Christmas Fishergate bus lane ticket in Preston branded 'humbug'

Church worker Paul Blackett hoped council bosses would show a bit of Yuletide spirit when he was caught driving down Preston’s Fishergate bus lane on Christmas Day.


But Scrooge staff at County Hall refused to tear up his £60 ticket - even though there were no buses running that day.

Paul Blackett celebrates his victory over a Christmas Day bus lane ticket.

Paul Blackett celebrates his victory over a Christmas Day bus lane ticket.

Now Paul has won a landmark appeal after taking his case to an independent adjudicator.

And the decision could open the door for other drivers caught on bus lane cameras on December 25 to claim a refund.

“Christmas Day is completely different to any other day,” said Paul who is treasurer of Preston’s Central Methodist Church and was driving his family home to New Longton after morning service.

“I made a mistake by driving down Fishergate. But my gripe was that, since it is a bus lane, and there were no buses running all day, the reason for having that enforcement wasn’t really there.”

Paul appealed to LCC, but the council threw it out. So he went to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal where an inspector upheld his complaint, saying LCC had a duty to act fairly and described the council’s decision to pursue the ticket as “perverse.”

He said: “I find that it cannot sensibly be said that the contravention occurred in this case.”

Coun Keith Iddon, LCC cabinet member for highways, commented: “The Fishergate bus lane is in place every day. Clearly people have the right to appeal if they feel a Penalty Charge Notice hasn’t been correctly issued.”

Paul added: “My reaction when LCC refused to cancel the ticket was ‘bah humbug.’” He now plans to celebrate by buying a round of drinks in the church coffee shop.