Billingshurst motorists welcome changes in clamping law

The problem of clamping in Jengers Mead, Billingshurst
The problem of clamping in Jengers Mead, Billingshurst

BUSINESSES in Billingshurst are celebrating after the Government moved one step closer to outlawing the clamping of vehicles.

In the Protection of Freedoms Bill announced last week, and expected to become law by the end of the year, clamping on private land is to become illegal.

It also contains plans to restrict the use of CCTV by local authorities, banning the storage of DNA of innocent people and scaling back the vetting procedure for people who work with children.

The anti-clamping legislation follows campaigns from people up and down the country experiencing harsh treatment from clampers after getting caught out unexpectedly.

A clamping regime at Jengers Mead in Billingshurst has provoked a string of protests from traders and shoppers.

The problem prompted interventions by Horsham’s Conservative MP Francis Maude. He said of the new legislation: “Hopefully this will make a significant difference to local residents, visitors and business-owners in Billingshurst and elsewhere.’’

Chairman of the Billingshurst Chamber of Commerce, Susan Venturi, said: “This is excellent news for businesses and shoppers in Billingshurst.”

She said that the chamber had lobbied on behalf of its more than 80 members for over two years.

“We have made representations to the owner, to local and national government, and to MPs, along with excellent support from local media. This is common sense winning the day.”

Owner of the Jengers Mead car park, James de Savary, said: “I’m quite supportive of the legislation because it actually makes private parking tickets much more enforceable.

“Clamping is something we want to phase out because it’s costly to undertake. There are one or two vehicles a week being clamped (at Jengers Mead) over the past few months, although there have been times when it has been higher.

“Regardless of whether the change in law comes in, I was looking at alternatives which are more cost effective and more publicly acceptable. We use ticketing in our other car parks.

He said making clamping illegal has its disadvantages.

“By banning clamping and towing you are creating the potential for more confrontation,” he said.

“Also sometimes you need to move a car. For example in a hospital car park where a vehicle is blocking where an ambulance needs to get through.”

What do you think of the new legislation? Will it be a better deal for motorists? Leave your comment below or email ct.letters@sussexnewspapers.co.uk