09:00AM, Thursday 27 September 2012
Clamping will be outlawed on Monday - but the Royal Borough has warned it cannot result in a parking free-for-all by drivers.
The hated practice will be banished after new legislation comes into force, to the relief of motorists stung by private enforcement companies who have patrolled private sites dotted across Windsor and Maidenhead.
Scores of drivers have complained of underhand tactics by companies and being forced to pay sky-high fees of up to £500 to have their cars released.
The Royal Borough has been fighting to drive 'cowboy firms' out of town but has stressed it will not allow the end of clamping to leave a vacuum for people to park where they like.
It will consider hiring out its own parking enforcement officers to police some private sites so businesses or residents who employed clampers are not 'cut loose'.
Cllr Phill Bicknell, cabinet member for transport on the Royal Borough, has been a leading voice in the campaign for the end of clamping.
"I'm absolutely delighted that this unacceptable practice will be illegal and that motorists will no longer be held to ransom," he said.
"We want people to be able to protect their land but not by using cowboy clamping companies. It can be done in a more humane fashion."
A few years ago the authority persuaded one company - Laithwaites in Arthur Road, Windsor - to stop employing clampers.
The company agreed to let council staff patrol its site.
The council does not have the resources to offer a similar free service to every company plagued by selfish parkers.
But Cllr Bicknell said companies were welcome to contact the authority for practical advice on how to provide effective barriers to keep unwanted parkers out.
He added more 'hands on' direct help might be made available at a cost.
"We will treat each request on its own merits," he said.
Private enforcement firms are expected to continue operating by issuing fines of up to £100.
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