MP joins row over South Tyneside road junction fines

A retired Army captain is up in arms at becoming the latest motorist fined for infringing a no-go zone on a new South Tyneside road system.

Ralph Jackson, 70, was caught on camera driving his Volvo through a short stretch of bus lane at the recently remodelled exit of Edinburgh Road, on the Scotch Estate, Jarrow.

Ralph Jackson at the Bus Lane close to the junction of Edinburgh Road and Newcastle Road. Picture by FRANK REID

Ralph Jackson at the Bus Lane close to the junction of Edinburgh Road and Newcastle Road. Picture by FRANK REID

He insists he did not see any warning signs.

Over 4,500 tickets have been issued since the new layout became operational last July – netting South Tyneside Council £270,000 in fines.

Last month the first appeal against a fine was upheld by an adjudicator, who found the signs to be too small.

Mr Jackson, of Highfield Road, South Shields, has now contacted South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck to urge her to push for improved road warning signs.

The bus lane close to the junction of Edinburgh Road and Newcastle Road. Picture by FRANK REID

The bus lane close to the junction of Edinburgh Road and Newcastle Road. Picture by FRANK REID

Her office has confirmed it has written to South Tyneside Council regarding issues raised by Mr Jackson and other constituents.

He said: “A number of years ago, I would go through the estate to avoid traffic on other routes. This time my wife noticed the camera as we were leaving the estate so we drove back around and only then noticed the signs.

“I just didn’t see any warning signs when I was approaching this area, and those that are there are so small as to not be noticeable.”

Mr Jackson added: “With so many motorists being fined, there is clearly a problem with this layout. You would think that it would make sense for the council just to make the signs bigger and more easily seen.

“I’ve appealed this ticket but I would like changes made to the road markings so that other motorists are not caught out as I was.”

CCTV monitors a 20m stretch of bus lane and anyone who drives into it faces a £60 fine, reduced to £30 if paid promptly.

A spokesman for Mrs Lewell-Buck said: “Emma has written to the council regarding issues raised by a number of her constituents. We are awaiting a response.”

South Tyneside Council insists its road signage is in line with Department for Transport regulations.

It has claimed the appeal was successful because the adjudicator made an error with speed limits at Edinburgh Road.

A spokesman said: “The Edinburgh Road exit has been closed to vehicles except buses to enhance safety.

“There is a history of accidents at this location and motorists are jeopardising their safety by not observing the restrictions. The restriction also ensures a smoother flow of traffic on the A194.

“The bus lane is clearly signed and complies with the requisite Department for Transport regulations.

“Ideally, we would not have to issue any fines, however exiting via Edinburgh Road is both illegal and unsafe and we would encourage motorists to observe the restrictions to avoid receiving a penalty.”