MP demands fines cancellation after bus gate rakes in almost £600,000 in three months

LOCAL MP Greg Clark has called for all fines from the bus gate in Tunbridge Wells to be refunded and for the cameras to be turned off after it was revealed that fines totalled £591,000 in just three months. It is estimated that the figure could rise into the millions.

According to the Borough Council, the bus gate on Mount Pleasant Road issued 25,373 fines between April 1 and July 3, with more than 200 motorists a day still contravening the restrictions.

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council (TWBC) told the Times that since enforcement began on March 20, it had taken £591,000 from fines.

However, the number of PCNs issued over that period suggests the final total could be somewhere between £888,055 and £1.77million, based on all fines being paid in the first two weeks at £35, and all fines being paid at the full £70.

Greg Clark, MP for Tunbridge Wells said: “Traffic cameras should not be used as an income generator and the people of Tunbridge Wells are not inclined to habitually break the law.”

“Over £200,000 worth of fines in a single month only goes to show how confusing the scheme and signage is.

“Even the Council now admits that its own signage could be illegal and has referred the matter to the Department for Transport for clarification.

“Therefore, I think it’s only fair the fines are refunded and that the enforcement in front of the Town Hall is turned off.”

At a Joint Transport Board meeting on July 3, councillors from TWBC and Kent County Council (KCC), along with members of the public, met to discuss the highly-contentious bus gate.

Some attendees echoed Mr Clark’s call for the scheme to be scrapped. Sally Atkinson, who started a petition on Kent County Council’s (KCC) website, asked that the bus gate be reviewed as soon as possible.

The KCC petition to scrap Public Realm 2 has now reached over a thousand signatures.

“The Ministry of Transport recommends ongoing regular communication with the households in the area, yet neither council has actually done this,” she said.

Phillipa Collard, a York Road resident, called the bus gate a ‘council cash cow’. She conducted her own information request and found an average of 350 cars a day were going through the bus gate in April.

During the meeting, there was a debate over responsibility for the bus gate. Cllr Paul Roberts (Con) claimed: “TWBC act as the agents of KCC in carrying out enforcement and KCC has given notice they will take enforcement in-house themselves from April 1, 2024.”

Mr Clark disputes this. He maintains the bus gate is TWBC’s responsibility and they have the ‘right’ to turn the cameras off.

“TWBC have the right to… refund the fines, they should do so while considering how to improve this road scheme that clearly isn’t working.”

Share this article

Recommended articles


Please enter a search term below.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter