A Community Network for Bowes Park and Bounds Green
Does anyone know if the wheel clampers at bounds green are legit or can some action be taken against them? A friend got clamped today, we have also been victim to them, it is nothing less than robbery in my opinion... no signs, lurking right next to the spaces, demanding £170 then saying they'll do a deal @ £125; "I need to feed my 5 kids" etc etc. They are outrageous. I heard private wheel clampers were going to be outlawed but don't no if that ever got through... Anyone ever got their money back?
How do we get the clamping to stop?
I've never been clamped there but I still ache each time I see someone remonstrating with the wheel clamper in front of a clamped car. I saw a woman at 15:45 today talking to the clamper and it drove me to make this appeal. I want to do something about it.
I am assuming the clamping is being carried out according to the letter of the law. I still think it's against common sense justice for people to pay such a huge sum for the misdemeanour–it's disproportionate.
Please suggest what can be done. I'm going to list a few things I've thought of, some are impractical but I encourage to put your ideas down however daft and maybe amongst all of them we'll find something practical to apply pressure to stop this:
1. Petition Haringey council
2. Involve local primary school children in an awareness campaign - it will be a lesson in civics and social justice
3. Talk to the shopkeepers on that side of road
4. Talk to the landlord
5. Picket the area between 14:00 and 16:00 with a sign "Don't Park. Clamping £200"
6. Engage with the clampers in a friendly way. Try and see things from their perspective
7. Leaflet cars who park there to warn them
8. Clamp the clampers :-)
9. Photograph the clampers
10. Speak to Ms Featherstone
OK Lucy, I've done a bit more research since earlier in the day. There are detailed regulations relating to clamping on private land, it's spelled out on this Citizen's Advice Bureau leaflet:
I've found a few articles written over the last couple of years about our neighbourhood clampers:
From reading these articles it's clear that they've made enough enemies that if there was a legal way to shut them down it would have already been exploited.
I did some asking around the neighbourhood and in my discussions one of the shop assistants told me that the law is going to change soon. The new law will make it illegal to clamp on private land. I looked it up and discover The Protection of Freedoms Bill 2011 which is due for it 3rd reading before house of Lords on 12/3/2011! So it's nearing it's final stage before getting passed.
Sorry this does not help your friend, but lets hope the whole operation will be shut down soon.
You can see the actual process chart, it is slow progress with this bill, I guess that is democracy for you:
It says Ping Pong on the 19th March - no seriously! I think I know what this means but it does look at first glance as though the House of Commons sports calendar has got mixed up with the bill timeline! I have no idea how long the last two elements of this process "The Consideration of Amendments" and "The Royal Assent" can take but I would imagine it will be law by the end of the year and all these clamping companies are desperately trying to make money while the sun shines - not of course that it should excuse their behaviour.
There are signs but situated above head height - and the details of clamping are in tiny type on a text heavy message which must be un-readable from within a car.
I think the design of the road - a cut-in near the shops - actually invites people to park it seems unreasonable to disallow parking in a road which was clearly established for just that purpose.
My mum and I walk past there every day and I have an idea about what to do about the clampers. We can get adults to volunteer to stand at the place where people get clamped and warn them about the clampers. They can choose from what time to what time they want to stand there.
The unsocial behaviour will only stop if the community put pressure on the landlord.
There’s a cosy and lucrative relationship between the landlord and the wheel clamping company. The change in the law will only cause them to modify their practices; not stop them.
Thanks for your suggestions, keep them coming! Here’s my response to your comments.
A rota of parking angels is a great idea. Maybe school kids are better suited to this task than adults as they’re on the whole louder and braver than the grown-ups.
According to www.adviceguide.org “there must be notices up where you can clearly see them, warning that unauthorized vehicles will be clamped.” So if I were clamped outside Latham Court I’d take the clampers AND landlord to small claims court. I would claim a full refund on the following grounds:
a) Signs are not prominent enough. The existing signs are over 2 meters from the ground:
Here's an example of what could be used to supplement the current notices -It's bright yellow with bold lettering. It should be placed 1 meter from the ground so that it's more noticeable when viewed from the height of a car seat.
b) The release fee of £215 is excessive. (Case law suggests anything above £135 is definitely perceived to be excessive)
c) Clamper was predatory. I'm not sure if this is true in our case? Do the local clampers give parkers any grace period before fitting the clamp? I really don’t know. (Clampers working on behalf of a Local authority have a guideline which says they must wait 30 minutes from time a penalty notice is put on car to the clamp being fitted. Alas Sango are working on behalf of private landlord.)
I would be very pleased if the landlord could put in place measures to overcome these three concerns.
Great responses everyone. And I didn't even know they clamped over on the other side by Saiscafe. I thought it was just in the yard opposite. I see there is an open surgery tomorrow evening with Councillor Matt Cooke (see Kevin's post) on Myddleton Road. Be good for people to go who feel really strongly about this wrongdoing.
Those little signs are very hard to see, especially when the cafe and shop have their canopies open. Double yellow lines would most likely be more effective at deterring parking - if in deed that is the objective of the clamping.
I saw the clampers drinking coffee in Sais cafe dozens of times, meaning they were able to move in as soon as anyone parked and walked away from their vehicle. Since the cafe closed, I've not seen them once.
Complete scam in my opinion. Hopefully Councillor Cooke can assist.
This is fantastic! I really wish I could attend this eve, however, I'll be at work. Would love to hear the feedback. There's so much about the wheel clampers that appals me! I'd be happy to spend an hour or so of my time handing out leaflets or whatever, should the community decide that we want to get together and do something about it. I think that's a great idea - this has gone on long enough.
The clampers have not been here since the weekend and it makes a world of difference because they lend such a threatening air to the area. They were there all of last week however.
Our neighbours have also seen how opportunist and predatory the clampers are, and how they hide by the side of the newsagents/ Sais cafe only to punch within two minutes of someone nipping into Flavas Chicken.
The proprietor of the supermarket there say that customers of his shop as well as those of the Estate Agents' and Flavas can park there legitimately and that the clampers are obliged to release the clamp if they prove that they were customers. However people get really stressed and pay what they have been asked (or coerced) because they don't know this. Obviously they have no chance if they parked there and nipped across the street to the chemists. The proprietor cannot put a sign outside his shop as that is the landlord's prerogative.
When visitors come into our 'village' and unwittingly park there (there is no way the sign can be construed as prominently displayed) and subjected to intimidating operators, I feel we should do something to warn them. Nobody driving into those spaces can see the signs at all.
In brief my objection to the clampers are due to:
- inadequate notice/ signage
- menacing clampers (come and see them in action if you haven't)
-no grace-period AT ALL. They are quick and intimidating.
It seems like a really unethical business practice and I would like to see them go.
sorry I meant "pounce" instead of "punch" (possibly a Freudian slip) ;)
It has been very interesting looking at all the comments re the clampers at Bounds Green. For the record, Wilkinson Byrne and all the other shops on Latham Court have absolutely nothing to do with employing the clampers. Indeed, its quite refreshing in a strange way to find a species that's despised more than estate agents!! The small service road in front of our office is private land and despite our and the other shops protests, the freeholder refuses to terminate the services of the clampers and we have had to learn to live with them. The staff, workers and customers of the shops on this parade are all exempt from being clamped but if any unwitting driver decides to park outside the office to visit the Post Office over the road for example, they become fair game for the clampers, who pounce with military precision. We are all for drivers being penalised if they leave their vehicle parked outside the office all day, as this creates a fire risk and obstructs deliveries and trade. We have however, tried to get the freeholder to instruct the clampers to allow a minimum of 15 mins before clamping. This would allow a driver to visit the shops either side of Bounds Green without the worry or stress that their vehicle would be immobilised. We have also asked for more prominent signs or road markings but to date, these requests have fallen on deaf ears. It is clear from the comments made on this site that Wilkinson Byrne are not alone in their concerns regarding the clampers and we are all for trying to make the area more user friendly. We are also happy to support positive solutions to the problem. Moving forward, we will contact the freeholder again and recommend that he visits this site and hopefully a compromise can be agreed - Keep you posted!