Richmond Council is being urged to pay back hundreds of thousands of pounds in fines after admitting a parking bay that raked in £1,400 a day was illegally marked.

The error only came to light after motorist Nigel Wise took on the council over his own £50 fine for stopping at the lucrative loading bay in St Margarets, in April – and won.

Now he says the council should reimburse every motorist who was hit in the pocket at the bay, outside Tesco Metro, over the past five years.

A Freedom of Information request by Mr Wise revealed that between May 2007 and June 2010, fines totalling £229,600 were issued to drivers caught by a CCTV camera. Taking into account the previous two years, that figure rockets to about half a million pounds.

Neil Heron, of the Motorists’ Legal Challenge Fund, backed Mr Wise’s call for drivers to be paid back.

He said: “The council has a duty to refund motorists.

“In the scheme of things it will be a very small amount of money compared to the positive value of the council of saying sorry.”

The bay became notorious after it was revealed in 2005 the council took, on average, £1,400 in parking fines per day from drivers stopping there. Unlike motorists before him however, Mr Wise, a carer, decided to carry out some detective work only to discover it did not conform to traffic marking requirements.

The motorist appealed his ticket and last Friday he received notification it had been dropped.

Richmond Council confirmed yesterday that the markings had been re-painted. However, officials are refusing to pay back the cash taken in fines from motorists.

Councillor Clare Head, the council’s cabinet member for traffic, stressed no refunds would be made.

She said: “We need to make it absolutely clear, however, that this bay has always been very clearly marked as a loading bay, something that should be obvious to any motorist.

“Recent parking adjudicator decisions make it clear that the test of signage is adequate guidance rather than exactitude, slight or trivial deviations will be disregarded.

“The road markings have now been rectified.

“The council will not be refunding penalties paid in the same bay over the last five years.

“All of these individual cases are now closed and will not be re-opened.

“We are grateful to Mr Wise for bringing the technical issue of the road markings to our attention.”

Susan Fitz-Gibbon, director of Fitz-Gibbon letting agents, in St Margarets Road, urged a rethink.

She said: “We have tenants coming to pick up keys and things all the time and they just keep getting fined.”