Lewes MP’s delight as he clamps down on clampers

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LEWES MP Norman Baker has claimed victory in his campaign to outlaw wheel-clamping.

It follows the Coalition Government’s Protection of Freedoms Bill gaining Royal Assent earlier this month.

The Bill outlaws clamping on private land, and the local MP said: “We have clamped down on the clampers once and for all.”

The area behind Laura Ashley in Lewes became a hotspot in 2009 for predatory clampers with many local residents and visitors to the town getting slapped with huge penalties for parking there unaware of the risks they faced.

Unfortunately, however, unlike regular parking enforcement, the laws in place at the time essentially gave the clampers the ability to name their fee, with £125 often being the starting price to get your car back after it was clamped.

There was also very little route to appeal, with the only one available being an internal one with the company that clamped you. Unsurprisingly, these tended to be less than sympathetic.

The problem also reached Newhaven where a District Nurse was clamped while she tended to a sick patient.

The clamping company refused to remove the clamp for two hours and the nurse was personally charged £130.

Mr Baker said: “As someone who has campaigned for the outlawing of clamping on private land for many years, I am very proud of the fact that with the Lib Dems in government this campaign has now been victorious.

“I recall vividly the concerned constituents and visitors to Lewes coming into my constituency office and being, frankly, flabbergasted at the penalties that had been imposed on them.

“I think the case of the nurse in Newhaven provides a perfect example of the behaviour of these clamping firms.

“At the time there was basically no recourse, but now people can be safe in the knowledge that they will no longer be the prey of predatory wheel clampers acting on private land.”

The ban is expected to come into effect in October.