A dad is battling to overturn £650 of fines which were handed out after he was caught driving to and from his own house. Abdul Noormohamed, 39, received five tickets for entering a ‘school streets’ zone in Harrow during restricted hours.
School streets are roads where traffic is restricted during drop off and pick up times near schools. Mr Noormohamed was handed fines even though he lives in the area covered by the scheme, and registered his car and van during the initial trial period in 2020.
Abdul, of Marlborough Hill, said he feels like he is “living in a prison” on his own road and that his neighbours have spoken of taking a much longer route home to avoid the cameras. He said: “I don’t understand what’s gone on. They’re sending fines to someone who lives in the zone, surely they can see that isn’t right if we’re supposed to be exempt?
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(Image: Adam Shaw)
“My head is spinning, it’s caused so much extra effort and stress. We can’t have visitors, we don’t get deliveries. It’s got to the point now where we’re scared to go out on the road. It’s like being a prisoner in your own home. I’m not usually one to complain – sometimes it’s just easier to pay the fine. But this is just crazy.”
Abdul explained that he registered his vehicles when the council put a trial scheme in place at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. When this was made permanent, he was told he would not need to register again. Mr Noormohamed said he has raised the issue with Harrow Council on several occasions but has been met with little helpful advice.
He said the council did cancel the initial fine, but has since sent him four more tickets. After refusing to pay these, he received further letters threatening court action. All the fines have been linked to his family car. The van, which Abdul says has been through the area during the restricted hours, has escaped being ticketed.
Abdul said he relies on his car as his family regularly travel to after-school activities, the mosque and to visit friends and family. The School Streets scheme, which fines unauthorised drivers for using Marlborough Hill between 8am and 9.30am and 2.30pm and 4pm, has also impacted on people visiting him.
Abdul said: “My house is usually very active, my door is always open. I’d have people coming and going all day every day, but I can’t anymore as they’re scared of getting fined.” Abdul added the scheme would stop him hosting large celebrations, something he said is very common in Asian culture.
He said: “What are we supposed to tell people? That they can’t come to my home? That they have to fight to find a parking space somewhere else and then walk?”
Abdul and his neighbours said the restrictions simply force cars onto other nearby roads, simply shunting pollution onto others. And there are concerns around the signs warning drivers that they cannot use the street by the school at certain times – approaching from the busy Harrow View, they would be unaware until the last minute and could be forced to brake in the middle of the road.
Several school streets schemes were approved in Harrow following consultation with residents and schools. The Marlborough School scheme, which covers part of Marlborough Hill, Leys Close, Rugby Close, Ranmoor Gardens and Badminton Close, is scheduled to be reassessed after it received mixed feedback.
Harrow Conservatives’ leader Cllr Paul Osborn said it was important to make the right call on this scheme to avoid changing it at a later date if it proved unpopular. Other traffic measures in the borough, such as pop-up cycle lanes and low-traffic neighbourhoods, were removed after they faced strong opposition from residents, costing the council £75,000.
A Harrow Council spokesperson said: “We are aware of this case and are working with the resident to help resolve the issue.”
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