Council boss admits road fine ANPR cameras not switched on

While Mayor Perry attacks the Tory government’s ULEZ policy, he’s still raking in millions in fines on bad drivers. Just not as much as he might have expected… From our Town Hall reporter, KEN LEE

Bad timing: restrictions on some school streets are not being properly enforced by the council according to a report to this week’s scrutiny committee

With calls for council boss Steve Iles to be removed from his position for his multi-million-pound “fantasy” road fines predictions, it has now emerged that the director’s council department hasn’t even got round to switching on the money-spinning traffic control ANPR cameras on some school streets.

A report submitted by Iles’s department to a council scrutiny meeting earlier this week said, “There has [sic] been delays to implementing some of the healthy neighbourhood and school streets programmes, which has also impacted the ability to recover enforcement income. This means that there is a risk that anticipated parking income for 2022-2023 will not be met.”

In 2021, Iles submitted a report to the cash-strapped council predicting that income from fines from motorists caught using Low Traffic Neighbourhoods could reach £12million per year in each of the next three financial years. With money tight at the bankrupt borough, this handsome prospect was eagerly accepted by the credulous Labour councillors in charge of the Town Hall at the time.

Even Jason Perry, when campaigning to become Croydon’s first elected Mayor, used the fine income as his excuse for not scrapping LTNs and other traffic-restricting schemes. “There is well over £20million of future income within the budget which would have to be replaced if this happened,” Perry said when pandering to the motoring and haulage lobbyists last April.

‘Fantasy budget’: Scott Roche

Iles is the council’s director of “sustainable communities”: he’s in charge of the roads and the bins, and we all know how well that contract has been managed.

Recently, Mayor Perry’s Tory colleague, Scott Roche, has accused senior council officials – clearly meaning Iles – of submitting figures “plucked from the air” which contributed to what Conservative councillors describe as Labour’s “fantasy budget” for the current financial year.

Iles’ department is now predicting £10million income from road fines in 2023-2024 – down by £5million on what they guessed would be received in the current year.

As well as LTNs, or “Croydon Healthy Neighbourhoods” as they have been rebranded, the council has been hitting those motorists unable to read road signs with £130 fines if they drive down school streets at certain hours during term time (the fines are halved if paid within 14 days).

Croydon now has 33 school streets around the borough, with nine having been introduced since Perry became Mayor, and with more under consideration.

But according to Iles at a scrutiny meeting earlier this week, not all the school street ANPR cameras – automatic number plate recognition cameras – have been switched on.

Piss ups, and breweries: council boss Steve Iles

“There are a number of them that are working,” Iles said.

“We do go through a process of when we put cameras up we have to configure them and there is a programme that works through them.

“I can confirm that not all of the sites are live but they are in the process of being implemented.” Translated from councilspeak: they haven’t switched them on yet.

At the meeting, Iles was forced to admit that his road fine budget projections had been a crock of shit, with motorists actually learning to avoid certain streets which are subject to restrictions, while the increase in the tendency for people to work from home since the covid lockdown has also had an impact on parking revenues.

Iles’s department is now faced with the prospect of a shortfall at the end of this financial year because of reduced income from parking charges and fines.

The council report submitted to the meeting said, “Despite [covid lockdown] restrictions having ended throughout the 2022-2023 financial year to date, the income generated from parking has not significantly improved, and this reflects the societal change where working patterns have now changed on a semi-permanent basis and the shift to accessing retail and other services online.”

Sources at Fisher’s Folly suggest that if Iles is forced to consider a late career change, there may be some breweries locally where he might be considered as a piss-up organiser, although that might be a very short-term, performance-related contract…

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4 Responses to Council boss admits road fine ANPR cameras not switched on

  1. Liz says:

    How on earth can Steve Iles be a Director of a Local Authority, it really sums up how bad Croydon Council really are, an absolute shambles of an organisation

  2. Lee Malyon says:

    Oh dear me. I have just watched the webcast recording of this scrutiny meeting, Mr Iles came across as very unknowledgeable when the Cllrs were questioning him. He just kept waffling on about the “challenges” we are facing with this, the “challenges” we are facing with that, trying to deflect the actual questions, because he didn’t know how to answer them.

    Anyone up for a 15% council tax rise to continue paying for individuals like this?

  3. Giles Smythe says:

    I too watched this. What he actually meant was the “challenge” he has encountered is that Croydon motorists aren’t as stupid as he hoped they would be!

  4. Micky D says:

    What a bunch of comedians we have running our council!!

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