Hopes of fine write-offs dashed after controversial shopping centre cameras given green light

Cameras @ Priory Centre car park
Cameras @ Priory Centre car park

Outraged drivers snapped by “illegal” car park cameras at a Worksop shopping centre have seen their hopes of fines being written off dashed.

Planning permission for the controversial ANPR cameras, which are based in the Priory Shopping Centre, was granted by Bassetlaw District Council despite more than 80 objections from angry motorists and residents.

A probe in February this year revealed that the cameras had been erected by private firm Parking Eye without planning permission in 2014.

Dozens of motorists who claimed they had been unfairly fined were therefore urged to object to the cameras in a bid to have them removed and their charges reversed.

Colin Tawn, a resident who has been campaigning for the cameras to be removed, claims the cameras are “still illegal” despite the fact they now have official planning permission.

Mr Tawn also claims there were “serious emissions” from the evidence pack presented to the council by Parking Eye as part of their application, including the use and retention of data captured by the cameras.

Mr Tawn said: “There is a potential with any CCTV system for misuse. Neither the council, nor any member of the public, would have any information in front of them on which to form a view as to whether any criminal conduct may be being undertaken here via the use of ANPR.

“The grant of any subsequent consent does not legalise unauthorised use of ANPR cameras. Any consent only applies going forward and cannot be backdated. So the existence of the cameras, before consent was granted, will always be illegal.”

A spokesman for Bassetlaw District Council said: “Planning officers looked at the material planning considerations that were put before them, which in this instance was the retention of the pole mounted cameras, in addition to an assessment of the visual and residential impact of their form and location.

“While a total of 81 objections were received through the statutory consultation process, the majority of these related to the way the parking scheme is managed rather than the impact of the appearance of the cameras.

“We acknowledge that members of the public are not happy with the operation of the ANPR scheme. But this does not justify a refusal of the application.”