Kensal Green traders say parking camera is driving away customers

Critics have launched a petition calling for the council to take the device down

Angry traders have accused the council of driving away their customers by putting up a parking enforcement camera outside a shopping parade.

They claim the camera, which in Harrow Road, near the junction of Kilburn Lane in Kensal Green, has sparked a spate of complaints from customers furious at having received fines of up to �120.

Critics say there were no problems with congestion in the street, and have launched a petition calling for Westminster Council to remove the device.

Saifeldin Ali, manager of Nabta Food Centre, just a few yards away from the device, said: “Customers are not coming to our shops because they are worried about getting a ticket if they stop for more than a minute or two.

“Even my milkman says he won’t deliver here anymore because he is scared of getting a ticket. Now I have to drive to the store to pick up my milk, it is ridiculous.

“None of the traders were consulted over it. When they put the camera up we specifically asked if it was anything to do with parking, and were told no, it is for safety – to catch people at anti social behaviour. The council is just ripping people off.”

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Keith Crumley, a director at the Motorcycle Service Centre in Harrow Road where he has worked for 30 years, echoed these concerns.

He said: “This has really angered us traders. The council never told us it was planning to install the camera. We were just faced with customers telling us that they had been fined. It was very frustrating.

“I can’t get my head around the logic of this. Fair enough we have to all live in London and parking must be regulated, but when the council loses the point of being here, which is to serve the public and maintain our community, then why would they want to keep people away?

“This is just a revenue earner for the council.”

Traders say there is a small notice beneath the newly installed camera warning drivers that CCTV is in the area, but the nearest sign warning people of the parking fine is around 100 yards away and so drivers are unaware that they are parking illegally.

Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg (Lab: Queen’s Park ward) said: “The last thing Harrow Road traders want in this dire economic climate is the Council ruining their businesses with unnecessary parking cameras.”

Kevin Goad, Westminster council’s head of commissioning for city management, said: “The use of CCTV is considered an essential component of effective parking enforcement in Westminster and is used where there are known traffic problems or risks to the safety of the public and our staff.

“We issued warning notices for two weeks at this location to reinforce the message that stopping is not permitted, particularly as it is close to a pedestrian crossing, marked by zigzag lines, and could endanger pedestrians.

“Of course no one wants to see small businesses suffer and if traders have any concerns I would urge them to contact the council.”