, we will issue a refund to anyone who paid a fine at this width restriction if they get in touch. Full details are given on our website.”