Driver fined over Mare Street left turn ban disputes claims signs met Department for Transport guidelines

Traffic sign at the junction of Mare Street and Richmond Road, that prohibits vehicles turning left

Traffic sign at the junction of Mare Street and Richmond Road, that prohibits vehicles turning left during certain hours. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

One of the thousands of drivers fined for making a newly banned left turn off Mare Street is challenging the council’s claim the signange met government guidelines.

Celebrity chauffeur Simon Chellum was fined in July, more than one month after the banned turn into Richmond Road was introduced as part of a “school streets” project.

In his appeal, he disputed the council’s claim that the signage met Department for Transport (DfT) guidelines, which was originally given as the reason why none of the 13,819 fines would be cancelled. And he should know – his wife works for the DfT’s legal team.

Simon said the sign at the junction was covered by tree branches, blocking it from the view of approaching drivers, which breaches the guidelines.

He also says the other sign was on a lamppost with five others, which exceeds the recommended limit of two, and that it is not at the correct angle to the road.

Simon, 52, who says he supports the council’s road safety scheme in principle, told the Gazette: “Most people haven’t got a wife who works for the Department for Transport and will have just paid the fines to get it out the way and stop it doubling.

“I’ve got the manuals but the council is fully aware most people don’t.

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“It’s just for revenue. It’s supposed to be for safety but even the RAC said if that many cars are generating that much revenue there’s something wrong in how it’s set up.”

Simon has not had a response to his appeal yet, but believes anyone who received a fine before the position of the junction sign was changed in July should be refunded.

Another driver, a solicitor, is taking the case to the Independent Traffic Adjudicator at the London Tribunals, using Gazette articles in his evidence.

A town hall spokesperson said: “The notices already meet all Department for Transport requirements, and we have now added additional signage to ensure all drivers comply.

“While it is the responsibility of drivers to read this signage and adhere to the road closures, we will of course listen to representations.”