Colourful cabbie defeats Croydon Council over 'impossible turn'
A colourful cabbie who went to war with the council over hundreds of pounds of fines for performing an "impossible" turn is celebrating victory.
Denise Borg, famed for her dazzling pink taxi, had faced paying £650 after being stung by five penalty charges for taking a shortcut to East Croydon's taxi rank.
Cabbies were caught out by CCTV cameras because the council did not advertise the change.
But Ms Borg, of Gravel Hill, Addington, appealed the £65 fines - which escalate to £130 if not paid within a month - and last week had all five overturned by an independent adjudicator.
She said: "We won on the grounds that they never advertised that they changed the rules.
"You can't let someone think they are doing OK for 14 years and then suddenly change it without changing any signage or notification.
"It was very satisfying."
The council decided to enforce the rule, which prohibits turning right onto Cherry Orchard Road, after a member of the public complained.
But the approximately 300 cabbies who use the Billinton Hill taxi rank claim they are performing a u-turn rather than turning right and point out no accidents have ever been caused by the manoeuvre.
Ms Borg said: "There is a traffic island straight ahead of you so there is no way you can turn right. You have to turn left, which we do. Then we do a u-turn because our turning circle allows it.
"There has never been an accident there in a taxi. It is hard enough to drive in Croydon as it is. If you don't know the area you are not going to drive through Croydon without getting a ticket."
Croydon Council said the rule had been in place for 14 years but had not been enforced until October and that only six out of 17 appeals lodged had been successful.
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A spokesman said: "The signs and road markings at the location in question have been in place for the past 14 years, and clearly advise drivers to turn left.
“A small number of drivers have exercised their right to appeal to the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service after being issued a penalty charge notice for failing to comply with the directions.
"Of 17 appeals lodged, 10 have been refused and one is awaiting decision.
"While the council accepts that a small number have succeeded, it should be noted that the adjudicator stated that the road markings and signage are fully compliant and the decisions are determined on a case-by-case basis.
"The adjudicator further stated that the decision does not prevent the council from continuing to enforce this mandatory direction. In this instance, however, the appeal was allowed.
"The decision refers only to the appeals of the individuals in question and does not set a precedent regarding any other appeal nor, indeed, other penalty charge notices issued under similar circumstances."
Communities secretary Eric Pickles has suggested banning traffic cameras, of the type used to catch out the taxi drivers, which raked in £301m in fines for local authorities over the past five years.
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