Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us Click here for details »
900 people back call for rethink on spy car policy
FED-UP traders are calling for Southend Council to review the use of its spy car because they say it is driving away business.
Business owners in Wood-grange Drive, Southend, have raised a petition urging councillors to look again at the way the car is used and the rules under which it operates.
Hundreds of motorists have fallen foul of the car’s all-seeing enforcement camera since it started clamping down on parking infringements last year.
Bob Wells, owner of Printer and Cartridge Solutions, wants the car scrapped and traffic wardens brought back.
Mr Wells, 52, of The Drive, Chalkwell, started the petition three weeks ago and has more than 900 signatures of traders and residents. He is aiming to hand it in to the council once he has 2,000 names on it.
He said: “The car is terrorising the whole town.
“It is scaring people away from our businesses and we are struggling enough as it is.
“It is targeting people who are not doing anything wrong.
“I believe it is being used irresponsibly. It just takes pictures, rather than assessing the whole situation in the way the traffic wardens used to do.
“How are we expected to survive and compete with larger businesses when the council is not helping us?”
Other traders along the street say they fear for the future of their businesses.
Terry Gore, 49, who has run the Woodgrange Cafe for the past year, says his takings have plummeted since January.
Mr Gore, from Westcliff, said: “We have lost a lot of custom and I’m really worried about my business.
“At its worst, the car has been coming down the road two or three times an hour.
“Times are hard enough, but now we are really struggling.”
Kash Trivedi, 52, of Southchurch Boulevard, who has run a Costcutter store in the road for 25 years, said: “I want it taken away completely.
“Business is the worst it has ever been because of it.
“I want to find out about the legislation and legality of the car and find out what it is people are doing wrong.”
Tony Cox, Tory borough councillor responsible for transport, said: “We constantly check and monitor the CCTV car as part of our contract.
“When the petition is handed in we will look at it and act accordingly.”