TRADERS are breathing a sigh of relief after Portsmouth City Council signed a contract that will see controversial clampers lose their grip on a car park.
The car park, behind High Street, Cosham, Portsmouth, has been a battleground between drivers and clamping firm City Watch Enforcement, with many motorists complaining of being unfairly clamped.
The city council has confirmed it has at last signed a contract with the car park’s owners which will see it regulate the car park from October 29.
It means all regulations currently enforced at council-run car parks across the city will be applied in Cosham – and the clampers will no longer be in operation.
Cllr Jason Fazackarley, from the city council, said an authority-controlled car park meant a ‘fairer deal for everyone’.
He said: ‘Finally we’re able to step in and see the back of clampers who’ve been causing misery for people using Cosham car park.
‘Obviously I’m pleased that we’re taking over the contract for enforcement, which means a fairer deal for everyone.
‘But I’m bitterly disappointed it has taken such a struggle to get here. We’ve been ready months ago, and people have suffered extortionate fines because it’s taken so long to get this contract agreed. We’d like to do this much earlier but rules mean there has to be a 28-day notice period for changes to a traffic regulation order.’
The news has been welcomed by traders in Cosham, who hope it will bring more confidence to shoppers.
Tony Broome, who runs Shoefix in High Street and is a member of the Cosham Business Association, said: ‘It’s the news we have been waiting for, for what seems like forever. Hopefully people will have to pay a sensible fee to use it.
‘It must have put a few people off coming to Cosham and hopefully this move will rebuild some of the confidence that has been lost.
‘Confidence will return in time.’
Graham Hales, who runs Locks newsagency in Portsmouth Road, Cosham, added: ‘It doesn’t affect me as much as I am down the other end.
‘But I know a lot of traders have had problems with clampers at the car park, which means shoppers haven’t been coming in.
‘Anything that gets people coming through the area and being able to park is a good thing.’