Another driver has successfully appealed against a fine issued for driving down a school road in Sudbury after a tribunal once again ruled that the ‘signage was inadequate’.
A councillor believes the sign is ‘confusing and misleading’ and is urging the council to refund all drivers caught and cancel any outstanding payments.
More than 2,000 fines were issued between May and July of this year by a CCTV camera on Perrin Road, outside Sudbury Primary School.
It was introduced in May as part of the Brent Council’s ‘Safe Streets’ policy, which is designed to enforce closures on roads outside schools during drop-off and pick-up times for safety and environmental reasons.
Dozens of drivers have complained that they can’t see the sign warning of the restricted street at the Watford Road junction but the council continued to demand payment for the Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs).
Sudbury councillor, Paul Lorber, has since given evidence in support of another resident’s successful appeal against the fine.
Cllr Lorber told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) that it is “unfortunate” that the council “refused to listen” to residents about the issue and is calling for the cabinet member responsible to be sacked.
He said: “Brent Council were so keen to extract money from local people for a badly signed scheme that they would not listen to reason. They will hopefully listen now and do the right thing – cancel all the PCNs and refund all the money extracted. […] Many local people have been very distressed and very badly treated in this case.”
Earlier this month (October 14), Cllr Lorber gave evidence in an appeal for a Sudbury resident who was convinced they couldn’t see the sign prior to turning into the road. The adjudicator concluded that the “signage was inadequate”, which required the council to refund the £130 fine.
It is the second time that Cllr Lorber has supported a resident’s appeal against a fine issued on the ‘school street’. Earlier this month, Christopher Valentine was also successful in appealing the charge on behalf of a friend. He told the LDRS that the position of the sign, its proximity to the kerb and its height, meant it was “impossible to see”.
Cllr Lorber is now demanding an independent review of the signs around all the safe school schemes in the borough to ensure that it is “clear and fair to local drivers”. He claims drivers have been deceived by the sign, calling it “confusing, misleading, or invisible”.
Cabinet Member for Environment, Infrastructure and Climate Action, Cllr Krupa Sheth, said: “The parking adjudicator has considered a number of cases relating to school streets enforcement, some of which have been refused on the basis that the signage is adequate and visible, however, we will, of course, cooperate with any of the adjudicator’s decisions.’’
She added: “We don’t want to have to issue any fines, but those who break the rules give us no choice. To make sure drivers know what these rules are, we installed signage that followed national standards and following residents’ feedback, in September we installed improved larger signage to make it even clearer.
“Our school streets are extremely popular with parents, teachers, and pupils. They mean that roads are safer, less gridlocked and help protect children and young people against the dangerous effects of toxic air.”