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Lendal Bridge fine fears for visitors
YORK’S tourism boss has told of her growing worries about visitors being fined for unwittingly crossing Lendal Bridge when cars are banned.
Gillian Cruddas, chief executive of Visit York, suggested that signs warning of the trial closure to cars should be improved and that first- time offenders should be given a “friendly warning”, rather than a penalty charge notice.
She said: “We are very concerned about visitors arriving home from an enjoyable stay in York to find that they have been fined.”
Mrs Cruddas said visitors could not easily recognise Lendal Bridge until they were on it, claimed not everyone understood what ‘restricted access’ meant and said many sat-nav systems were directing drivers over the bridge.
Her comments came after a visitor from near Chester, Colin Calloway, contacted The Press to complain he had been fined twice for crossing the bridge while staying at a York caravan park and driving to and from Beningbrough Hall.
He said: “As this was my first ever visit to York and being a complete stranger, I used my sat nav to direct me. It really is a horrible feeling to have had such an enjoyable time only to find penalty charges arriving a week after returning home.”
He understood other visitors had been similarly caught out by City of York Council’s ban on cars between 10.30am and 5pm and said he had planned to return to York next year, but the fines had now put him off.
Council director Darren Richardson said 34 AA advisory signs had originally been installed on the Inner Ring Road and key radial routes and, following public feedback, a further 18 signs carrying more specific detail would be installed from early October to help road users.
“To further assist visiting drivers, Visit York recently sent out information to all their members to help them advise their customers of the restrictions over Lendal Bridge,” he said.
“In addition to this, the council has this week launched a new online journey planner (available at www.itravelyork.info) that will present tailored transport options for journeys in and around York.”
A spokeswoman said travel planning websites including Transport Direct and Google Maps now avoided directing drivers over the bridge, but while some sat-nav companies had changed their system to incorporate the restrictions, many would not because it was a temporary/part-time arrangement.
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