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Illegal parking is a major issue for leaseholders and it’s time their voice was heard, says Lesley Davis

ow ironic that legislation currently going through parliament that includes the proposed ban on clamping and towing away on private land is called the Freedom Bill. the reality is that this section of the Bill will only serve to erode the freedom of

Clamping chaos continues h

leaseholders around the country to retain their own parking spaces – surely not too much to ask on private land? as Fpra chairman Bob smytherman pointed out in a letter to henry smith mp in november, “...the proposed ban is contrary to the coalition’s Big society objectives since it removes the freedom of thousands of small community-level leasehold and residents’ associations to manage their estates as they choose”. As regular readers will know, Flat Living is supporting the campaign

by ARMA, the FPRA, the British Parking Association (BPA) and other interest groups to amend the Freedom Bill and allow clamping to continue in certain circumstances. Surely it would be far better for the Government to bite the bullet and regulate the industry, retaining the benefits of responsible clamping than to simply sweep away this useful weapon in the battle against illegal parking. We are all aware of the abuses carried out by rogue clamping companies, but as the BPA points out, to blanket-ban clamping because of a few cowboys is like banning cars to prevent speeding. ARMA’s public affairs officer, Tim Taylor, says “ARMA has been

working very closely with the BPA since this issue arose and very much supports the BPA’s approved operator scheme whereby all clampers would have to be licensed. This must make more sense that a total ban”. ARMA has also written to the Home Secretary pointing out the potential damage the ban could do to leaseholders but has not yet received a response. So while the property industry campaigns on behalf of leaseholders,

what can residents do to help themselves? On page 44 of this issue, Patrick Troy of the BPA looks in detail at the alternatives to clamping – none of which provide a quick fix to the problem. Barriers are costly to install, not suitable for all blocks and potentially cause a nuisance to other drivers. Ticketing is a toothless tiger while it remains unregulated; and the police – with more important problems to deal with – are not that interested. Bob Smytherman believes that if the right to clamp is

lost to leaseholders, private car parking will be “inundated with illegally parked cars, which will make residents’ lives a misery”. It seems property managers around the country agree with him. Nearly 150 ARMA members responded to a survey on parking controls last year, revealing strong views (see box below). The Freedom Bill is likely to be enacted in the next few months but

in the meantime, ARMA is encouraging its members and residents to make their views known. ARMA has circulated a template letter for members and their clients to work with in lobbying their local MPs so contact ARMA if you would like more information.

Lesley Davis is a freelance journalist and editor

Clamping – what do ARMA members think?

• I utilise methods of parking enforcement at my sites because abuse of private land is a growing problem – 93% agree.

• I believe that the proposal to ban clamping and towing away on private land will prevent me being able to effectively manage parking on sites – 84% agree.

• The ability to use ticketing as the primary means of enforcement of illegal parkers on my site is not enough of a deterrent – 81% agree.

• The prevailing legislation whereby drivers can ignore parking tickets by stating ‘I was not the driver’ needs to be changed – 91% agree.

• I believe that a total ban on wheel-clamping is not the answer. The industry needs to be properly regulated in order to protect the interests of landowners, residents and motorists – 93% agree.

When asked what the consequences of the proposed ban are likely to be, the overwhelming response was – “chaos and aggravation”.


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