Council to refund 1,635 drivers more than £100,000 over road sign

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A council is being forced to repay thousands of drivers after they were wrongly fined for failing to adhere to a bizarre road sign. Lambeth Council will have to pay back more than £106,000 in fines after drivers were banned from driving outside a primary school in Balham, southwest London, but motorists said the sign was unclear.

The sign banned drivers from driving outside Henry Cavendish School from 8.15am until 9.15am and between 2.45pm to 3.45pm.

But hundreds complained that the sign was not clear or obvious to read when turning left by the school, launching appeals against the council.

Motorists said it did not make it clear that cars were blocked from using only parts of the road in the listed hours.

As a result, around 1,635 drivers were hit with penalties totalling around £106,275.

Now after hundreds of complaints, the council has caved and agreed to refund the fines issued from May until December 9, when the sign was changed.

In total, if all fines were paid to the full £65, the total amount will be around £212, 550.

Leader of the Lambeth Lib Dem group Councill Donna Harris slammed the council for taking so long to replace the sign, branding it a “shambles”.

Councillor Harris said: “You have to ask: Why didn’t the council put the right signage up in the first place and why did it take them months to admit their mistake?

“I’m pleased the council has agreed to repay the fines but those who were hit with fines will be disappointed there was no contrition or apology.”

Councillor Harris asked the council’s cabinet member for sustainable Lambeth and clean air, Cllr Rezina Chowdhury, which she ignored.

Councillor Chowdhury said in response: “Yes, as residents raised this issue with us, we have improved the signage.

“I can confirm that we will cancel all PCNs issued up until December 9 and refund any PCNs that have been paid.”

A spokesman for Lambeth Council said: “We acknowledged that the signage in place at this location, although compliant, needed better positioning.

“We have therefore taken the decision to refund any penalty charge notices issued and will cancel any that are outstanding.”

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