Hackney Road businesses accuse council of using parking camera to pull in thousands

Businesses have accused the council of using them as a cash cow for installing a camera they say is issuing tickets to drivers who are legitimately loading goods.

Firms in Hackney Road say the restrictions to three parking bays introduced 18 months ago only allow their delivery drivers and customers a five minute break from loading before they are smacked with a �65 parking ticket.

They say they are being penalised when their drivers are briefly distracted by a customer or go for a toilet break and that they are losing thousands of pounds because many customers are being put off by the fines.

Tower Hamlets council said 2,744 tickets have been issued by the CCTV camera in the last eight months.

This means it would net almost �180,000 if each �65 ticket was paid.

David Lewis, owner of metal firm Daniel Lewis and Sons complained he has lost three quarters of his business since the camera was brought in.

He said: “We cut steel for customers and they can’t park outside to load the sheets without getting fined. Customers legitimately parked are getting tickets and our own driver has been issued with about nine. It’s putting us out of business. We’ve been here since 1797 and we’re not likely to see 2013 because of this.”

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Iain Heathy, a partner at Watermans cleaning supplies next door, said: “If our delivery drivers are not seen unloading continually, for example they pop to the loo, we get a ticket. We’ve had about 12 in the last eight months. So many people are not coming back to our shop because of these problems. Prior to this new regulation you had 20 minutes. It seems like the council is using this as a cash cow.”

Tower Hamlets council said it introduced the camera because it was getting complaints after the opening of a Tesco store about large delivery vehicles parking too close to the junction with Minerva Street.

It said this was considered a “safety hazard”.

A spokeswoman added: “In view of the loading requirements at Tesco and to keep consistency with the other hours of control on this section of Hackney Road it was considered that the new Loading bay should operate 24 hours a day.”

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