Today I return to the subject of covert CCTV surveillance of bus stops. Don’t
all groan; this is a new story. Firstly let’s look at what the legislation says
about Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE). “Enforcement authorities should run their
CPE operations (both on and off-street) efficiently, effectively and
economically. The purpose of penalty charges is to dissuade motorists from
breaking parking restrictions. The objective of CPE should be for 100 per cent
compliance, with no penalty charges.” Does Bexley council follow that? Of course
not, if they did they would not hide their camera cars up side streets and
the police on members of the public who help with the council’s legal obligation
of “100% compliance” by warning shoppers with a home made notice. Let’s not beat
around the bush; if Bexley council’s priority was to operate within the law they
wouldnt hide CCTV cars in side streets or attempt to have warning notices taken
away. So whats the latest example of Bexley council’s CPE failures?
Where Erith Road meets Fraser Road in Erith there are several small shops with a bus stop in front of them (one bus every 12 minutes on route 99) and a road opposite which is on rising ground. Bexley’s gestapo wagon parks at that higher level and trains its camera on the bus stop. (Photo 1). In doing so it peers straight into the bedrooms of the flats above the shops. Why does it park out of sight? To illegally maximise revenue.
An additional problem (Photo 2) is that the bus stop has been extended over a pavement crossover provided for shop deliveries and access to the flats above. Anyone stopping in front of the gates to open them is ticketed because the back end of all but the smallest vehicles hangs a foot over the pavement for a few seconds. The owner of the car in Photo 3 received a fine for doing just that. He appealed but Bexley council wouldn’t budge. One of the occupants of the flats is disabled, she stands no chance against Bexleys gestapo as she takes far too long to open the gates.
The Notomob have been active in the area and the Nisa shop owner has one of their notices displayed in his window. He is therefore ‘guilty’ of the same ‘offence’ as Mr. Peaple who did his best to ensure compliance with CPE legislation while Bexley council preferred flouting it.
The effect of Bexley council’s activities is devastating on local businesses. As one shop owner in Fraser Road said to me, “customers just carry on by and go to the big supermarkets or out of town shopping centres”. I imagine Mr. Newland whose letter appears in the current issue of The Greenwich Mercury is one of those drivers.
This story was brought to Bonker’s attention by the Notomob team and their assistance is gratefully acknowledged.