Motorists penalised in Highbury traffic management blunder will not get automatic refund

The controversial Drayton Park width restriction

The controversial Drayton Park width restriction - Credit: Archant

Council bosses have refused to automatically pay back up to £1.4million in invalid traffic fines.

Islington Council says it cannot automatically refund the money as it is not allowed to store drivers’ details – and says the wronged motorists must themselves ask for their money back.

But parking campaigners have dismissed this as nonsense – insisting the council should be actively seeking out the drivers it wrongly fined.

The invalid fines were all issued at a controversial new width restriction in Drayton Park, Highbury.

Between November 14 – when enforcement started in force – and April 17, when the invalidity of the fines was about to be exposed in the Gazette, the council issued 10,974 tickets to drivers who went down the wrong part of the road.

At £130 a ticket, or £65 if paid within 14 days, this represents a haul of up to £1,426,620.

But they were all invalid because the signs on the road did not match the corresponding traffic management order.

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Islington Council had changed the layout of the width restriction in September, in an attempt to stop the accidents that had taken place there, but had not changed the traffic management order.

Parking campaigner Albert Herbert, who successfully challenged one of the tickets – one issued to 59-year-old Jeanette Michaels - at the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service, said: “If they don’t pay the money back, it amounts to theft. They should just pay everybody back. The ball is in their court.”

Marie Moran, 26, a hospital administrator of Hilldrop Crescent, Holloway, who received two tickets, added: “They are quick enough to hound you down when you have supposedly committed an offence. If they have admitted that they got it wrong, they should use their resources to put it right.”

But an Islington Council spokesman said: “We are not able to seek out and automatically refund tickets, as the council is not allowed to retain details of a payee once a ticket has been paid. Local authorities are not allowed to ask the DVLA for data of those who have paid their tickets, as data can only be accessed via the DVLA for those who have an unpaid ticket.

“If drivers believe they have been issued with an incorrect ticket, they should get in touch. We will refund any incorrect tickets.”