RESIDENTS say their once-thriving street has been turned into a ghost town after the council imposed heavy fines on motorists.
Businesses in Newham, east London, say they have been fined because the local authority handed out more than £1million in fines.
Shoppers who used to flock to Browning Road now avoid the area at all costs, fearing a fine, locals claim.
They say the strict traffic regulations, which prohibit non-residents from entering the lockdown without a valid permit, have hurt their profits.
It was trialed in 2019 after residents complained that motorists were using nearby residential streets as a rat run before it was made permanent.
Drivers without a permit can be fined for crossing the Browning Road Bridge.
It has been revealed that Newham Council last year raked in a whopping £1,018,878 after handing out 22,150 fines to drivers for not obeying traffic restrictions at the request of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
Figures show the same road, known as the Browning Road Bridge project, raised £2,444,508 for local council in 2021.
But although traffic regulation has saved the local council money, locals say the once-busy area is now deserted.
Ali Kara, who runs Browning Off Licence, said he was losing “customers” because of the bad rules as they couldn’t access his shop with their cars.
He said MyLondon: “I used to be busy, but now I’m not.”
“Customers like Beckton used to come from across the street using that road, but now nobody comes and it’s quiet.”
Springbok Newsagents’ Jaymin Rana repeated his complaints, criticizing the community’s lack of signage for confusing potential customers.
He was annoyed: “I’ve lost a lot of customers. If they come and want to buy a newspaper and a pack of cigarettes, they can’t go across the bridge, and they won’t park over there and walk across the bridge.” . My regular customers now go to the Church Road shops.
“I lost money, it’s not good what [the council has] done here.
“I’m always out there telling people and making sure they come back. The signs are very poor if you are not local.”
He claimed he even had to switch suppliers because the companies didn’t want to drive across the bridge because it wasted so much time.
Asadul Haque explained that some of his regular customers have been fined up to five times as much while braving their way to his store.
The owner of E12 Tires and Services and Auto MOT Center said the only thing keeping him afloat is customer loyalty.
Asadul moaned, “When they introduced it, I was touched, but eventually the customers came back because I’ve been here for about 20 years now.”
“They say it has something to do with traffic, but it has nothing to do with traffic, it’s a money-making scheme that makes things worse.”
“It confuses people. [The council] made it so uncomfortable. It’s not clear enough. I know a few customers who had four or five tickets.
“It has had a very, very big impact on my business. I think the city council is only interested in how to rip people off.”
However, some local residents praised the scheme, saying it reduced congestion in the area while minimizing the risk of traffic accidents.
A local, Imran, said Browning Road “used to be manic” – and claimed he even had to stand on the road directing traffic on a few occasions.
He continued: “It was so bad. There used to be two buses there and two buses there – it was a standoff, there were confrontations all the time, so I did that.” [go out] and calm the situation down.”
However, he admitted that imposing fines on local business owners and drivers who are unaware of traffic regulations is “tough”.
Imran added, “I think it’s a good plan what they’ve done, but what I don’t like is when a trader [gets fined for the first time].
“The Council is not forgiving, it is very tough, the Council should issue a warning and say, ‘You went over the bridge and…’“It’s about time you got a fine,” but the council doesn’t do that and just gives everyone tickets — they’ve made a hell of a fortune.”
A spokesman for Newham City Council told LDRS: “The Browning Road Bridge zoning project was introduced in August 2019 after residents complained about the high number of cars passing through the area on certain residential streets.”
“During this time, the council has been monitoring air quality and traffic flow, and gathering feedback from local residents. Traffic instructions in the region have now been made permanent after data showed a significant improvement in air quality.”
“We understand that residents and local businesses still have concerns about the program and want to reassure you that we are still listening to residents’ opinions on how we can make this better for everyone.”