Discussion Forum
Clamping in Mytholmroyd

Posted by Kathy
Thursday, 8 March 2007

Look North last night. Carstoppers in Howarth - watch the video online now:

An employee of Carstoppers could have an ASBO imposed on him.

Court appearance is on Friday.

* * *

More info:

Yorkshire Post 23rd May 2007

AN employee of a notorious car clamping company which has brought misery to visitors to a Yorkshire tourist village is facing an Anti-Social Behaviour Order. ..

George Albert McDicken, 38, of Ling Park Approach in Wilsden, near Bradford, is accused of "intimidating and aggressive behaviour" by the authorities seeking the ASBO.

The application for an ASBO is due to be heard at an interim hearing at Leeds magistrates' court on Friday.

Full story

From Adam B
Friday, 25 May 2007

FYI - This has just been on the national news on Radio 1. Apparently there were floods of complaints about him from residents in Haworth. Apparently "He has agreed not to work there for a while"....



Just another update on this as there's been a further news report after the initial hearing.

As Kathy points out the ASBO is being sought for "intimidating and aggressive behaviour".

Alleged witnesses have said that the firm are ruthless, arrogant bullies who think they are untouchable when in the carpark and scream at anyone who stands up to them.

They mention one example of a car which was clamped when the occupant was still inside (which I believe has already been mentioned on these pages) and another of a car which was clamped while the driver was looking for change for the machine.

That's the latest as far as I know, I guess more will come out after the next hearing.


From Kathy
Friday, 25 May 2007

Adam. thanks for the update - it seems to be reported far and wide which is good news.

It made the BBC National news tonight. Everything said on that programme has been said in this forum and elsewhere since Carstoppers arrived. It confirms the type of firm they are. Concerns for elderly people and patients visiting the doctors and being wrongly clamped remain. It was also noted that the man concerned alleged people were exaggerating things to avoid paying clamping fines. This has also been said about residents and patients clamped in Mytholmroyd which is strongly disputed.

At the last meeting with the Practice Manager it was put to him that they might use another, less aggressive company - the name of a company was provided. The representatives from Mytholmroyd attending the meeting asked only that people be treated in a more humane way. We are still waiting to hear if this has been considered as an option.

The very real possibility of something going sadly wrong remains in the balance meantime.

The next meeting of the Patient Participation Group is yet to be arranged, but you need to register interest by 15th June to tony.martin@GP-B84004.nhs.uk

Can we urge people to register their interest and go along if possible.

From Ian M
Wednesday, 30 May 2007

In the interests of fairness, it should be noted in this thread, that the aplication for an interim ASBO was rejected

From Adam B
Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Good point Ian. I gather it's due to go back to court sometime in the summer - I'm quite vague on this though, I forget the details.

There's been reports from traders in Haworth complaining that profit has been down in recent years and that they believe it's due to the clampers' activities.

I'm not sure how fair the claims they're making are.


From Kathy
Thursday, 31 May 2007

The same clamper was on Look North news last night charged with threatening the police and, in fact, threatening to get a gun and shoot them.

Watch the video here on the BBC website

From Anne Robinson
Friday, 1 June 2007

My husband and I were parked outside the Mytholmroyd health Centre. We drove in the carpark thinking that the Pie Shop on the corner was part of the complex.

My husband got out of the car and I stayed. Within a minute of my husband leaving, I was being clamped. At first I thought someone was underneath the car but then I realised what was happening.

I got out of the car to ask him what was going on by which time he had clamped the back wheel. He said he was clamping the car because we were parked on private property, and could we not see the signs. He also told us that he had seen my husband walking into the pie shop. This meaning that he had been waiting to clamp anyone who parked there.

I refused to give him my credit card for his chip and pin machine and so I had to go to the bank and get out the required amount in cash. Should we have been asked to leave before we were clamped, considering we were in the car no less than a minute?

Are clampers allowed to clamp a vehicle when there is someone inside?

From Kathy
Friday, 1 June 2007

Look North are being invited to follow up on this story bringing in the experiences of people living in Mytholmroyd aka Carstoppers.

Please e-mail:

harry.gration@bbc.co.uk or christa.ackroyd@bbc.co.uk

Keep this story alive...

See BBC news item: Wheel-clamper escapes Asbo threat

Daily Mail: Car clamper to get ASBO for 'intimidating motorists'

From Jon Duerden
Wednesday, 27 June 2007

A car was clamped today and the driver phoned a friend who came in another vehicle with hammer and chisel and snapped the padlock, took the clamp off and put the clamp in their motor and drove off.

While they were doing this, the clamper was on the phone to the police with their descriptions and registration numbers.

Within 5 minutes, if not less, the police turned up with sirens going to assist the clamper and take a statement. The police sat in the clampers' car to get a statement. I would have thought urgency was paramount but no. The police sat in the car and allowed the clamper out for at least 5 minutes while he clamped another vehicle and do all the paper work he does when clamping before making his statement.

All I can say is, Bravo to the police for coming so quickly and assisting the clamper in his hour of need. Next time it might be the clamper and not the padlock (who knows).

From Kathy
Sunday, 1 July 2007

The full story as told to us by John is on the Halifax Courier website here:

Some of the comments readers have made are below:

"Well done David, these clampers are real nasty people. They once clamped me in Howarth for being a few minutes over my ticket time and were really nasty. I called my husband who ended up arguing over the phone with them so they refused to take a credit card payment to release me. They then drove off and returned with a Rottweiller in their van, supposedly to intimidate me even more I assume. In the end my husband drove from Halifax to Howarth with £40 worth of pennies and two pennies in a tub to pay them, when he arrived their faces were a picture knowing that they would have to count all the money out, in the end they obviously couldnt be bothered and took his word for it that the amount was correct and released me. Unfortunately for them, my husband had short changed them and also included some foreign coins! I have never been back to Howarth since."

"Nice one. They are just thugs with the police on their side. The police will look after the thugs whilst the victim just gets treated like a criminal."

"Well done that man. Me and my co-workers watched all this going on, and as you say in your report we were cheering this guy along. The police turned up,with the lights and siron going no more than three minutes after the guy had left with the clamp. I doubt they would have been there so quickly had there been an old lady being mugged. Once again well done David, the more people take direct action like you did the sooner these villons might crawl back in to the hole they came out of."

"You do right, David ! If you look into their business as I did after being clamped by them you'll find it's a complete scam, the guy who owns the car park in Howarth also owns car stoppers , I believe he only owns the car park to operate this 'legal' scam and he clamps his own customers ! He's only interested in the revenue from clamping and not the car park fee's ! Nice little earner they have going on !!!"

"Go Dave go Dave go Dave. I reckon dave should run for luddenden mayor next year he`d get my vote and so would anyone else who stood up to these money grabbing low life scum jobsworth feckers. and another thing I've known Dave for a few years now and hes one of the best mechanics around and really competitive with prices and if you need a clamp moving give dave a ring and go shopping in hebden bridge or any where else with peace of mind."

From Janet S
Sunday, 1 July 2007

I'm going to send Mr Hargreaves a fiver towards his fine and if he isn't fined he can buy his kids some sweets with it.

As far as I'm concerned he is a local hero.

Nobody wants to encourage people to break the law but when the people you respect (as I did our doctors) won't listen then there is no choice. I simply do not accept that they can't do anything about this. By October the clampers will have been here a year and discussions with Mr Tony Martin the Practice Manager have solved nothing. Meanwhile the businesses are changing hands or are up for sale. Regeneration - for who I ask?

I've alerted Look North to this story. I hope they take it up.

From Johnny Marascalco
Monday, 2 July 2007

This guy is a local hero?

He broke the (clearly stated and long-standing) rules governing the car park and then broke the law because he didn't like being caught out. He's a criminal, plain and simple, and his portrayal as some kind of hero is absurd.

Businesses in Mythomlroyd have nothing to complain to the Practice about in this matter. You're anger is mis-directed. I've lost count of how many times I've had to say this, but the provision of parking for shoppers or the traders themselves is the responsibility of the council, and them alone. Not the practice, not the clampers, Calderdale MBC should be addressing any loss of business that the town is suffering from.

There is a choice Janet, a very obvious and clear choice. Unless you are using the car park exclusively to use the Practice facilities, do not park there unless you want to risk being clamped.

If you're handing out fivers, you're money would be better spent supporting this ridiculous campaign against the practice. They need all the help they can get!

From Janet S
Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Salute to wheel clampers' Mr Fixit Halifax Courier article - 3rd July 2007. His actions may have earned him a police caution but it seems the man who removed a wheel clamp with a hammer and chisel has become something of a hero for Calderdale motorists...

Dave Hargreaves, 41, took the law into his own hands after clampers swooped on his car at Grange Dene Medical Centre, Mytholmroyd.

Mechanic Mr Hargreaves had nipped into a travel agent's after visiting the centre's pharmacy.

But after being told it would cost £75 to remove the clamp, he simply smashed it off himself.

Now, fellow motorists and businesses have applauded his actions.

Dave Langfield, who works at Sowerby Bridge, said: "I congratulate Mr Hargreaves and suggest we all carry a hammer and chisel with us.

"We seem to have a country of two distinct types of people. One is working hard, trying to move forward and paying obscene amounts of taxation, while the other half is working hard to stop them."

Peter Forsdike, of Whitesands Travel, Mytholmroyd, said: "It is about time someone took a stand against these clampers.

"We have seen old ladies in tears all for the crime of stopping off for a paper on their way to the health centre.

"While I totally understand why the Primary Care Trust has resorted to this action, this form of intimidation totally contradicts their mission statement 'Care in the Community.'" And one contributor to the Courier's website, perhaps slightly tongue in cheek, called for Mr Hargreaves to be made Mayor of Luddenden. She said: "He'd get my vote for standing up to these money-grabbers."

But Mr Hargreaves, a father of three, of Victoria Terrace, Luddenden Foot, said he had not taken the action for publicity. "I did it because I was mad and I didn't think what they were doing was right.

"I'm not sure about running for mayor. I know the current mayor and I don't think he'd be too happy if I stood against him."

Halifax Courier 3rd July 2007
Full article plus photo and readers comments

From Ian M
Monday, 9 July 2007

Oh this is just getting ridiculous! This man had committed criminal damage and yet he is being applauded for his actions.

The next time anyone on this forum complains about damage to property, graffiti, smashing of bus shelters or dumping of rubbish in the river, remember they all come under the umbrella of criminal damage.

Whilst you may not agree with their actions, the clamping firm has acted within the law. To jubilantly support willful vandalism is childish and utterly pathetic.

From Johnny Marascalco
Monday, 9 July 2007

Well said Ian,

Commending this gung-ho vigilante behaviour is risible. It's not even as if this guy was one of the innocent, short-sighted, elderly, infirm and vulnerable victims that certain individulas will have us believe are being targetted on a day-to-day basis.

We never did hear about the results of the petition did we?

From Kathy
Tuesday, 10 July 2007

In the Courier's third article in a week on this subject which is here:

We have: quote:
BUSINESSES in Mytholmroyd claim the "heavy-handed" tactics of wheel clampers in a surgery car park are driving them out of business.

But the efforts of one shop owner to alleviate the problem have been met with legal action threats.Judy Edwards owns the building opposite Grange Dene medical centre. She allowed customers and traders to park outside her shop until lawyers stepped in.

"I got a letter telling me the surgery had 24-hour access and people parking in front of my shop, on my land, were blocking that," she said. "It was heavy handed and unnecessary."unquote

In the same article there is also a quote from the Practice Manager Mr Tony Martin:

"Anyone who feels they have a genuine grievance can take up the issue with the clampers or the surgery. We are constantly reviewing the situation."

But people approaching the surgery by letter or indeed meeting with the Practice Manager have had no satisfaction. They have been told that the appeals process lies with the clampers as we have seen from stories here.

These latest articles are predominantly relating to traders but this matter isn't confined to traders complaining about losing trade it's about what the traders have witnessed as well, as in this quote from Peter Forsdike, of Whitesands Travel, Mytholmroyd, :

"We have seen old ladies in tears all for the crime of stopping off for a paper on their way to the Health Centre.
While I totally understand why the Primary Care Trust has resorted to this action, this form of intimidation totally contradicts their mission statement 'Care in the Community".

A petition has been signed by hundreds of patients and a copy will be delivered to the next Patient Participation meeting (when a date for such a meeting is given that is) with a copy to the Primary Care Trust and anyone else who will take an interest.

From Ian M
Wednesday, 11 July 2007

“While I totally understand why the Primary Care Trust has resorted to this action, this form of intimidation totally contradicts their mission statement Care in the Community”

I would say that Mr. Forsdike has hit the nail completely on the head with his statement. The role of the primary Care Trust is to provide “Care for the Community”. Their prime concern is their patients and making sure they have free and easy access to the medical facilities - Not to provide free car parking to any businesses in the local area.

Kathy it would be more productive if your posts consisted of something more than third hand sound bites from local business men with vested interests.

Can you back up the claims that hundreds of people have signed a petition or that old ladies have been reduced to tears? I am amazed that, so far, no one has accused the clampers of beating poor orphaned children with sticks!

From Kathy
Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Everything can be backed up. Plenty of witnesses. No problem there. And I've seen the petition - helped count signatures.

Not sure about beating poor orphaned children with sticks, but give it time.

From Johnny Marascalco
Thursday, 12 July 2007

Kathy, perhaps you could explain the following quote for me since you seem able to speak for Ms. Edwards:

"I got a letter telling me the surgery had 24-hour access and people parking in front of my shop, on my land, were blocking that," she said. "It was heavy handed and unnecessary."

I just don't understand how anyone parking on privately owned piece of land could possibly block a public road? Who were the layers acting for? The practice?

There cannot be many shop owners who are lucky enough to also own the pavement and road in front of their shop. However, if Ms. Edwards means that her customers were parked on the public road in front of the shop, she really has no complaint. The practice needs 24 hour access for good reason, and her fellow traders and customers were wilfully jeapordising that.

The Grange Dene car park is for service users and staff, end of story. If she wants better parking provision in the town to cater for her customers and other traders, her complaint is misplaced and she has no option but to take it up with the local authority.

From Anne H
Friday, 13 July 2007

I do wonder how much the traders have alienated the Group Practice by taking a prominent role in setting up the petition and in hailing the man who (illegally) removed the clamp as a hero, and also by their comments on this forum.

I can understand the frustration of traders who would like their customers to be able to park nearby, but after all, there is no more or less parking for customers than there was before Grange Dene was built. One item in the petition appears to do the traders’ cause no good at all! “(6) There is serious congestion caused by cars parked in Grange Yard for Patients approaching and leaving. Or even Doctors leaving for an emergency or an ambulance attending”. Whatever the reason for cars parking there (I believe the area near the post office is no longer available?) they are traders’ delivery vans and customers who are doing the blocking – hence the letter from the surgery.

But, I’m confused, does the road outside Milly’s belong to the owner of the café or not? More to the point, whoever owns it, are they required to provide access, in which case they shouldn’t paint white lines for parking and they shouldn’t be surprised to receive a letter from the surgery about it.

I hope the traders don’t swamp the next PPI meeting with their own issues, because patients do have very good reason to complain about several matters, namely that they can be clamped for going to the doctors and then popping into the café because they need to have a sit down before they drive home (e.g. After a blood test).

I called into the opticians last week for a repair and they said “have you any more shopping you can do, and pop back in 10 minutes”. If I had done, I might have got clamped. And I think it’s reasonable for anyone who doesn’t know how fierce the clamping is, to expect that they can pop to another shop after their doctor’s appointment, without having to re-park.

All the practices in Grange Dene could provide a dated ticket to prove you’ve visited them and if you get back to the car after visiting the surgery and the café, and it’s been clamped, they will just have to unclamp it! That should make them more cautious about clamping in the first place.

From Rev Tony Buglass
Friday, 13 July 2007

Johnny, if Ms Edwards says her customers were parking on her land, the point is quite clear: it is her land, not public highway. Presumably she can prove it from her deeds, and will send the health centre's lawyers packing. We met a similar issue when we lived on Birchcliffe Road, finding that certain houses nearby did actually own the pavement and road space outside, and were therefore in their rights to mark their own parking spaces. We'd never met that before, and I wonder whether it is a characteristic of this area.

Mr Hargreaves committed an act of criminal vandalism. If it comes to court, he will have no defence, will be found guilty and will have a criminal record. However much applause he gains by hitting back at the clampers, he was wrong.

But so is the intimidatory attitude of the clampers, and the apparent intransigence of the Health Centre management. If people feel they are talking to a brick wall, they will be angry and hurt, and there will be a festering sore in the community.

Is nobody able to find a compromise to satisfy the health centre who don't wish to provide a public car park, and the public using it, who may wish call into the shop at the same time as their visit to the doctor without being mugged by the men with the clamps?

From Anne H
Friday, 13 July 2007

Tony, even if she owns the land, she may still be required to allow access. But only Ms Edwards knows the exact situation.

I have suggested one compromise, in my post above, but it would probably result in fewer clampings and the clampers might raise their fee to the Health Centre.

From Johnny Marascalco
Saturday, 14 July 2007

We will see if the point is that clear Rev. Personally I doubt very much that Ms. Edwards has a valid complaint in this matter, and this story is nothing more than clever use of language. The quote can be read two ways; that the section of road is owned by her, or that the shop is on land owned by her. Either way, Ms. Edwards complied with the request, snd what might that tell us? Let's face it Rev, this story better be 100% accurate.

Anne, you are absolutely right. The lobbying by traders has very likely alienated the practice and discouraged them from addressing authentic complaints. Your suggested solution is a good one, but let's not forget that it rather unfairly places the onus of responsibility with the practice, who have quite enough to deal with already.

From Rev Tony Buglass
Sunday, 15 July 2007

Johnny: "Either way, Ms. Edwards complied with the request, snd what might that tell us?"

It might tell us she was intimidated by the threat of legal proceedings which she couldn't afford to fight.

As you say, it all depends on the meaning of her original words as quoted in the paper. The original phrase was "people parking in front of my shop, on my land" which implies that she owns the land in front of the shop, and that was where people were parking. It doesn't suggest that people were parking in front of her land. If those words are accurate.

I understand the need for 24-hour access. However, I can't see that the cars parked at the side of the lane would obstruct it to that extent. In any case, even if they did, if the land belongs to her the health centre do not have any legal rights over what she does with it. They can only insist on keeping it clear if they own it.

Perhaps there are grounds here for a compromise - she will keep her land clear for them if they will allow shoppers to park on their land?

From Ian M
Monday, 16 July 2007

So if we follow that logic, if I say I own all the land that currently belongs to the church, does that make it legally mine. I think property ownership is a little more complicated than just being able to say "I own it".

I suspect what is happening here is the same as people assuming that they have a right to park on the public highway outside their home - They do not!

Or we may be talking about adverse possession here - Ms Edwards may have used the land for so long that she feels it is hers.

From Johnny Marascalco
Monday, 16 July 2007

That's a compromise?! Have you been smoking crack Rev?

From Rev Tony Buglass
Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Johnny, the only time I smoke is if someone sets fire to me. I try to avoid that.

Ian, the point at issue is whether or not Ms Edwards owns the land. I am given to understand that she does. That being the case, this is not about people parking on the public highway, but about people being restricted in their lawful enjoyment of their property, and then intimidated by the prospect of large legal fees to defend their rights.

In the run-up to Gulf War 1, one of our church leaders pointed out that a peace conference would be held after the fighting, so wouldn't it be a good idea to have the conference without the fighting? Well, yes, but it depended on a willingness to talk. Just so, the only way this situation will resolve is in some kind of compromise. I suggested one. Anyone have a better idea?

From Johnny Marascalco
Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Are you sure Rev? No burning yearning?

What you have suggested could not be further from a compromise. Only one party would truly benefit, since the practice already has access rights. Access to Grange Dene could not have been created otherwise.

What does the practice have to gain from what you have suggested? Nothing, other than the nightmare responsibility and cost of managing the use of the car park by shoppers whilst avoiding any encroachment on the rightful use by staff and service users.

There is nothing to motivate them to reach such a compromise. If Ms. Edwards wishes to obstruct access, she will obviously find herself facing legal action, and rightly so. Who in their right mind would favour inconsiderate and dangerous parking behaviour over access for doctors/staff/patients to the surgery?

From Andrew Hall
Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Marascalco, as usual, criticises, but adds absolutely nothing to the debate. It is particularly obnoxious that he tries to get a dig in at Tony Buglass ("Are you sure Rev? No burning yearning?") Is this an attempt at humour? How does it advance the argument on the car parking situation at Mytholmroyd?

What he fails to appreciate is that businesses, whatever they are, are dependent on a certain factor. It's something intangible, something that accountants try to put a value on and yet usually fail. It's something that unites, rather than divides communities. It's something that any manager (ok let's be specific here, 'practice manager' ) needs to take into account. And it's something that's in desperate short supply in Mytholmroyd.

It's something that often, on the face of it, appears to cost you with little evident benefit. You may appear to be 'giving' in the short term and getting nothing in return. It relies on a view of the world that is not black and white, and not 'clinical' (a good word in this context). It accepts that, in any circumstance, there needs to be a bit of give and take.

Without it, you have a situation such as we see in Mytholmroyd, where opinions are polarised, and becoming increasingly so. The health centre and the traders are being forced into corners. The whole situation has become confrontational and intransigent. And it won't improve, without this certain factor I'm talking about.

What is it? Well it's a little thing called 'good will', and sadly there's not a lot of it about.

From Rev Tony Buglass
Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Burning yearning? Well, to quote Mr Wesley, my heart was strangely warmed...

What the practice has to gain from such an arrangement is a marked increase in community relations. No bad thing in a health centre, I'd have thought.

As far as Ms Edwards is concerned, I don't think she wishes for one moment to obstruct access to the car park. That would be silly. I think she simply wants to be able to use her own land. I haven't measured, other than a quick look as I've passed, but even with cars on both sides of the lane there appears to be room for a vehicle to come through. Not room for vehicles to pass, but then that's not unusual around here.

At the moment, we have what appears to be an impasse exacerbated by heavy-handed management. It has to be resolved one way or another. I suggested a possible way forward. Like I said, if you have a better idea, let's hear it

From Ian M
Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Rev, I believe I suggested a compromise to this many, many months ago (it feels that long anyway) on this forum.

The solution is this. The traders in the area each lease an ammount of parking spaces from the medical centre, the funds could be used to maintain the car park or to offset the original construction cost. I would suggest three or four nearest their shops, they could even be marked in different coloured paint to easily identify them. Anyone parking there and using the shops would be free from the possibility of being clamped, the rest of the car park would be fair game.

Of course there is the possibilty of people visiting the medical centre and using the shops spaces, but the shop owners could always retain the services of a clamping firm!

From Andrew Hall
Thursday, 19 July 2007

Not a bad idea Ian, but why not go a stage further.

The Health Centre is there for one purpose, to look after the health and well-being of local people. It's not there for traffic management and shouldn't be expected to undertake that role.

Why does it not allow local businesses to run the car park? Surely it would be better to put arrangements into the hands of locals rather than an unscrupulous firm from Keighley. The local businesses could run it as they feel appropriate; if they want ticket machines, fine; if they want to clamp, fine. But any new system would be at their cost and not impinge on the Health Centre's finances.

There would, of course, have to be provisos, one being that visitors to the health centre, be they patients, staff or whatever, should have free parking at all times. Another would be that if any member of staff, patient or visitor to the centre was ever in a position where they could not find a parking space, then the situation would have to revert to former arrangments.

The logistics, the costs, and everything to do with the running of the car park would become the responsibility of those who have most to benefit, ie the traders. Health Centre users would be protected, and good will and community spirit would, hopefully, flourish.

Well that's what I'd do anyhow.