'Obscured' road signs in Kensal Rise is raking in thousands of pounds for Brent Council
PUBLISHED: 09:52 04 February 2016 | UPDATED: 09:54 04 February 2016
© Adam Tiernan Thomas
Brent Council is raking in thousands of pounds a day from drivers who have been fined for turning right into a street in Kensal Rise amid claims the signs are confusing.
Angry motorists stung by the £130 charge for turning into Bolton Avenue from Chamberlayne Road have taken to social networking sites to express their anger.
According to drivers, the signs warning that right turns are banned are obscured if a bus is in the outside lane.
Once a driver makes the turn only a “one way” sign is visible.
Dr Afshan Malik, who lives in nearby from Burrows Road, successfully contested three penalty notices issued to her after she mistakenly made the forbidden manoeuvre.
Dr Malik told the Times: “The council is making a considerable amount of money every week. The signage is wrong and it has been exploiting that error to make money.
“I got three in a row and got really cross at how unfair it was so I took it to appeal. Most people don’t have the time to argue. It’s very complicated to appeal... if you miss details, you have to go back. It’s all very stressful.”
Adding that the council did not contest her appeal, she said: “The day before the hearing they rang the court and said they had no evidence, but they’d sent the evidence to me.
“The judge said the court couldn’t accept that and I’d won on a ‘technicality’. But it’s wrong: what they are doing must be illegal.”
A Freedom of Information request sent to the Times showed that between October 15 to January 12 this year, the council issued 3,352 notices which will raise up to £435,760 if drivers wait more than 14 days to pay the fine.
The fines are halved to £65 if paid within the first two weeks of issue.
The lowest revenue raised during that period averaged £2,476 a day.
Many motorists who have been caught out are heading to the courts after reading about Dr Malik’s win on social networking site Streetlife, including one who has paid out £380 in fines ‘so far’.
Both Simon Denton, whose wife made the mistake four times and Caroline McNamara, whose husband was caught out, plan to appeal as well as Amara Owoh, from Brent Terrace in Cricklewood, who has been fined twice.
She said: “It’s only when I got out and walked towards the turning on foot that I saw the sign. I’m really angry. I want to know if I can get my money back.”
Cllr Eleanor Southwood, lead member for environment said: “Our first concern is the safety of road users and keeping traffic moving. We want people to obey the road rules, not pay the fines. “Following feedback from motorists there are now more signs at this junction with another still to go up. We hope this will encourage safer and more considerate driving.
“Since October we have cancelled more than 500 penalty charge notices to serial offenders allowing them to adapt to the new regulations.”