Saturday 2 March 2024
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Nottingham

Nottingham: £1.6m of fines for motorists at Canal Street bus gate

A motorist has won an appeal on a fine for driving through a ‘bus gate’ in Nottingham which has now led to tens of thousands of motorists being fined a total of £1.6 million.

Canal Street bus gate

Part of Canal Street was designated car-free and enforced by cameras as part of the redevelopment of the area around the former Broadmarsh Centre.

The aim was to reduce traffic in the southern gateway to the city, while allowing buses to travel through.

It means motorists cannot travel the full length of Canal Street via both Middle Hill, after the entrance to the new car park, and Albion Street at the junction with Greyfriar Gate.

39,000 PCNs

In the 12 months of 2022 more than 39,000 penalty charge notices (PCNs) were been handed out to drivers caught by the restrictions, worth a total of more than £1m.

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Nottingham City Council said that, in the period since September 2020 when the bus gate was introduced, a total of 53,489 fines have been issued to drivers entering Canal Street via Albion Street.

Fines totalling over £1.6 m

This means £1,631,310.24-worth of fines have been handed out.

Successful appeal

Julian Maurice, an interior designer from Halifax, says he was fined during a visit to see his son, who is studying at one of the city’s universities, on May 26 this year.

Fines are £70, or £35 if paid early.

His son, who does not drive, had recommended parking at the Maid Marian Way car park.

Mr Maurice then travelled from London Road and along Canal Street, where he “innocently” passed through the bus gate, saying he did not know it was there in advance and did not see the signs.

Julian Maurice from
Julian Maurice (pictured) was fined for travelling through the Canal Street bus gate, but won on appeal at a Traffic Penalty Tribunal

He successfully appealed the fine through a Traffic Penalty Tribunal which was held virtually on July 5.

A number of other motorists have successfully appealed fines under similar circumstances, including Bill Ball from Lincolnshire and Mark Golds-Jones, from Lowdham.

“You have got road works and signposts and cameras everywhere,” Mr Maurice said.

“You’ve got to keep your eyes on the signposts more than you have them on the road. It is dangerous.

The Canal Street bus gate as seen from Greyfriar Gate scaled

“It is wasting everyone’s time. It is not just this council that is doing it. The taxpayer is having to pay for this adjudication council to appeal fines.

“If so many people are getting caught then there has to be a problem with the signage.

“Councils are responsible for safety and this is making things unsafe.

“I’ve lived in Spain, Italy, Ireland, London and Leeds, and I’ve never been in a place that is so confusing.

“I’m not driving in Nottingham again. It is as dangerous as taking your eyes off the road to look at your phone.”

According to Mr Maurice, the adjudicator agreed the signs on the approach to the Middle Hill junction were poorly positioned, and that too much information is shown for a motorist to take it all in safely.

The signs were also said to be too close to the bus gate for a driver to safely take an alternative route.

What does the council say?

Meanwhile the city council says the number of fines is coming down.

Up to January this year, the average number of fines issued over a period of 28 months was around 1,740 a month.

This is now down to 766 a month.

A city council spokesman said: “The signs we use are DfT-approved and since the new road layout was introduced we have provided larger entry signage and the speed limit has been reduced to 20mph.

“We know that the overwhelming majority of motorists are following these signs and road layout without entering the bus gate and incurring fines – it’s important to note also that the number of PCNs being issued is falling here in recent months.

“Appeals are dealt with on their individual merit so under the rules of the national tribunal, the outcome of this appeal will not alter those cases where people have accepted a fine on Canal Street.”

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