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Disabled nan handed £3k in fines says she didn’t know of new council ban on cars

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A disabled gran says she racked up nearly £3,000 in traffic fines as she was unaware of a new council ban on cars.

Maria Forsmark, 57, drove 22 times through a new low-traffic zone near her Hither Green home in south east London.

She has used the route to drive her daughter to and from school for years and said she didn't know cars were allowed through the "bus gate".

Lewisham Council has refused to cancel all but one of her fines despite last month deciding only HGVs would be barred access.

Mrs Forsmark said she was unaware a camera had started recording her number plate to trigger fines, the Telegraph reports.

Just over a week later four penalty charge notice fines each day began landing on her doormat leaving her feeling "overwhelmed with panic".

She said: "I have been driving that route for many years.

"Had I been warned it would suddenly be closed and could lead to so many fines I would never have driven through it.

"When I got my first fine I was shocked. I tried to pay it straight away. Then I began getting three or four fines a day. I was stressed and felt over whelmed with panic.

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"Where was I going to get the money? I just felt like I couldn't cope. Every day more fines arrived. I was getting scared to go out due to Covid and now scared to be home because of the fines turning up."

Mrs Forsmark is registered disabled and walks with a stick after a major knee injury in a fall in 2011.

After lockdown was lifted and schools reopened, the grandmother had driven 22 times from her Hither Green home in south-east London through the new low-traffic neighbourhood in Lee Green.

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She racked up £2,860 in fines at the full rate, or £1,430 at the reduced payment.

Her family has been contacted with other people who had received numerous fines.

They include a healthcare worker who got penalised travelling to and from work at a nearby hospital where she had been battling Covid-19.

Earlier this month the local authority adjusted its camera on Manor Lane so it only fined HGVs.

But a Lewisham council spokesman said the road markings had clearly stated "bus gate" and made clear the route was only open to buses, cyclists and emergency vehicles.

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