Floral faux pas in Belmont could cost Sutton Council a blooming fortune
Flower power helped motorists avoid parking tickets last week after hanging baskets obscured enforcement signs.
Cars in Belmont Village escaped without fines on Station Road as Sutton Council flower displays meant they were not able to be prosecuted, because motorists could not read the warnings properly.
The council has said it was an "honest mistake" and have since removed the baskets. Peter Geiringer, Conservative councillor for Belmont has called it a "farce".
He said: "I read this week that Sutton was the only London borough to lose money on parking to the tune of £100,000.
"Is it any wonder when things happen like this, where our own parking wardens are unable to ticket anyone in Belmont Village because another department of the council has covered the times of parking on the lamp posts with hanging flower baskets?
"How much in fines has been lost on account of this? What a farce, one can hardly believe it."
Coun Geiringer was told about the floral faux pas by a flower shop owner in the village who had complained about a van being parked outside her business for days without getting a ticket.
He said his constituent had rang up the council to complain but was told parking officers could not ticket the vehicle because of the flower baskets.
The 10 hanging baskets, which were put in place along Station Road last month last month, cost the taxpayer £550 last year.
Councillor Jill Whitehead, chairwoman of the council's environment and neighbourhood committee said: "Putting the hanging baskets over parking signs in Belmont Village was an honest mistake and once we were made aware of the issue we instructed our contractors to remove them.
"The look and appearance of the borough is one of our proudest assets so it's unfortunate that these baskets were positioned where they were. Now the baskets have been moved, parking will be enforced in the area as normal."
According to figures published this week by London Councils, Sutton Council's parking service loses £100,000 a year.
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