Drivers in Hounslow and parts of Ealing are furious after a council began issuing £130 fines to those caught driving down a road they say they have been using without issue for decades.

A CCTV camera was installed in July on Phoenix Way, in Hounslow, which leads to and from the Moto Heston M4 West service station, to catch drivers using it without a permit.

Hounslow and Southall residents feel the change was not clearly advertised by Hounslow Council and is still not properly signposted, leading some to improvise their own signs, and businesses within the service station claim their trade is already suffering massively.

The council though insists the access road has always been prohibited to traffic other than authorised vehicles and action was taken to enforce this after encouragement from police and the Heston and Cranford Area Forum.

Signage on Phoenix Way

Sherine Lake, 41, who lives in Southall and is awaiting a response after contesting her fine, said: "I do not understand why they have put this restriction there and I did not even know about it until the letter about my fine dropped through my door.

"I feel that the local community should have been informed before it happened, just putting it on the council website is not enough because no one frequently checks it.

"It's very easily misconstrued, there are too many signs and none at the front and then when you go through suddenly there's a camera. If you're going to issue traffic fines, there should be some sort of warning. I was not aware at all and that's what makes it more upsetting because I am not someone who breaks the law."

Photos taken on Phoenix Way show service station signs and a sign put up by the hotel, now discarded on the ground, directing people down the restricted road. Shoppers will now have to go around the arterial roads on to the M4 and again to exit.

Sherine Lake, 41

Ms Lake added: "I do believe it will affect the community, coming into Southall is always very congested and before this you could go into the service station to get a coffee and relax after work to avoid the queue. I am more gutted about the fact they are going to take away that little social time I would have had to myself before going home than anything else.

"I hope that they will reconsider this one, business will be affected and there will be financial losses to the service station."

Wendy Deegan, 45, who previously worked at the service station for 12 years, said she could not understand why the change had suddenly been made.

An improvised warning about the fine added to the sign by a member of the public

She said: "They are trying to rip people off, I do not see that as a private road. The signs are not very clear and in 20 minutes I saw about five cars go through.

"The service station staff cannot do anything to stop them or warn them and have been losing business. The council should be supporting people to use the local facilities, this is definitely not right.

"A lot of local people use those shops and it will stop them from doing it."

The council, however, insist that the signs are clear and that the road has always been restricted access.

Cabinet member for transport and corporate Property, councillor Hanif Khan said: "The access road has always been prohibited to traffic other than authorised vehicles servicing the MOTO Heston Motorway Service Station on the M4.

"However, many people have been using it as a short-cut – basically using it as an informal motorway junction – despite signage and bollards making it clear it was not a public route.

"There have been repeated calls from the Heston and Cranford Area Forum and the police to enforce this stretch of road and, together with MOTO and the local police, a new CCTV-enforced solution was put in place in July, along with more prominent new signage indicating that the route is restricted and camera enforcement is in place.

"The enforcement was widely publicised via the council website and through social media. We have also arranged for Google to update their traffic directions service to reflect this."