A CAMPAIGNER has offered to dip into his own pocket to ensure all those wrongly fined after driving through city bus gates will get their money back.
Richard Heneghan has offered to pay for the council to notify all motorists who paid their fines for driving through Park Road, Greyfriars Green and Gosford Streetbus gates between December 2015 and April 2016 by means other than bank transfer or credit/debit card payment.
Mr Heneghan’s email to the Observer, announcing his offer to pay for the council to write individually to affected residents, read: “I hereby request that Coventry Observer publicise the fact that I am personally willing to bear the costs of Coventry City Council making contact with anyone who did not pay by card / bank transfer/ any other means which could be automatically refunded.
“The conditions of the above are as follows:
“a) Coventry City Council contractually agree that upon receipt of the funds (after invoicing), they automatically refund everyone whom paid by methods which can be automatically refunded (Credit / Debit card, bank transfer etc.).
“b) Coventry City Council disclose the TRUE figure of the members of the public who cannot be automatically refunded.
“c) Coventry City Council disclose the contracted unit rate at which they are invoiced for 2nd mail, pre-paid / franked mail.
“This would be an adequate method to make contact with the remaining members of the public.
“I believe the Council outsource the process but if not, I am happy to be corrected.”
His gesture comes after months of the Labour-run council refusing to write individually to resident to notifying them of their right to a refund of their £30 fine (or £60 if they did not pay it within 14 days).
Coun Jayne Innes, cabinet member for city services, told a recent full council meeting she ‘cannot justify’ using council money to write to people who drove through city bus gates while the signs had been de-authorised.
Conservative councillor Gary Crookes then suggested the council should be proactive and reduce council costs by refunding people who paid electronically and then write to those who paid by different methods.
But Coun Innes refused, arguing this would see the council ‘treating citizens differently’ and said affected motorists did not need to be notified as many knew about the issue as it has been ‘widely reported’ in the local press and on social media.
To date, only £18,000 of the £398,460 has been returned to motorists who drove through the bus gates when the signs at Park Road, Greyfriars Green and Gosford Street had been de-authorised by, what the council claims, was a ‘typo’ in a letter the Department for Transport.
Mr Heneghan said: “Coventry City Council has advised that the sole reason it refuses to automatically refund motorists is that it would be seen as showing a prejudicial distinction between those paying by card / bank transfer and those paying by cash/cheque etc.
“Whilst I find the Council’s position illogical at best, I am willing to consider personally bearing the costs of the council writing to those whom did not pay by methods which can be automatically refunded.
“However, this is offered on the condition that the Council agree to automatically refund the motorists whom paid by card / bank transfer.”