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Relief for Redbridge drivers as clamping ban comes in

PUBLISHED: 11:50 01 October 2012 | UPDATED: 11:52 01 October 2012

The New World American Pool and Snooker Club car park in Ilford was a hotspot for complaints.

The New World American Pool and Snooker Club car park in Ilford was a hotspot for complaints.

Archant

Redbridge drivers will no longer be at the mercy of private clamping companies after the practice was banned today.

It is now illegal for private firms to clamp vehicles on private land.

Clamping and the high charges for having cars released have caused misery for many Redbridge residents in recent years.

One hotspot was the car park of The New World American Pool and Snooker Club in Opal Mews, Ilford, where clampers Securak were the source of frequent complaints.

Ilford resident Nalan Demiri was charged £475 to release her car earlier this month.

She said she was in the car park with her engine running for seconds when a clamping officer immobilised her rear wheel without warning.

Mrs Demiri, 38, of Ley Street, added: “It was a horrible day. I was crying and I didn’t understand how it was happening.

“I wanted to buy my daughter school uniform but the money was gone and I couldn’t afford it.”

“It was a lot of money for 10 seconds.”

She hopes that the ban will stop other people going through a similar experience.

Ilford South MP Mike Gapes has written to Securak and other firms many times on behalf of his constituents.

He said: “Some of these people have behaved disgracefully in the past and I’m not sure most of them will observe the new law straight away.

“It’s important that the law is enforced. They aren’t going to be demanding money with menace but it doesn’t mean people will have a free run.

“There will still be signs hidden away that you can’t read and charges to pay.”

The deputy leader of Redbridge Council, Cllr Ian Bond, campaigned against Elite clampers in Wanstead and Woodford.

He welcomed the ban, adding: “Dealing with the threatening and sometimes abusive behaviour of these clamping cowboys often caused people a lot of distress.

“I do hope this ban will bring an end to the extortion with menaces that these cowboys have been able to get away with in Redbridge for far too long.”

Councils and government authorities will still be able to clamp but private firms will have to use ticketing.

Securak officer Kevin Stokes said the company is combining with another firm to offer bailiff services as well as parking tickets.

He added: “We will collect unpaid council tax and traffic enforcement penalties.

“We will still be enforcing charge notices on private land in the same car parks.

“The charge is £75, which is a lot cheaper than the clamping obviously.”

Signage will be changed when the firm is merged fully with Northern Parking Services.


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