64-year-old Clinton Pugh, father of actress Florence Pugh, has been threatened with a £2,500 ($3,000) fine for putting up a sign on his business opposing the surveillance-driven anti-traffic measures in the city of Oxford, England.
According to Pugh, the Low Traffic Neighborhoods (LTNs) policy is affecting businesses in the city where he owns three restaurants. In November he began opposing the measures by putting up a sign at the side of one of his restaurants Café Coco.
The sign describes the LTN policy as “an ill-thought traffic experiment.” To encourage people to walk and cycle, in an effort to reduce vehicle emissions, the city installed bollards, blocked roads, and removed parking spaces. The system is policed through a vast CCTV network complete with automatic license plate recognition.
The city is threatening a £2,500 fine claiming that the sign is illegal and that Pugh did not get consent from the city to put it up.
Pugh had until February 10 to remove the sign. However, instead of removing it, he added a new banner over the sign, with the words “1984,” “Censored” and “So much for democracy.”
Pugh’s sign reads: “Welcome to Cowley Road. Oxford’s most diverse and unique road, home to the largest group of independent businesses in the country.
“It is here that Oxfordshire County Council decided to roll out their ill thought out traffic experiment, undemocratically installing LTNs (road closures) and removing car parking in May 2022.
“Surprise Surprise: In a survey 95% of Cowley Road businesses said that footfall and turnover had dropped significantly since the LTNs were installed. They cannot survive without customers coming from other parts of the city and country.
“Next to come, the final nail in the coffin; bus gates and the complete segregation of Oxford, dividing Oxford into six zones with total reliance on the ring road to get from A to B.
“The County Council is pretending to listen, but this is shamefully a complete and utter lie.”
He insisted that he is not opposed to making Oxford a greener city, but that the measures have gone too far.
“I do see that climate change is having an effect. But they’re destroying people’s livelihoods and need to re-look at it,” he said to the Daily Mail.
The Oxford City Council said: “Following a complaint from a member of the public, Oxford City Council wrote to Mr Pugh, of Café Coco, on 13 January this year about the unauthorized advertisement that is displayed on the building.
“Such an advertisement requires planning consent from the local authority. No consent has been sought for any advertisements on the side of this building.
“Nor does the advertisement qualify for deemed consent, a condition that applies to certain types of advertisement that do not require consent from the council.
“The city council has advised the owner that he was in breach of planning controls.”
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