Council pulling the wool over all of our eyes
✒ 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