A TRAFFIC sign prohibiting motorists from driving into a pedestrianised high street area is misleading, a tribunal has ruled

Pensioner Bill Thompson, of Westbury Road, Walthamstow, won an appeal against a £60 fine for driving into the section of Walthamstow High Street which begins at the junction with Cleveland Park Avenue.

The 70-year-old, who has been living in the area for more than 20 years, initially did not realise there were any restrictions at all, thinking the sign detailed parking restrictions, and was fined earlier last year.

He found the sign difficult to read but was advised by a friend that he could drive into the pedestrianised zone after 7pm at night, as among the sign's many instructions is a notice saying “No vehicles Mon-Sat 4pm to 7pm”.

He drove into the High Street at 8pm on Saturday, September 26, but was later shocked to find the council had penalised him after his vehicle was captured on camera.

He said: “The sign is not very clear, you have to stop to study it, even the adjudicator had to read it three times.

“I think the council just wants to make money, I live on the Government pension of £120 a week so it is a big hit.”

The 70-year-old, a former railway worker, took the authority to the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service (PTAS).

The PTAS adjudicator said: “I am not satisfied that this sign is a scheduled traffic sign of a type to which Section 36 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 applies and as a result the contravention is wrongly expressed.

“In addition, I am concerned about the wording of the sign which I find as a fact to be unclear.”

The ruling means the council cannot fine Mr Thompson and will give hope to other people appealing against fines for driving in the High Street.

Last March the council was forced to change signs which told people not to park without a ticket in Coppermill Lane, Walthamstow, after PTAS ruled they were not valid.

And in 2008 a box junction in Leytonstone High Road was found to overlap a cycle lane, forcing the council to refund motorists fined for stopping in the box.

The Guardian is awaiting a council comment.

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