A FURIOUS driver says he would never have known he was wrongly fined for driving in a bus lane if issues had not been exposed in the Gazette. 

Kim Naish, 74, of Colchester, was one of more than 500 motorists to be hit with the fine in the Essex Highways fiasco. 

Mr Naish has lived in the city since the early 90s, and has been driving for 49 years without a fine until he followed a incorrectly marked out diversion.

The former Colchester Councillor for Mile End and Berechurch was originally fined £70 on May 17, after he was heading to the Hythe Hill to pick up some goods from a nearby convenience store for his wife.

During his journey to obtain some milk and bread, Mr Naish found out part of the Hythe Quay was closed-off for motorists as works were taking place.

Gazette: Closure - diversion signageClosure - diversion signage (Image: Public)

He followed diversion signage which took him from Hythe Quay Road, along Maudlyn Road, and then towards Hythe Hill bus gate.

Following that day he was then hit with the PCN fine.

A subsequent appeal launched by Mr Naish was rejected, one of the reasons being in the letter saying that “there are no diversion routes directing traffic into and along the Hythe Hill bus lane.”

He ended up paying £35 for the fine, as he paid within 28 days.

Gazette: Not happy - Mr Kim NaishNot happy - Mr Kim Naish (Image: Public)

Mr Naish said: “When I received the fine, I phoned up Essex Highways and spoke to a chap there, I said I followed the diversions, and he said that’s strange, we’ll put something down and I’ll be alright.

“Thinking I was the only one who had gone down the way, and there was no way I could have proved there was diversions, I paid the fine.

“It makes me very angry, not only was I made of fine, if it wasn’t for the Gazette, I would still be paying the fine."

“I’m not a wealthy person or anything, and £35 isn’t going to break me, but I’m sure there is other people who could not really afford it”.

Gazette: Location - Fine – a bus gate in Hythe Hill caught out drivers who were directed past an ANPR camera by Anglian Water signsLocation - Fine – a bus gate in Hythe Hill caught out drivers who were directed past an ANPR camera by Anglian Water signs (Image: Google Maps)

At the time emergency works were being carried out by Anglian Water to repair a burst main and they had set-up the diversion signage.

An automatic number plate recognition camera which makes hundreds of thousands of pounds for Essex County Council every year from bus gate fines then caught out drivers who followed the diversion.

A spokesman for Essex Highways said: "We can confirm Mr Naish’s refund has already been actioned which he should receive within two weeks, depending on the payment method.

“At the time Mr Naish sent his appeal, we were not yet made aware Anglian Water had incorrectly diverted road users through the bus gate, which prompted the initial response he received.

"We thank him for his patience as our teams work to ensure all 517 penalty charge notices  incorrectly issued to drivers are fully refunded.

“Anyone who has received a PCN after driving through the bus gate should contact buslaneenforcement@essexhighways.org or via the details on the back of the PCN.

"Affected road users will receive letters to confirm their PCNs have been cancelled or, where payment has been made, refunded."

"We are currently speaking to Anglian Water to understand how this error occurred and seek assurances it won't happen again.”