Clamping rip-off

I totally agree with both the articles in The Comet last week about car clamping fines. The clamping firms working in Stevenage charge far too much. Recently I had to pay KAR Management (GB) Ltd, another Stevenage clamping firm, £146. Our car had been par

I totally agree with both the articles in The Comet last week about car clamping fines. The clamping firms working in Stevenage charge far too much.

Recently I had to pay KAR Management (GB) Ltd, another Stevenage clamping firm, £146. Our car had been parked behind Pisces, a fish and chip restaurant in Marshgate for three minutes. This shop had been closed for several weeks so we thought we could quickly unload puppet equipment into our church office in Park Place. We usually use the Marks and Spencer's car park but on this day it was full. A friend stayed by the car just to explain to any traffic wardens that we were only unloading the car.

Within a minute a clamper had got past my friend and clamped the car. The car was not left unattended; we had nowhere else we could park to unload. When we were trying to explain this, the clamper just said we should have parked on the double yellow lines parallel to this road. This would have congested the road leading to the car park but only incurred us a £30 fine if the traffic warden had fined us. A difference of £116!!

We were shown the very small clamping sign by the clamper. It was so small we had not noticed it before.


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I have written to Steve Chappell, Stevenage's on street parking co-ordinator. He replied saying that the Stevenage Borough Council has contacted KAR in the past to ask them to act reasonably when dealing with vehicles parked on these private areas but to no avail.

I have also written to Barbara Follett MP about this matter. She has written to the parking services manager of Stevenage Borough Council to ask him why they are using this company to enforce parking restrictions in other areas of the town and to highlight the number of complaints that are being made about them. I am waiting for this reply.

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Surely it is about time the government should be tightening up the regulation of clamping companies. It is also about time the landlords who employ clampers make sure areas have large signs warning of clamping.

Has anyone else been unfairly clamped by this KAR Management (GB) Ltd?

Mrs CLARE STOKES, Taywood Close, Stevenage

I read your story about clamping on the Leisure Park.

I too was clamped and having been to David Lloyd gym was able to produce a letter to this effect, but the guy refused to accept it and made me pay £130 to get my car. I appealed twice but heard nothing back.

I wrote to the local authority who said it was nothing to do with them. I would appreciate getting in contact with Lois Taylor so that I can support her campaign. I was told by the guy who clamped me that he had the right to clamp anyone at anytime.

This is unacceptable and I have now cancelled my membership of the gym taking my custom elsewhere, which is not good for Stevenage.

REBECCA HALLS, Puckeridge

* I parked my car outside the back of Carphone Warehouse in Stevenage. I was in a space not blocking anybody in, next to another car.

I had to quickly pop to the cash machine and not even two minutes had passed. I got to my car and to my shock I found a big A4 sized sticker on my window and a big yellow clamp on my wheel.

I phoned the number and whilst I waited 50 minutes for them to remove it I noticed a tiny sign stating parking restriction - £140 fine, on the sticker it read £170! I explained I needed to pick my daughter up from school but they did not care. Eventually I had to pay up but got away with paying £140.

I cannot understand that if a car is illegally parked isn't it better to move the car out the way quicker, rather than clamp it so you cannot move it? Also it took me ages to remove the A4 Sized sticker on my window. Somebody needs to clamp down on the clampers!

NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED

* It is weird that the proviso forbidding users of the Leisure Park car park to leave the park before returning to their vehicle, was a condition of the original planning approval.

Who sanctioned the original planning approval? It was our local authority, which no doubt wished to squash any competition to its own grossly overpriced car parks adjacent to the site.

The Leisure Park has plenty of unoccupied spaces most of the time and very strangely it did not include the Leisure Centre or the Gordon Craig Theatre in its catchment area, probably for the same obvious reasons.

The £130 fine inflicted on the Swiss au pair was absolutely disgraceful and, unless I hear that she has been fully refunded, it is my intention to boycott the Leisure area facilities, including the Gordon Craig, and I would urge all motorists to do likewise.

Wheel clamping is nothing more than a money grabbing act of piracy and it is high time that it was abolished by law.

PERCY WESTON, Wildwood Lane, Stevenage

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