Motorists fined in Surbiton Crescent denied refund by Kingston Council

Motorists fined in Surbiton Crescent will not be refunded after amendments to the controversial traffic restrictions were denied by Kingston Council.

Suggested amendments put forward at the full council meeting by the Liberal Democrats included wiping motorists’ “first offence” fines and for a Task and Finish Group to be set up to scrutinise the scheme.

They were denied by 12 votes.

A petition with more than 300 signatures was also presented at the meeting following the council making over £3million from scheme, fining almost 50,000 motorists in the process.

Campaigner James Giles, who presented the ‘Call-In’ petition on July 18, accused the council of “not listening to residents” and described the decision as “real shame”.

A trial traffic calming scheme began in November which closed Surbiton Crescent.

The scheme, made permanent by councillors at a residential committee meeting on June 14, was implemented to determine the effect to traffic flows.

Traffic volume in Surbiton Crescent was halved, from 377 to 185 vehicles per hour, with most of the displaced traffic being reassigned to Surbiton Road and Maple Road.

However, a camera was placed in the area and drivers were slapped with fines, which they say they were not warned about.

 

However, a spokesperson for the council said: “We began informing residents and regular users of the road about the restrictions in June 2016.

“Residents who live in the restricted area and Surbiton High School were sent letters in July 2016 advising them of the changes.

“As well as clear signage at the site of the restriction, 5,500 advance warning letters were also sent between 19 October and 14 November 2016 to vehicle owners that had driven through the restriction.”

The council said it “resolved to continue with the introduction of the permanent scheme” which may include traffic islands, illuminated and directional signage.

Mr Giles said: “Despite time being available to set up a panel to review the whole fiasco, the administration decided to press ahead regardless.

“When the programme is complete, Surbiton Crescent will provide a useful route for cyclists in a linked route to Kingston.

“However, at the current time, the other elements of the scheme have not been built, leaving good time for transparent review and scrutiny.

“Surbiton’s cyclists and motorists deserve better than the current attitude shown toward them by the administration – it was in the interest of every road user to set up a Task and Finish Group, so why refuse to listen?”

Mr Giles said “one positive” from the meeting was that the council alluded to removing the camera soon.

He said: “That’s a victory of sorts for residents.”

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