DRIVERS hit by Lendal Bridge fines will have four months starting from Monday to claim their money back, it has been announced.

The city council has released details of the refunds application process, which will mean people have to use the council's website to ask for their fine to be paid back.

The council announced its plans to refund money to any who applied for the cash in early August, but has taken until now to set up an application mechanism.

Both Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors called in the decision after it was made by cabinet last month - which prompted Labour cabinet members to criticise them for delaying the process - but a council scrutiny committee then rubber-stamped the bid.

Drivers will need to log on to to get their money back, and refunds will be sent out by cheque the month after the application is made.

Applications will close on New Year's Eve this year, and the council has also announced it will publish the costs of refunding people after that date.

Cabinet Member for Transport Cllr David Levene said: "I'm pleased the system to apply for a repayment of Lendal Bridge fines will be in place from next week. It is disappointing that the opposition chose to delay this, but the time has come for everyone to draw a line under the issue, move on, and engage with the independently-led Congestion Commission to decide how we deal with York's transport challenges moving forward."

But both the Conservative and Liberal Democrat opposition councillors have criticised the move to only refund those who apply, and questioned use of a web-only application process.

Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Keith Aspden said: “Labour should be writing to all drivers caught out by the botched Lendal Bridge closure and offering them a refund. Instead, it is only repaying those that contact the council. This is unfair particularly as many will live outside York and will not know about their right to a refund.

“Furthermore, Labour has set-up a process which does not appear to accept written, email or telephone applications. Anyone who can’t access the website will not get their money back. The only conclusion I can draw is that Labour is trying to hang on to as much of the fine money as possible.”

The Conservatives’ Chris Steward added: "It remains disappointing that Labour are only repaying some fines, despite our calls for all to be repaid. It is a further fairness dodge that the process is online only, which is simply not fair for people not online – whose money Labour has been more than happy to take, now it should be willing to give it back".

The council have confirmed they will help anyone who calls in to West Offices or telephones to make their refund application, but would encourage people to use the online application form.