The text of the latest email to residents who signed up to receive Surbiton Crescent fines updates is reproduced below:
Again, apologies for the generic nature of this email. Firstly, we need to state clearly that it is vital that you never ignore a PCN as it can be escalated and end up costing you more money. Over the last few weeks we have been assessing the level of fines and appeals for this particularly junction.
Surbiton Crescent fines
From 14th November to 26th February there were 34,569 fines issued. If every fine was paid early at the reduced rate of £65, the amount collected by the Council is £2.25m over 15 weeks. The number of fines has dramatically reduced from the first couple of weeks, but even in late February there were nearly 700 fines per week, raising over £45,000.
To put this into context, in the last full financial year (2014-2015) RBK issued 25,925 fines for all moving traffic violations (the general title for all banned turns, yellow box junctions etc), raising around £1.7m. So this one decision and junction has raised more in 15 weeks than all the other fines raised over a whole year.
The money raised for traffic offences is ringfenced to transport related expenditure, but by shifting spending between revenue and transport accounts, this money can be used to prop up the budget. We have been told that there is a predicted £4m overspend this year, and the money raised by the Surbiton Crescent fines will be used to hide this appalling lack of budgetary control by the controlling Councillors.
Lobbying for fines to be refunded
We want to put pressure on RBK Conservative Councillors to refund these fines, as they should not use innocent errors by motorists, caused by unclear signage, to make up for the lack of financial support by the Conservative Government. We ask that you write to them and lobby your MP to do the same (particularly if they are a Kingston or nearby MP) as well.
We are also concerned with the way our local MP, James Berry, has responded to resident’s concerns. He has said on social media that the Council should “give the money to charity”. This is also not helpful! Either he believes the signs are legal and adequate, in which case the fines have been correctly collected and remain in the Council coffers. Or he believes residents have legitimate concerns and hence the money should be refunded to them. Please do press him on where he stands on this issue.
There are some local residents who are considering taking legal action over these fines. If you wish to be put in touch with them, please let us know by emailing [email protected]
We have also been looking at the appeals allowed and the process of adjudication. There have been 149 appeals on Surbiton Crescent heard by London Tribunals. Of these 36 have been allowed and 113 refused. 12 of the allowed appeals were not contested by RBK, but we are unclear as to the reasons.
This means that London Tribunals are hearing on average 3 appeals on Surbiton Crescent per day. Some days up to 10 Surbtion Crescent appeals are heard! What has become clear in the course of researching this issue is that the current system of adjudication for PCNs is not fit-for- purpose. The decision of one adjudicator is not binding on another adjudicator. The Chief Adjudicator cannot give a directive to all other adjudicators, even where they are hearing multiple cases on the same matter.
We will be pursuing this issue as we think the current method is unfair and will let you know what we find out.
Cllr Liz Green, Cllr Jon Tolley and Cllr Rebekah Moll