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Having 'more cameras than the Truman Show' does not mean they can be used to enforce traffic offences says Canterbury City councillor


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A council has vented its frustrations with the government over a lack of traffic enforcement despite having “more cameras than the Truman Show”.

Canterbury City councillors were discussing installing cameras at a pedestrianised area in Herne Bay which is currently controlled by swinging gates.

A city councillor said it sometimes felt the area had more cameras than the Truman Show, the 1998 film starring Jim Carey, pictured
A city councillor said it sometimes felt the area had more cameras than the Truman Show, the 1998 film starring Jim Carey, pictured

The gates at either end of Mortimer Street and William Street can’t be locked shut due to the emergency services.

This has led to abuse by car drivers who open the gates and ignore the pedestrianised area.

However, while councillors wanted to install cameras on the streets, they were frustrated as under current law local authorities don’t have the power yet to enforce any traffic offences.

Currently only the police can enforce moving traffic offences, such as stopping in yellow boxes, and not councils.

Cllr Ashley Clark said cameras were needed on the streets and also criticised the government for a lack of action.

Councillors were discussing installing cameras in Mortimer Street, Herne Bay. Picture: Chris Davey
Councillors were discussing installing cameras in Mortimer Street, Herne Bay. Picture: Chris Davey

“It’s an area where the government haven’t caught up with the reality of the situation," he said.

"Recently I drafted a letter with the chief executive, Colin Carmichael, and sent it to the government with a view of changing things on cameras around school entrances.

“What we notice is when our wardens turn up, like pigeons, all the offenders fly away. As soon as the wardens are not there, the offenders are back again. Having cameras means they can’t do that”.

The Department for Transport has said it is trying to pass a law which would give councils power to enforce traffic laws but not until sometime in the autumn.

Cllr Neil Baker said: “It feels sometimes like we have more cameras than on the Truman show. But we are limited to what we can use them for, because the government hasn't quite caught up.”

Tankerton councillor Neil Baker
Tankerton councillor Neil Baker

The council also considered installing rising bollards, like those in Canterbury City centre, however Kent County Council has not supported this.

Transportation team leader Ruth Goudie said: “The pedestrian zone has existed for nearly 30 years and it has always suffered from non-compliance.

“Because they’re not locked when closed members of the public have found they can open them and it leaves the pedestrian zone vulnerable. It also costs us a lot of money for Serco to open them”.

The Truman Show, a 1998 film starring Jim Carey, takes place on a large set populated by actors where there every move is caught on camera.

Canterbury City Council’s joint transport board met on Tuesday, September 21.

Read more: All the latest news from Herne Bay

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