Fine appeal victory over Sheffield tram gate signs

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SHEFFIELd Council has denied bus and tram gate signs at Hillsborough Corner are misleading and is refusing to refund hundreds of motorists caught out - even though a fined motorist has won his appeal.

The signs have been branded ‘misleading’ by an independent adjudicator who has quashed motorist Clive Alexander’s fine.

Adjudicator David Binns said the ‘inadequate signage’ could ‘confuse even a careful motorist’ on the approach to the junction at Holme Lane, Hillsborough, because it does not warn drivers the restrictions apply 24 hours a day.

The right-turn lane from Holme Lane into Langsett Road for traffic heading in from Malin Bridge still operates 24 hours a day despite restrictions on Langsett Road and Middlewood Road being in force at peak hours only.

Cameras monitor the junction and fines of up to £60 are issued against drivers flouting the rules.

But Mr Alexander, aged 58, from Stannington successfully appealed a fine for making the banned turn, claiming the signs did not state 24-hour restrictions still applied.

The marketing consultant, said: “It was 5.30am one morning in July and my Toyota Picnic was the only car on the road.

“I thought that because the hours had been relaxed to peak times only on other parts of the bus gate, I would be alright to make the turn. There were no signs specifying the hours of operation of the bus lane on Holme Lane.

“Days later a fixed penalty notice arrived in the post.”

Mr Binns said: “The restrictions are unclear due to changes in hours and inadequate signage could confuse even a careful motorist.

“The hours are not stated on the signs for the bus lane although other small bus lanes in the area are all signed.”

Mr Alexander said: “The signage was very confusing and I’m delighted the adjudicator found in my favour.”

Sheffield Council previously offered to repay fines issued to hundreds of motorists after an adjudicator ruled signs on the Middlewood Road approach to the bus gates were inadequate after motorist Alan Bangert won an appeal against his fine.

But a council spokeswoman said it would not be repeating the gesture.

The authority’s stance was criticised by Mr Alexander’s MP Nick Clegg.

The Deputy Prime Minister said: “It is well-known locally that this is an incredibly difficult system at Hillsborough Corner which can be confusing.”

Len Hadfield, of Sheffield Institute of Advanced Motorists, added: “The signage was adequate but times have changed with the alteration in operating hours.”

But Kevan Butt, Sheffield Council’s parking services manager said: “Every enforced bus gate and bus lane in Sheffield is clearly signed, all signs comply with regulations.

“In spite of our compliance with regulations, the adjudicator has allowed the appeal. We will be considering if we can make the signs even clearer.

“Signage in Sheffield actually exceeds the standard set by the DfT.”