AN opposition councillor has described a decision to take up several controversial box junctions in the borough as a “humiliating defeat” for the council.

Yesterday it was announced the six junctions in Southall, Hanwell and central Ealing will no longer be enforced by the council, and removed following advice from the Department for Transport they are too large for the T-junctions they sit on.

However, Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, the Labour transport spokesman, said the Tories had missed an opportunity to deal with this problem earlier this year.

He said: “It’s a fantastic victory for local residents. It’s a humiliating defeat for them, having given up the opportunity to do the right thing they have now been told they have to change these junctions immediately.

“I have called on the council before to admit they were wrong on the Greenford box junction (junction Ruislip Road/Mansell Road) when they changed that, and asked them to pay back the money they had taken from people there.

“When Councillor Taylor came to power he had the chance to suspend all of these and say he would have a look at them, but instead the department carried on enforcing them.

“I will be calling on them to pay back the money they have taken on these other junctions as well.”

Cllr Taylor has defended the council’s position, saying it had been waiting for eight months for clarification from the Department for Transport (DfT) on whether the junctions were correctly marked, during which time several appeals to parking adjudicators went against the council.

He said: ““Following a meeting with the Department for Transport in June we understood that double width yellow boxes could be placed at the T-junctions, as long as there was sufficient traffic flow in the area.

“We provided additional data and fully expected the DfT to confirm they were happy. Now eight months after we originally approached them, they appear to be suggesting this is not the case, but have still failed to provide us with a report setting out their position, despite repeated requests.

“It is ridiculous that it has taken the Government department which sets the rules so many months to interpret its own manual and we still have not received a definitive response. This just underlines how unclear the regulations are.”

He told the Ealing Times the council would not consider paying back cash to people sent fines on the junction between 2004 and last Thursday, when the DfT told the council the junctions were wrongly marked.

What do you think of the council's decision? Should they pay back the cash taken from drivers? Leave your comments below.