Clamping at town centre church angers motorists

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THE vicar of a church in Fareham has defended a decision to clamp vehicles in the car park, charging hundreds of pounds in release fees.

Holy Trinity Church in West Street has hired Shoal Enforcement to clamp vehicles which shouldn’t be parked there.

But the clamping has come under fire.

Nick Moth, 19, of Ashtead Close in Portchester, had his car clamped and had to pay £300 for it to be released – despite only parking in the car park for around 15 minutes.

Nick, and pal Daniel Paul, 19, had been to the cinema and had stopped in the car park to go and get some chips on their way home. They both had their cars clamped and were charged a total of £615 with a £15 fee for using a credit card.

‘My stomach churned,’ said Nick.

‘It’s disgusting. I’m a student. I can barely afford to run my car let alone pay a £300 fine. It was a week before pay day so I had to borrow the money from my friend.

‘I know I was in the wrong parking there but £300 is a lot of money.

‘I don’t think it’s right to be clamping cars there.’

Nick’s dad Jonathon, 54, added: ‘I can understand that they do have problems with shoppers but I just don’t agree with clampers in a church car park. That could break some people.

‘I don’t think it’s very Christian.’

The vicar of the Parish of Holy Trinity, Sally Davenport, said: ‘We’ve been employing companies to protect our parking for years now.

‘The decision was taken a number of years ago because people had previously parked in our small car park overnight and at weekends in front of the church.

‘There were times when people’s cars were there and we couldn’t get hearses to deliver coffins and then at weddings where we absolutely need to keep the forecourt clear.

‘Being a town centre church I know that parking is a problem and people think they have found somewhere that is free.’

Mrs Davenport said the company does not clamp those who are visiting the church.

‘They are coming into the church for a service or to take part in something,’ she said.

‘We need to have control over our private land.’