A TOP businessman said Oxford’s bus gate in High Street should be reviewed after it emerged council bosses have raked in fines totalling more than £6m over 10 years.

The bus gate uses camera enforcement to restrict normal traffic from using the High Street between 7.30am and 6.30pm.

After the £6.2m fines total emerged following a Freedom of Information request by the Oxford Mail, Jeremy Mogford, owner of The Old Bank Hotel in High Street, called for the restriction to be reviewed.

He said: “If the restriction was lifted between 10am and 4pm it could give a boost to the city centre economy.

“Some of the fines are paid by our guests and we always urge them to appeal but the council can be quite intransigent.

“I think our guests have paid a fair chunk of the fines.”

Graham Jones, chairman of ROX - Backing Oxford Businesses, which includes High Street traders, said the fines total was staggering’.

He said: “I do think the bus gate should be better signposted in High Street because some drivers are clearly missing the signs or ignoring them.

“It’s quite likely some delivery drivers will go through the bus gate and pay the fine instead of spending half an hour going all the way round.

“There needs to be a review of transport in the city centre, including the High Street bus gate six months after the Westgate Centre reopens in October so we can look at the effect that has on traffic flows.”

Yvonne Constance, the county council’s cabinet member for transport, said the High Street bus gate would be a vital way of controlling congestion generated by the new Westgate shopping centre

Mrs Constance said she had received a fine herself after driving through it.

She added: “There is a need to control traffic in the city centre - the reopening of the Westgate Centre in October will have a significant impact.

“I have not heard any suggestion that the High Street bus gate will not stay - the test must be its effectiveness in controlling congestion in the city centre.

“I have been caught myself - I went over Magdalen Bridge and up the High Street during the day and the fine came very quick - that worked for me as a deterrent and if the High Street is effective congestion management then it stays.”

Last year Liberal Democrat county councillor John Howson said plans for a new bus gate in Worcester Street, highlighted in the council’s local transport strategy, should be abandoned.

He said money from fines was invested in transport schemes. Mr Howson said: “The bus gate should stay but I don’t think there should be another one.”