Town hall leaders have been told to scrap a low-traffic zone after it made over £5 million from cameras in just one year, according to a new document.
Southwark council revealed it earned £5,114,137 from fines handed out to motorists who drove into Dulwich traffic zones between 2021 and 2022, in answer to a question by Southwark Liberal Democrats on March 23.
The authority also made £1,650,641 from low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) in Walworth between March 29, 2021 and March 13, 2022. A further £361,897 was made from cameras near Guys and St Thomas’.
Valeria Anghel, who runs Il Mirto in East Dulwich, said the Italian restaurant lost 40 per cent of its customers after the street the pizzeria is on was cut off to cars in 2020.
Ms Anghel, who has co-run Il Mirto since 2019, said deliveries had become a nightmare since the council banned motorists from turning onto Melbourne Grove from the main road Grove Vale in 2020. She said the council should spend the millions it has earned from LTN fines on sweeping up fallen leaves from trees outside the restaurant that make locals slip.
She said: “I would prefer the road to be like before. To go back to normal would be very helpful, instead of giving penalties. Our business lost 40 per cent of customers when they closed the road. Most of them used to come by car but now some come by bike. The others that are far away they don’t come anymore.
“Suppliers find it very difficult. For example they have a big truck. They leave the lorry on the main street and it’s very hard for them to bring all the drinks. We have to give them a hand because they find it difficult. If they insist on giving penalties I would like the roads to be cleaner. I don’t see anyone from the council coming to clean the roads. I see people slip on the street from the leaves in autumn.”
Ms Anghel said many other businesses on the street had seen a drop in trade after Southwark Council introduced the LTN in 2020. Ms Anghel said she and her business partner had began to claw back customers through letting people pay by card as well as in cash, but that numbers were still below what they were when duo took over the restaurant.
Cllr Catherine Rose, Southwark’s cabinet member for transport, parks and sport, said: “The measures we have introduced are designed to reduce the amount of through traffic in Dulwich, a long standing issue for residents. Regular sampling of those receiving fines showed that 80 per cent are issued to vehicles not registered in Southwark. Local compliance has improved over the past two years and we have amended the times of the restrictions and improved signage for drivers as part of making the scheme permanent.
“Enforcement is necessary to support the work that’s being done to improve air quality, road safety and accessibility. We want to help local people to reclaim their streets. Our objective is for motorists to reduce car use in these areas, especially for short journeys, as they do so, fines will reduce.
“Our monitoring shows that the measures in Dulwich are working, as the area has seen the greatest reduction in vehicle traffic in Southwark, since 2021.
“This means that school children can now travel more safely to school, and people are beginning to reclaim their streets. We hope to see Dulwich and its much loved green spaces, become more inviting to pedestrians and cyclists, bringing improvements to health and support for the local economy.”