CLAMPING IN LIDO AND DREAMLAND - A SEASIDE RIP-OFF?
Some readers may have spotted the item on BBC South East today about the chap camping in his clamped car on The Lido Car Park, Clifftonville, to stop Barry Dawson and his team at Clamp Down Security Services (CSS) moving the car and upping the bill the poor beggar could not pay, let alone the £120 to get the clamp off.
A 'Strife' member popped down to do a 'soup run' at 7.30pm to talk and take pics and discovered the car empty of its owner but still clamped. Will Barry Dawson move it over-night?
Readers might be familiar with Your Thanet highlighting problems at Dreamland a few weeks ago with most parking ticket machines wrapped up in bin-liners and apparently out of service and hapless victims, unable to find an obscurely located ticket machine, being clamped within minutes.CSS at the time was working under direction of Probe Security (of ex-Conservative Cllrs' Broadhurst and Watt-Ruffell association) but it would now seem that CSS is now working directly under Jimmy Godden and his site manager Barry Moss at Dreamland as Probe has been given the 'heave-ho' off the Dreamland site, with odd rumours flying around Thanet ever since.
Strife is aware that many visitors who parked at The Lido on the evening of The Lost Prophets gig at Winter Gardens some weeks back, thinking the Lido Car park was 'concert parking', found themselves clamped and quickly out of pocket. We have reports that 12 cars were clamped and over £1,400 was paid out to get cars released. Some visitors said they would never return to Margate as they were convinced they had been ripped -off as 'innocents abroad' in down at heel Margate.
I am sure CSS and Barry Dawson are operating correctly and I hope TDC Trading Standards are ensuring that this is so, but you do have to have your eyes peeled to spot the signs (pictured below) in The Lido car-park. However, what concerns me most, is the damage that this 'Clamping business' is doing to putting off visitors from returning to Margate.
There are many who hold the view, rightly or wrongly, that 'clamping' has a dubious aspect to it and that calls for clarification and tightening of regulations regarding clamping are becoming more frequent to our Parliament. Rather than worrying about fox-hunting, isn't this an issue that Gale,Sandys, Ladyman et al could be looking at?
At the local level, 'Mauwice' or his successor, need to consider that visitors paying £2.20 for their latte and £120 for their car to be 'un-clamped' might regard their tax-payer subsidised visit to the TC to see Tracy's dirty linen or a 'walking art' performance as money badly spent and that Margate's growing reputation as a 'clamper's den' puts them and many others off from ever visiting , let alone returning.