EPPING FOREST: 'Spy cars' to crack down on illegal parking outside schools (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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North Essex Parking Partnership to trial cars mounted with cameras to stop illegal parking outside schools
PLANS to introduce a hi-tech spy car to crack down on illegal parking outside schools have been met with mixed reaction.
The North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP) has agreed to trial one of the camera-mounted cars, which will monitor double yellow and zig-zag lines at problem schools across the region for a year.
Pictures will be beamed back to the partnership's headquarters in Colchester and fines issued to offending motorists.
The partnership believes the car, which will hit roads next year, will deter illegal parkers.
Derwent Jaconelli, 49, of Manor Road, Chigwell, regularly drops his daughter Mia, nine, at Chigwell Primary School.
He also owns a courier business and has previously been fined for stopping on yellow lines to drop off deliveries in London.
"My view is quite simple. I think traffic wardens and police are there to control traffic and give you the opportunity to move along," he said.
"I think the spy cameras and the spy cars are a money-making enterprise. Highway robbery is what it is.
"From a primary school parent point of view, some parents have more than one child so they are going around maybe two or three schools."
Debra Coates-Reynolds, of Ongar Mums, walks to Chipping Ongar Primary School with her five-year-old daughter.
"Particularly in Ongar, it's probably a problem in every school," said the 42-year-old.
"From a safety point of view I think it's not a bad idea. On the other hand it could well be an easy platform for making money.
"I think it will probably be a deterrent but it will get people's goat up."
Sophia Pardalis, headteacher of Limes Farm Junior School, Chigwell, welcomed the plan.
She said: "We have a caretaker at the school who stops people coming along and parking on the zig-zag lines but unless that's happening cars do sneak in.
"I welcome having more support in passing on the message that we need to remember safety at all costs."
Partnership chairman Susan Barker said: "We are trying to keep the area safe and free of cars so everybody can get where they are going.
"We are not operating the system yet, so to gauge what it might make or what it might cost us is not yet possible."
She added a percentage from each ticket would go to the external company operating and supplying the car.
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