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Drivers caught on camera fined £33k
MORE than £33,000 has been raked in by new average speed cameras on Southend’s seafront in just three months.
An Echo Freedom of Information request revealed 551 motorists have been stung by the cameras in Marine Parade since they were switched on in February.
However, the number of fines issued each month has dropped rapidly since March and Southend Council chiefs said that showed drivers were learning their lessons.
Tony Cox, Tory councillor for transport, said: “The cameras were brought in to enforce the new 20mph speed limit, not for any other purpose.
“This clearly shows they are doing that job and doing it well.
“I was always confident the level of fines would drop with time.”
The speed limit in Marine Parade was reduced from 30mph last year as a result of the £7.6million City Beach revamp.
The Government-funded works narrowed the road from two carriageways to a single strip and introduced the controversial concept of shared space involving motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
Council chiefs chose to drop the speed limit to try to reduce the danger posed to pedestrians, but police insisted the move was not enforceable without speed cameras.
Three cameras, funded by Olympus KeyMed, were installed at the western and eastern ends of Marine Parade, and in Hartington Road, to catch speeding motorists.
The statistics obtained by the Echo show 245 drivers were fined in March, the first full month of operations.
That figure fell to 217 in April and just 89 in May.
Ryan Jones, 25, who drives along Marine Parade as part of his commute from his home in St Andrew’s Road, Shoebury, said: “I’ve never been caught by the cameras, but I don’t see why they’re needed either.
“It’s impossible to go very fast down that road because it’s narrow and there are people either side.” Paula McMahon, 32, from Westcliff, said she believed the cameras made the road unsafe.
She added: “All the Shared Space work was aimed at making the seafront safer and promoting harmony between pedestrians and motorists.
“But all I do is keep an eye on how fast I’m driving. My attention is diverted.
“It’s also more dangerous, to be honest. You can be travelling at 20mph, but some motorists don’t want to. You can often see the anger on their faces.”