A WORCESTER businessman fears parking could become a “free for all” after the Government announced plans to ban wheel clamping on private land.

Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone said the move will end the “scourge” of so-called cowboy clampers who charge “exorbitant fees”.

More than 2,000 existing clamping licences will be revoked and the towing away of vehicles is set to be outlawed.

We reported in your Worcester News last week how a number of women were forced to pay up to £135 to get their cars released after visiting Little Acorns indoor play centre in Everoak Industrial Estate, Bromyard Road, St John’s.

Their vehicles had been clamped by Car Clamping Securities (CCS), which has been employed by neighbouring businesses Worcester Ten Pin Bowling, Spin UK Limited and Hertz Rent a Car to manage their parking spaces.

Matt Roberts, manager of Worcester Ten Pin Bowling, said he is sceptical about the Government’s plans and is worried about parking becoming a “free for all”.

He said: “What alternatives are there to protect the car parking spaces that we pay for? I don’t like the idea of wheel clamping, if there is another way then I’ll do it.

“My concern is that parking will just become a free for all and when you tell someone they can’t park in your spaces they will just say ‘up yours son, there’s nothing you can do about it.’”

A clamper for CCS who works in Worcester, said: “The Government have jumped on the band wagon of ‘everyone hates clampers’. There are good clampers out there like myself who do their jobs to protect landowner’s property.

“Some companies do push the limits.

“What else am I supposed to do? We can’t enforce parking tickets. At the end of the day it is inconsiderate drivers who think they can park where they like which are the problem.”

Motoring organisations have backed the “momentous” proposals.

Paul Watters, head of AA public affairs, said: “It is a momentous decision that will end a scourge that has blighted the name of parking control in private parking areas for so long.”

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “For too long unscrupulous clampers have managed to extort money from essentially law-abiding motorists, punishing them for their so-called crimes.”

The ban will be introduced in the Government’s Freedom Bill in November and could be in place by early next year with anyone who flouts the ban facing a fine or even a prison sentence.

No one from Spin UK or Hertz was available for comment.