Protection of Freedoms Bill

Memorandum submitted by Judith Bailey (PF 34)

Proposed banning of clamping cars on private property

Summary

The proposal to ban clamping of vehicles on private property will adversely affect many flat-dwellers who at present rely on clamping firms to protect their private driveways from being used by rogue parkers.

Submission

1. The freehold of our block of 29 privately-owned flats is owned by some of the leaseholders in the form of a Management Company. The land on our estate, including the drive, therefore belongs to us and is part of our private property. The drive has only 28 parking places – not even enough for one per flat. Our proximity to Guildford town centre and the lack of parking places in surrounding roads make us an easy target for unauthorised parking by non-residents. This situation is probably the same for flats right across the country.

2. There’s been a lot of publicity about unscrupulous clampers terrorising members of the public, and of course that needs to be addressed. But unscrupulous motorists who park (and in fact trespass) on other people’s property, and prevent the residents from parking, cause a lot of misery, inconvenience and frustration, none of which receives publicity.

3. Three years ago we introduced residents’ parking permits to prevent unauthorised parking. We use a licensed clamping firm to check on the parking and to clamp when necessary. There are several notices clearly displayed stating that unauthorised vehicles will be clamped and giving the fee. This scheme has been very successful in deterring unauthorised parking. The number of cars clamped is small – probably fewer than 10 per year - but the threat of clamping is a very effective deterrent. Please note, the clamping fee goes to the clamping company, not to us.

4. If the proposed ban on clamping becomes law, how are we to prevent our drive, our private property, becoming a free parking space once again for anyone in the area?

5. Apparently we will be able to issue parking tickets. But to enforce payment by using the courts will be time-consuming and costly for us, and a waste of time for the courts. And apparently it is the driver not the owner who is liable for the fine, and so the owner can always claim that someone else was driving the car. This situation must be remedied if clamping is banned.

6. Or perhaps we should have a gate? But this will involve considerable expense and all the inconvenience associated with lack of access for visitors, utilities, delivery vans and emergency services.

7. We are being told that since clamping was banned in Scotland ‘there have been no problems’. How is this known? What is the evidence?

8. It is not common practice to ban everyone from doing something just because a few people abuse it. Otherwise we would have no motorists, bankers, doctors or teachers.

9. Do tackle the problem of unscrupulous clampers. Do allow only licensed firms to clamp. Do put a reasonable limit on the clamp release fee. But please leave us with some practical and effective way of deterring unauthorised parking – and at present clamping seems to be the best way.

March 2011