It’s going to be a fine time if riders use Fareham town precinct

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Picture: Shaun Roster

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CYCLISTS could face on-the-spot fines for riding through a town centre if an experimental traffic order is made permanent.

The fines are part of a raft of measures introduced last February on a trial basis to make the area around West Street in Fareham more friendly to pedestrians.

Bike-riders will not be allowed through the precinct between 9am and 5pm. The amount of the fine will vary depending on the nature and severity of the offence.

Ward councillor Katrina Trott said: ‘It’s a great idea. It’s good that cyclists can’t use it during the day.

‘It’s important that we get as much activity as possible into the pedestrian area as possible, and if people think that they are to be bothered by cyclists, it could put them off.

‘But it’s also good that cyclists can use it at other, quieter, times of the day.’

According to a report due to go before Fareham Borough Council’s ruling executive, police and PCSOs have issued about 40 verbal warnings to cyclists stopped in the town centre during the banned periods.

The order will also close a loophole that had legally allowed vehicles free access to the pedestrian area without fear of fines.

Vehicles will now only be allowed into it for loading purposes between 6am and 9.30am and 4.30pm and 7pm.

But Sue Dunn, who runs the burger van based in the pedestrian area most days, said: ‘I haven’t seen anyone enforcing it in the past year – I’m here all day and I still see vehicles coming down here because they know no-one will stop them. It’s infuriating.

‘You also see lots of bikes whip past here – I’ve seen a market trader get knocked down right in front of me.’

And Miss Dunn said it is also costing her hundreds of pounds.

‘I used to be able to park my Land Rover next to my trailer during the day,’ she added.

‘Now I have to pay to put it in a car park. No-one told me they had a problem with it being there – the police said it was fine – but I know if I did leave it there I would get a ticket.’

The council report says: ‘A number of penalty charge notices have been issued to vehicles.’

But it does not specify how many tickets.

As signs are already in place, the only cost in making the order permanent would be advertising the fact.

The executive will make a decision about the order at its meeting at 6pm today.