A COUNCILLOR is calling for drivers to have their fines returned claiming Brighton’s new bus lanes are not working.

Conservative councillor Robert Nemeth was shocked when he heard that almost 10,000 people had been fined for driving through bus gates along Brighton’s Valley Gardens scheme during October.

Cars are now banned from Marlborough Place, St George’s Place, York Place and St Peter’s Place and have been since the two-year £11 million revamp of Valley Gardens was completed in September last year.

In the first month, Brighton and Hove City Council sent warnings to 4,972 drivers, alerting them to the new restrictions.

The council started issuing fines in January and is believed to have raised more than £1.8 million in penalties this year.

More than 9,600 drivers were sent £60 tickets in October – reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days – and the figure was said to be down from August.

The Argus: The new road design has been in place since last yearThe new road design has been in place since last year

When officials revealed the figures at the council’s environment, transport and sustainability committee meeting last month, Cllr Nemeth said that on average one driver was being fined every two minutes.

He plans to propose a motion at a meeting of the full council next Thursday asking for a report to look at options to redesign the “defective junctions”.

He wants a second report to look at returning fines to drivers who have been caught out by the changes.

Cllr Nemeth said: “If thousands of people are fined a year after the gates are installed, then obviously there is something that has gone very wrong.

“These people should have their fines refunded. Redesigning the junctions is essential to stop this situation from continuing.”

The Argus: Issues around the bus gates are set to be raised at the next meeting of the full councilIssues around the bus gates are set to be raised at the next meeting of the full council

Fellow Conservative councillor Carol Theobald has submitted a question to be answered at the meeting next week asking if there is any guidance for best practice when it comes to signs for bus gates.

The meeting of the full council is due to start at 4.30pm on Thursday 16 December at Hove Town Hall. The meeting is scheduled to be webcast on the council’s website.

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