Traders’ fury as clampers stay at Cosham car parks

CLAMPING ZONE The car park at Market Road in Cosham.   Picture: Steve Reid (112997-011)
CLAMPING ZONE The car park at Market Road in Cosham. Picture: Steve Reid (112997-011)
The mechanical issue also led to a disturbance yesterday. Picture: Wightlink

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BUSINESSES have voiced their anger at Portsmouth City Council’s failed bid to get rid of a controversial clamping firm before its contract expires.

The backlash by shops in Cosham follows the announcement that City Watch Enforcement will remain at car parks behind High Street until its contract with the land’s managing agent Lee Baron runs out in June.

Councillors failed to prove that the clamping firm had acted unlawfully in its practices.

Dil Dave, who runs Drapewise in High Street, Cosham, said: ‘I’m absolutely disgusted.

‘High Street in Cosham is suffering like mad at the moment and it’s because of the clampers.

‘How can the council just stand back and let this happen?

‘There must be an alternative solution.

Portsmouth City Council originally had plans to take over parking enforcement at the car parks this month.

Now the council is hoping to take over parking patrols at the site, which it leases out to private property firm Lionsgate Properties, once the contract is up.

Lee Baron has managed the car parks on behalf of Lionsgate Properties since 1984.

‘By June it will be too late,’ Mr Dave added. ‘By then all the customers that used to shop here will have found other places to go.’

Workers at H&T Pawnbrokers said customers were still upset by the actions of the clamping firm, which arrived in Cosham last summer.

The wheel clampers have been charging any motorists who forget to pay and display more than £205.

Pat Read, manager of Naomi House charity shop, said: ‘I don’t know what the council is playing at, I thought it was going to take over this month. Sales are still down and that’s because people are frightened to come back to Cosham.’

An employee at Franks Jewellers, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘The council could have done so much more. Business is down and that’s because of the clampers, on top of the economic downturn.’

As previously reported in The News, motorists who been fined by City Watch Enforcement may have a better chance of getting their money back following motorist Luke Stopforth’s successful legal battle.

Security Industry Authority, which has the power to revoke a clamper’s licence, has yet to announce the outcome of its investigation into the behaviour of the clamping firm.

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt said: ‘I will now urge Lee Baron to terminate its contract with City Watch.

‘The clamping firm has potentially wrongfully penalised hundreds of people.’