Mum appeals bizarre road fine after being told unilluminated sign 'is illuminated'
PUBLISHED: 16:38 19 July 2018 | UPDATED: 16:29 14 August 2018
A driver who got fined for turning right where a "no right turn" light was switched off has been told by the council it was, in fact, illuminated - because it wasn't night.
The mother of two, from Kensal Green, has accused Brent town hall of being “disingenuous” over the bizarre claim.
Alison Durant was driving down Mortimer Road on the afternoon of June 14 when she turned right into Chamberlayne Road.
At the time, she had looked at the traffic light to see whether the restrictions were in place. She saw the light was turned off, compared with a “no left turn” sign next to it that was clearly turned on. Restrictions on the road are normally in place between 7am to 7pm, Monday to Friday.
“I was very aware of the situation, so I knew I had to look very carefully about where I could turn to,” she said.
The 48-year-old told the Kilburn Times she thought she was “going mad” when she got the £130 fine days later.
She went back to check the street, and was astonished to see the sign was as she remembered it: while the no left turn sign was lit, its corresponding right hand turn wasn’t.
Alison took it up with the council, which ended with a bizarre dispute with the borough’s head of parking, Gavin Moore, who insisted the sign was lit.
Mr Moore even sent Alison a photo “proving” the sign was illuminated – by contrasting it with a picture taken at night.
Alison, who works as an osteopath, said: “What I expected was: ‘You’re right, we need to get some engineers to take a look at it.’
“Instead they’re denying it’s a problem.”
Brent’s parking contract is currently outsourced to Serco.
The deal was extended at a cabinet meeting in December last year to run for another five years.
In the contract, the town hall admitted it was working with Serco to up its income target by £550,000 within six years 2023.
Other people in the area have also been stung by the sign, and some claim they have successfully appealed fines.
But Alison, who lives in Holland Road with her husband and two children, is saying she will take it to a tribunal, and risk paying £190 if she loses.
“It’s the principle now,” she said. “I just want them to admit they are wrong and accept that the sign isn’t clear. They should change it and repay people who have been fined.”
A Brent Council spokeswoman said: “Ms Durant was issued a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) for making a banned right turn from Mortimer Road into Chamberlayne Road. This restriction has been in place since 1970. The ‘no right turn’ sign is lit from Monday to Friday between 7am and 7pm when the restriction is in place. It is not illuminated at other times. “The signage at this location is compliant with statutory requirements and working correctly. An advanced warning sign is also in place.
“A recent independent tribunal rejected a PCN appeal at this location, saying “I find the sign plates on the traffic lights at this location to be compliant with the regulations and that they are clear and adequate. The appeal is refused.”
“If Ms Durant is of the view that the PCN has been issued incorrectly she does have the statutory right to appeal.
“Motorists are urged not to make a right turn at this location during the hours of restriction.”