The council had erected signs which directed all traffic exiting Golden Square via Lower James St to turn left (see photo attached), even though this was a perfectly legal manoeuvre according to the TMO. Traffic can also go straight on into Sherwood St, with the only illegal manoeuvre being a no right turn into Brewer St.
Since August 2010 the No To Mob have taken to escorting CCTV "$camera" cars to assist them to achieve their stated aim in accordance with the Secretary of State’s order of "100 percent compliance with no penalty charges". They have located several places favoured by the $camera cars, and their pursuits of the cars led them to a new "honey pot" at the beginning of December 2010.
Having noted that there was considerable confusion, even amongst the police (see Golden Goose Square video http://www.youtube.com/
WCC were informed of these findings and responded with the following statement from their press office.
"Martin Low, Westminster’
to thank Westminster’
“We acknowledge the road signs at this location are not as clear as they should be and we are currently reviewing them. We have suspended moving traffic enforcement on this particular cross roads."
Shortly after this statement was released the signs were changed to ensure that they reflected the only illegal manoeuvre as pointed out by the No To Mob, i.e. no right turn into Brewer St.
Freedom of Information requests revealed that in December alone nearly 400 Penalty Charge Notices had been issued to innocent motorists for travelling straight ahead into Sherwood St, which resulted in £47,640 worth of fines being levied illegally.
The No To Mob have enquired of Westminster Council's Cabinet Member for Parking and Transportation, Cllr Lee Rowley, whether he is going to cancel any unpaid PCNs, and repay any monies illegally obtained, but to date he has failed to answer and has stated that “The Council doesn't require your formal assistance”.
No To Mob spokesperson Steve Baker said, "We have been concerned for some time that motorists are being unfairly targeted by Westminster City Council in a bid to raise revenue for an increasingly cash strapped local authority.
No To Mob volunteers have identified various favourite haunts for the $camera cars, where it appears that the signage and/or road layout is either confusing, inadequate, improper or all three, which gives the $camera cars ample opportunity to target confused drivers with £120 fines, which are delivered a week later through the post.
We have to question the morality of the council in continuing to issue Penalty Charge Notices when clearly an improvement to signage and/or street layout would prevent confused motorists from receiving PCNs. What also concerns us is that when the Council get it wrong by installing incorrect, inappropriate and illegal signage/road layouts, they seem to be prepared to risk public safety in favour of generating profit by way of highly lucrative PCNs. We are calling on the Council to review all signage and road lay outs where excessive numbers of PCNs are issued for moving traffic violations."
Notes to editors:
Sample photographs may be viewed on the No To Mob Flickr stream at:
The No To Mob were formed in August 2010 and have grown to over 100 members, made up of motorists, taxi drivers, cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians. Although initially targeting Westminster, they hope to expand to have cells of active $chunters ($camera car hunters - pronounced shunters) assisting council CCTV crews throughout the United Kingdom.
No To Mob website address: http://www.notomob.co.uk
The No To Mob are an unfunded group, whose participants pay their own expenses.
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A collection of likeminded bikers and road users holding Westminster Council and other councils to account over their targeting of road users for cash via CCTV and misleading signage.