Coun­cil pulling the wool over all of our eyes

Gloucestershire Echo - - LETTERS & OPINION -

✒ IT ap­pears that Chel­tenham Bor­ough Coun­cil con­tin­ues to pull the wool over be­lea­guered mo­torists’ eyes as they raise enor­mous amounts of money through fines re­lated to traf­fic in­ad­vis­edly travers­ing Boots Cor­ner.

Un­der in­struc­tion from CBC, Glouces­ter­shire County Coun­cil have been mon­i­tor­ing any of­fences with cam­eras since Au­gust 13 last year hav­ing closed the road to gen­eral through traf­fic on June 28, 2018 as part of a trial.

The re­al­ity is the pub­lic are be­ing fi­nan­cially fleeced.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest £1.299m went straight to the county coun­cil from driv­ers caught out by the cam­eras over the seven month pe­riod up to March 31 2019.

That is to say, around 47,976 fines had been is­sued to driv­ers dur­ing that time.

While the county coun­cil has con­firmed all the money gained through Boots Cor­ner fines will only be spent in Chel­tenham it equally sug­gests that a large num­ber of locals are act­ing like sense­less sheep. Or does it?

If £1.3m has been raised through Boots Cor­ner fines and each fine is £60 then 21,666 ‘lo­cal’ peo­ple have been pe­nalised.

As the pop­u­la­tion of the town is 116,000 it is not un­rea­son­able to as­sume that ap­prox­i­mately 25,000 can drive and that would mean the other 50 per cent who fell foul of the trial are vis­i­tors, which is out­ra­geously bad for busi­ness.

Un­less, of course, if you are a shep­herd.

Even if all these locals paid the fee speed­ily in or­der to re­duce the cost of the fine by 50 per cent that would mean that 43,332 of locals are re­garded as com­pletely stupid or I think the coun­cil seem to hope that they are.

If the trial con­tin­ues un­til De­cem­ber, as ex­pected, that would sug­gest an amount near to £2.8m would be raised with 50 per cent com­ing from vis­i­tors, if the town con­tin­ues to get any.

The bor­ough should be ashamed for ig­nor­ing such a con­se­quence of their ac­tions, ig­nor­ing a pe­ti­tion against the clo­sure and per­haps seen as cul­pa­ble in sup­port­ing what could be taken as a po­ten­tial ‘or­gan­ised’ stealth tax on mo­torists.

With Chel­tenham-based in­tel­li­gence agency GCHQ rightly be­stowed the high­est award it can re­ceive from the bor­ough coun­cil, the Free­dom of the Bor­ough, “in recog­ni­tion of its con­tri­bu­tions to the com­mu­nity and in­valu­able in­flu­ence to the life of the town as an ex­am­ple for all or­gan­i­sa­tions” it is hoped that they will not be given free car park­ing spa­ces in the town, but will of course be able to herd their sheep through Boots Cor­ner.

Alan Mc­dougall Chel­tenham

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