TRADERS hoping to see the back of a controversial car clamping firm face a fresh blow after it emerged it is staying at a Cosham car park for another month.
Lee Baron Limited, which looks after a council-run car park in Old Market Road, has extended its contract with clampers City Watch Enforcement.
The clamping firm’s original one-year deal expired on Friday – but Lee Baron wants to keep a form of parking enforcement at the car park before Portsmouth City Council steps in at a later date. When the council takes over parking wardens will replace clampers and money from tickets and fines will be shared by Lee Baron and the council.
Dil Dave, owner of Drapewise Interiors, in High Street, Cosham, said: ‘City Watch has caused so much chaos in Cosham and now we have to put up with the firm for another month.
‘The council should consider bringing back the hour-and-a-half free parking that used to be at that car park when it takes over.
‘If they go the council needs to advertise in a big way that the clampers have gone or else you’ll never get the people back.’
Tony Broome, secretary of Cosham Business Association, added: ‘That car park has killed a lot of businesses. The clamping firm has damaged morale in Cosham.’
On Friday there was confusion over the matter because City Watch employees thought it was their last day there.
John Conteh, 44, of Surrey, who has been a City Watch wheel clamper for two and a half months, said: ‘If people had initially abided by the rules and paid to park then there wouldn’t have been no need for a wheel-clamping firm here. When I park in a car park I familiarise myself with the terms and conditions. Others need to do the same.’
Wheel clamping will be made illegal under the Protection of Freedoms Bill on October 1.
Councillor Jason Fazackarley, who is in charge of traffic at the council, said: ‘As part of our negotiations with Lee Baron it informed us that it had extended its deal with City Watch by another month, which is frustrating.’
Lee Baron was unavailable for comment.