Cosham traders are in the money one month after clamper exit

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Councillor Donna Jones, the Leader of Portsmouth City Council hands over the keys to Mark Tickner     Picture: Malcolm Wells

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RELIEVED shopkeepers have seen a boost in trade following a wheel clamping firm’s exit from Cosham.

Traders in High Street, Cosham, Portsmouth, say takings have gone up by nine per cent since City Watch Enforcement stopped patrolling spaces at the back of shops last month.

The move followed a change in the law which saw the government ban private firms from clamping cars under the Protection of Freedoms Act.

Shops are also reporting a 40 per cent increase in takings from this time last year – and are looking forward to a bumper Christmas.

Sam Sykes, manager of The Salvation Army Trading Company’s charity shop, said: ‘It definitely seems busier.

‘We’re up by nine per cent since last month and our takings are 40 per cent better than they were this time last year. It’s always going to get busier this time of year, but we had the problems with the wheel clampers before so we definitely weren’t getting the numbers that we are now.

‘We’ve smashed last year’s target, which is a relief and fantastic to see.

‘It’s nice to see queues at the tills again.

‘I don’t think a lot of people were aware wheel clamping had been banned at first, but now I’m seeing more and more people use the car parks previously enforced by City Watch.’

Tony Broome, owner of Shoefix, said: ‘Takings are definitely up. Cosham was known as a bad news area but now people are talking more positively about it.’

Portsmouth City Council took over the enforcement of the car park on Old Market Road, behind High Street, as well as spaces behind The Salvation Army Trading Company’s charity shop on October 29.

Parking fines in the form of £35 tickets have replaced hefty clamping fines.

But some motorists are unhappy because disabled badge holders now have to pay the normal hourly rate – despite not having to pay before.

Disabled badge holder Doris Male, 82, of Erica Way, Cowplain, was fined on Monday because she didn’t buy a ticket and didn’t notice the new rule written on council parking signs.

‘I am very angry about it,’ she said.

‘I’ve been coming to Cosham for years and I’ve never had to pay.

‘I assumed I could park for free because my badge was on display.’