Hornchurch’s “huge sigh of relief” at clampers notice to quit

LBS Enforcement asked to leave by landowners

TRADERS and residents have reacted with joy to the news that hated clampers LBS Enforcement have been asked to leave a patch of land in Hornchurch.

Discount traders Circle 7, which contracted the clampers to keep its loading bay free at the back of its new Hornchurch High Street shop, gave LBS 28-days notice last week, saying they were “out of control”, after local traders grouped together to warn drivers off the land.

Restaurateur Gina Medaglia, who runs Umberto’s in Hornchurch High Street and owns the land next to Circle 7’s, held an anti-clamp stakeout in her car over two afternoons and evenings warning people away.

She said she was prompted to act after an 80-year-old customer was allegedly blocked in by LBS when she tried to do a three point turn into Mrs Medaglia’s car park.

The company declined to comment.

Mrs Medaglia said: “People power has triumphed – I knew it would.”

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However she doubted the clampers would have been given their marching orders if she had not threatened to hand out leaflets asking Hornchurch shoppers to boycott the new Circle 7 store.

Meanwhile, however, the company continues to make hundreds of pounds from hapless drivers in Hornchurch.

Unemployed Charlie Whait, 59, of Mawney Road, Romford, was charged �824 to retrieve his car after attending an evening jive class at the Royal British Legion in Hornchurch High Street.

He said did not see the LBS signs in the dark and only found out his car had been towed from a passerby who heard him calling the police.

“It really wound me up; there’s nothing you can do about it. I couldn’t sleep afterwards,” he said. “I’m glad they’ll be gone soon.”

Duty manager at Ladbrokes, on the other side of the clamping zone, Terry O’Leary, said: “The community has stood up to them. Before it was quite a downcast area and now there’s a huge sigh of relief and people are feeling a bit more jubilant,” he said.

Mr O’Leary, a law graduate, added that he found it unusual the company could hold Circle 7 to a notice period when there was no money changing hands between the two firms.

Circle 7’s management team continue to apologise for booking the clampers and have offered permits to neighbouring businesses to park without penalty.