Portsmouth MP continues her fight against clampers

FIGHT Penny Mordaunt and Cllr Jim Fleming with some of the complaints.   Picture:Steve Reid (114048-214)
FIGHT Penny Mordaunt and Cllr Jim Fleming with some of the complaints. Picture:Steve Reid (114048-214)
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The Portsbridge Roundabout / A3 at Hilsea, toward Cosham. Picture: Google Street View

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SCATTERED across the desk, this is the stash of complaints penned by angry motorists against a controversial clamping firm.

More than 350 motorists believe they have been unfairly clamped at Old Market Road car park, in Cosham, and have written to Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt.

She will now take the letters to a meeting with the Security Industry Authority (SIA) – which has the power to revoke clampers’ licences – next Monday to demand they investigate City Watch Enforcement.

The firm has so far pocketed more than £40,000 in clamping fines, but their tactics have been criticised.

Ms Mordaunt said: ‘This will be a large and hopefully swift inquiry into City Watch’s conduct.

‘Many have described being frightened and threatened by the clampers. This is something that has to stop.

‘I’m confident that the letters show the clampers have acted in an extremely detrimental way and have had a negative effect on the whole area.

‘If the SIA gets behind this then steps can be taken to remove City Watch from the car park before next April when their contract is up.’

Deborah Gray, 48, a senior staff nurse at Jubilee House, in Medina Road, Cosham, was the latest to be clamped at the weekend after she left her car to get change for the parking meter.

Deborah, from North End, said: ‘The behaviour of the clampers was awful. I felt very threatened and intimidated by them.

‘I was told if I didn’t pay up within the hour they would tow my car away and I would face a charge of £500.

‘I didn’t have the money so I had to get a friend to pay. I cried my eyes out all day afterwards.’

Ms Mordaunt also met with Cosham traders on Saturday to talk about ways they can lure back shoppers over the festive period.

Posters, flyers and introducing a ‘parking Santa’ that warns motorists of clampers were some of the ideas discussed.

Tony Broome, 48, owner of Shoefix and secretary of Cosham Business Association, said: ‘It was a very good meeting.

‘Penny has been working very hard on this issue and we now all agree it’s time to start encouraging people back.’

As reported in The News, Portsmouth City Council has agreed to take over parking enforcement at the car park following the complaints. But this can only happen once City Watch’s contract runs out in April.