Swindon motorists were hit in the pocket after roadworks shepherded them towards a notorious bus lane.

The Rodbourne Road underpass was completely closed for ongoing roadworks recently, meaning those driving towards Faringdon Park were left with nowhere to go but the infamous Penzance Drive bus lane once they had committed themselves at the roundabout.

Left with the choice of doing a "dangerous" u-turn on the straight stretch of road or going down the bus lane near the Designer Outlet, they felt their only option was to do the latter - even though they knew that ordinarily doing so would incur a fine. 

Swindon Borough Council maintains the signage was clear enough and has duly enforced the fines, which are £30 doubling to £60 if not paid straight away.

When challenged, the local authority said drivers should have turned around. 

Rachel Withers, 31, from Lydiard, was on her way back from her daughter's party on May 21 when she feels she was forced to use the Penzance Drive road prohibited to cars. 

"It said on the diversion that 'Rodbourne Road was closed – no access to Park Lane' but it did not say there was no access to any other roads so I could go down Rodbourne Road," she said.

Swindon Advertiser:

"I would never drive down the bus lane but if you’re being diverted down there that’s what you do. I believe that’s what we should’ve done."

"I've paid the fine, but I genuinely feel that things were confusing. I’m really frustrated that they’ve fined us. It’s infuriating, this isn’t a normal situation where people have normally driven down the bus lane."

Eloise Cross, 26, from Wichelstowe, was running errands on June 6.

She said: " I was driving past the roundabout with the shops. I didn't see a road closure sign until I got past the roundabout.

Swindon Advertiser: The image from Eloise Cross' PCN which shows many cars getting caughtThe image from Eloise Cross' PCN which shows many cars getting caught

"There were 10 scattered roadsigns across that stretch of road – one of which said there was a diversion pointed right towards the bus lane.

"It looked like they’d been moving where they were doing the work up and down the road, but by that point here's no clear turning point to turn around at that point.

"It's very annoying because it’s a very clear bus lane that’s been there for many, many years, I wouldn’t have driven down it on purpose knowing that there was a bus lane." 

A spokesperson from Swindon Borough Council shared a picture of the road block that shows a 'no right turn' sign and the following statement. 

“The road closure was clearly signposted well before the barrier at the Penzance Drive bus gate.

“A soft closure was put in place as far back as the roundabout at Kemble Drive which stated the road ahead was closed and access was only for residents and workers.

Swindon Advertiser:

“All signage was in place every day and our team did regular checks of the road to make sure nothing changed.

“At the hard closure, there was a clear sign telling motorists not to turn right and use the bus lane. If they have ignored the signage up to this point they still would have had the opportunity to turn around.”

Many outraged drivers have previously complained to the Adver about confusing signage and markings in the area - but the council refutes this view. 

A Freedom of Information request to Swindon Borough Council showed 17,000 of the 23,784 penalty charge notices it issued from April 1, 2021, up until February 2022, were for Penzance Drive alone. 

This earned the council almost £500,000 in fines.

The Designer Outlet lane is reported to have generated £2.5 million for the council over the past five years.