A visitor to Swindon who finds himself out of pocket after being caught driving in the bus lane near the Designer Outlet feels he's been harshly treated.

And he has written Swindon Borough Council's chief executive Susie Kemp to tell her so.

Peter Welland lives just outside Reading and is not a frequent visitor to Swindon, but says he and his wife had been shopping at the outlet village on July 27 and a few days later he received a penalty notice from the council with pictures of the courtesy car he was driving in the bus lane part of Penzance Drive that allows them round the centre's west car park.

He told the Adver: "I've paid the fine, mainly because it goes up if you don't. I can't deny I drove into the bus lane - but if you look at the pictures they sent me with the notice you can see it's an empty road, I'm not trying to gain any advantage - I'm not trying to get round traffic on other roads, this is a simple, honest mistake, by someone who isn't that familiar with Swindon."

Mr Welland, a 66-year-old retired businessman said he believed that a warning would have been a more appropriate response by the council: "If they'd written to me and sent the pictures but said they could see it was an honest mistake, and warned me, saying next time there's be a fine, I would think that would be a much better way of going about it."

In his letter to Ms Kemp Mr Welland said while the council has benefitted from the £30 fine he paid, the town would be losing out on his further custom.

He wrote: "I am £30 poorer and Swindon Borough Council is £30 richer. A further consequence is that my wife and I will not be returning to Swindon for any future shopping trips. That is one less car on the road in Swindon, but two less shoppers visiting your retail outlets.

"I believe the consequences of my error could have been avoided if someone in your parking department, on viewing the images, had just displayed some good judgement."

He told the Adver: "Swindon was the place we'd come to do our Christmas shopping, but we're very well situated here for lots of places here so we'll be going elsewhere."

A spokesman for Swindon Borough Council has previously said about complaints about the Penzance Drive bus gate: "It is there to help improve bus journey times to and from West Swindon, it is not there to trap motorists. Any money received through the bus gate fines is spent on highways and transport-related projects.

“There are more than a dozen signs in place on the approaches to the bus gate as well as highly visible road markings in the area which should act as a further deterrent to motorists.

“All the warning signs exceed the appropriate regulations for visibility and frequency. ”