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Man avoids fine as school streets restriction ‘not legal’

A pensioner successfully appealed a traffic fine after the council failed to prove the ‘school streets’ restriction he drove through was legally enforceable.

Retired Old Bailey security guard Terry Ellerby, 73, was fined twice for driving through Addison Road, Wood Street, on April 21, a road that is pedestrian-only in the mornings and evenings.

Terry, who lives nearby, mistakenly believed his blue badge exempted him from the camera-enforced restrictions, which are in place around Henry Maynard Primary School to reduce congestion and improve air quality.

Waltham Forest canceled one of the fines, but he appealed the second at London’s environment and traffic adjudicators, who were “not satisfied” that the school streets restriction was legal.

This was because the council had not provided proof that the temporary order first made in March 2020, which only lasts for a year and a half, had been made permanent.

Adjudicator Teresa Brennan wrote: “An experimental traffic order lapses in eighteen months, I have not seen any evidence that the temporary restriction authorized by Order 28 has been made permanent.

“I am not satisfied on the evidence that I have seen that the restriction in Addison Road was authorized on April 21, 2022.”

Waltham Forest has since confirmed that the school streets scheme was made permanent on November 25 last year, meaning drivers who are not exempt will be fined.

Cllr Clyde Loakes, deputy leader and cabinet member for climate and air quality, said council officers are “looking into our options” to review the tribunal’s decision.

He added: “School Streets in Waltham Forest have improved road safety and air quality for pupils, residents and staff, and have been welcomed in neighborhoods across the borough.”

Cllr Loakes confirmed that residents living in a school street area, who have a blue badge, are not subject to restrictions.

He added that blue badge holders who need to access a school street must apply for an exemption in advance.

Waltham Forest currently has 18 school streets in place, which usually make streets around schools pedestrian only between 8.30am and 9.15am and 3pm and 4pm.

Last year, fines from the council’s traffic enforcement cameras, which include school street zones, made £5.6 million in fines.

Terry told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the council has still not returned his money following the hearing on July 5.

He said: “I rang them and the member of staff was really off.

“I said ‘I’m waiting for my money, if I don’t pay within 14 days when you send a summons I get charged double, but it doesn’t seem to apply the other way around’.

“She said ‘there’s nothing I can do about it.’

For more information on school streets in Waltham Forest visit https://www.walthamforest.gov.uk/parking-roads-and-travel/parking-permits-and-suspensions/school-streets

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