Motorists cough up as GP surgery brings in clampers
Halifax Courier 3rd October 2006
A GP surgery has employed a wheel-clamping company - dubbed the worst in Britain - to stop shoppers using their car park.
Grange Dene Medical Centre, Mytholmroyd, has hired the notorious Carstoppers to patrol the surgery car park and penalise all drivers who are not visiting the doctors in the village.
The company run by Tom Evans, which was named worst wheel-clamping firm in the UK by the RAC in 2003, charges motorists £75 to remove the device.
And drivers and staff from nearby businesses have been angered by the speed with which the company, which once allegedly immobilised a car while the driver was asleep in it and also came under fire for clamping a minibus carrying special needs children, has been taking action.
In one case yesterday the Courier watched as a couple who parked a few spaces away from the Carstoppers' vehicle walked the 100 yards to Milly's Cafe. Staff ran out of the shop to warn them but before they could get back to the car to their car the rigorous clampers had pounced Pauline Richfield, of Brighouse, was devastated by the incident.
She said: "I feel so upset. We had only nipped to the sandwich shop to get some lunch and these people were out like ferrets. They gave us no warning that we would be clamped. It is so unfair."
Builder Jez Emmerson was also clamped when he left his car for two minutes to get a sandwich.
"When I returned to my car they had not even finished putting the clamp on but they still said it woud cost me £75. It is very harsh.
"I told them my car was not even worth £75 and I was not paying it. I told them to tow it away."
But Mr Emmerson and a friend managed to barter with the men and Carstoppers removed the clamp for £30.
Claire Mitchell, from Link Up Estate Agents, Burnley Road, Mytholmroyd, said the new rules are causing massive problems for her customers as there is now nowhere for them to park.
She said: "It is becoming a pain and it is not as if the doctor's car park is full anyway."
Peter Forsdike, proprietor of White Sands Travel Agents, located opposite the car park, said: "I suppose it is fair enough because patients need to be able to park but surely there can be some leeway, perhaps a maximum length of stay.
"I could understand if people were parking there all day but often it is just for five minutes, I know some of our clients will park there while they just quickly pop in to pick up a brochure."
The surgery has installed signs in the car park warning motorists that they will be clamped but despite repeated requests Hebden Bridge Group Practice, which manages Grange Dene Medical Centre, declined to comment to the Courier.
Carstoppers, which operates from a PO Box and uses a mobile phone as a contact, also refused to comment.
03 October 2006