Mare Street left turn ban results in 13,819 fines for drivers in two months

A car turning left into Richmond Road from Mare Street. Picture: Polly Hancock

A car turning left into Richmond Road from Mare Street. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

A left-turn ban from Mare Street into Richmond Road has resulted in 13,819 tickets being dished out in just two months, the Gazette can reveal.

The sign in its original positioning.

The sign in its original positioning.

Last week this newspaper reported that from June 6, when the ban was introduced, until the end of that month, 6,596 fines were given to 4,589 drivers.

Vehicles can no longer turn left into the road between 7am and 10am, and 3pm and 7pm, from Monday to Saturday – due to the introduction of a “school street” outside London Fields Primary School in Westgate Street.

Drivers have complained they were given no notice of the changes and that there was a lack of signage, and complaints about the position of one of the two original signs led to it being lowered at the start of July.

And they are still not getting the message. As of August 10, almost 14,000 tickets have been given out, costing £65 each. That means Hackney Council has taken £898,235 – almost £100,000 a week.

A spokesperson told the Gazette earlier this month the fines would not be cancelled as the signage met the Department for Transport requirements.

Derek Rochester, who runs maintenance at Space in Mare Street, received six fines before he realised. He said: “I’ve been doing this route for 10 years and you have to come into the inside lane. You’ve got to keep an eye on the bus lane and watch our for cyclists and taxis. It’s easy to miss them.”

A 74-year-old Islington Council worker who has driven the same route for 30 years was slapped with 21 tickets – that’s a bill of £1,365. He is said to be “extremely stressed” and Islington is now appealing on his behalf.

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Ahmed Khellaf has got a comparatively modest nine tickets – £585 worth – and had appeals rejected.

He said: “I went to the council and there were over 30 people there to complain about the same thing.

“They took 26 days to send the first PCN out so in that time I had offended many more times, some even twice a day.”

The scheme is being run as a nine-month trial as part of the council’s ongoing efforts to improve air quality around schools and make roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

But teachers at the Urswick School in Paragon Road have, between them, received 14 fines and also say the traffic measures have resulted in more drivers passing their school, polluting their children.

Westgate Street is now a pedestrian-, bus- and cycle-only zone for 45 minutes, twice a day, at school opening and closing times. It is not active at weekends or during school holidays.

A “bus gate” has been installed at the junction of Landsdowne Drive and Trederwen Road to stop anything that isn’t a bus going around the school to the south, and to stop rat running.

Traffic jams caused by the bus gate were the reason for the left-turn ban into Richmond Road, the council has said, which is why the two measures operate during the same hours.