04:21AM, Friday 11 May 2012
Car clampers turned a happy evening at Windsor's royal horse pageant into a night of anger and distress last night.
Visitors had travelled from all over the country to see the spectacular 90-minute show celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee at Windsor Castle. When the official car park became water logged thanks to torrential rain, drivers were diverted instead to town centre car parks.
Some parked in the Castle car park opposite. Returning late to their cars after waiting to hear Princess Anne made a speech after the pageant - they found themselves clamped and facing a £125 release charge.
Pensioner Judy Warschauer, 70, from High Wycombe said: "There were people who had come from all over the country and could not get home.
"There was so much anger. The police were called but we were told we would have to pay up. Many of us were there till 1.40am."
Car parks run by the Royal Borough do not clamp customers. But the Castle is an independent, privately run car park.
Pageant spokesman Jo Peck said: "We are all horrified at what happened, really disappointed to hear that some of our visitors had their evening ruined in this way."
The visitors who had paid to use the waterlogged car park were assured on the scene that they would be reimbursed for parking charges incurred is they used town centre car parks. Now some will be demanding that their clamping fees be reimbursed too.
The Royal Borough's cabinet member for highways Cllr Phill Bicknell (Con, Park) is furious with the Castle Car Park, which is run by the company PCM (Parking Control Management).
He said: "The whole thing is abhorent. It is a disgraceful way to earn a living, almost imprisoning people.
"The sooner the law changes to ban clamping on private land the better. They are giving the town a bad name."
He said he would be trying to find out why the government's much trumpeted law banning clamping was taking so long to reach the statute books.
More than 50 street parties are set to take place this weekend across the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and the surrounding areas.
An independent report into a Conservative councillor has found a breach of the Royal Borough’s code of conduct in a document seen by the Advertiser.