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Preston restaurant owner hit with £8,000 Fishergate bus lane bill

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A restaurant owner has been served a tasty bill for driving down a bus lane . . . more than 130 times.

Chris Maughan almost choked on his lunch when a demand for £8,000 was dished up by highways staff at County Hall.

His Theatre Street Bar and Grill in Preston is only accessible via the no-go stretch of Fishergate. And even though he has complied with all the paperwork to get an exemption for his van, the tickets just keep on coming.

“I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been done by the cameras,” said Chris (inset), who also runs the Amano eatery in the former Tiggi’s building in Guildhall Street.

“They know I’m constantly travelling between here and our other restaurant - and that inevitably involves using the bus lane - yet they have still billed me for around £8,000. To add insult to injury I’ve now got a demand from a debt collection agency.”

Lancashire County Council, who have nabbed thousands of motorists for using the stretch of Fishergate between 11am and 6pm, say they have a list of vehicles exempt from the fines.They include emergency services, bin lorries and others for whom a special case can be argued.

Theatre Street Bar & Grill on Theatre Street in Preston.

Theatre Street Bar & Grill on Theatre Street in Preston.

Chris says he filled in the forms and has sent all the relevent documents to County Hall to qualify for special dispensation because his business is completely cut off by the bus lane. But he added: “I’ve not had a single email back from them - only tickets.

“I have no alternative but to use the bus lane because it’s at the top of the street. What else are we expected to do?

“We were here before the bus lane and I’ve lost thousands because customers can’t get here during the day. So there’s no way I’m paying them a penny. It’s appalling.”