SHOPPERS in Walls-end are set to breathe a sigh of relief once a new nationwide wheel-clamping ban comes into force this autumn.
The change in the law will be given a particularly warm welcome in the town as dozens of motorists have fallen foul of aggressive parking enforcement at the Forum Shopping Centre over recent years.
Come October, it will be illegal to clamp, tow away or immobilise a vehicle without lawful authority to do so, and anyone caught breaking the law could face criminal charges.
North Tyneside MP Mary Glindon is among those outraged by the excessive charges levied at the Forum’s car park for removing clamps.
She has taken the issue up with the British Parking Association after receiving a barrage of complaints from constituents targeted by wheel-clampers.
Mrs Glindon is also concerned that fear of being clamped could be driving business out of the town.
She said: “I shared the hostility of local people and small businesses towards such sharp practice and am glad that it will soon be a thing of the past.
“Such behaviour added another deterrent to local shopping, and we need to increase, not limit, economic activity in order to get out of the economic rut.
“This is good news for shoppers and shops alike.”
Stuart Mitchell, asset manager at NewRiver Retail, owner of the Forum, said: “We have worked closely with the community of Wallsend to bring this aggressive and unreasonable clamping to an end.
“The Forum Shopping Centre has unfortunately been a victim of this behaviour, and we, our retailers and our customers are delighted with the new legislation to bring clamping to an end, which we hope will encourage shoppers back into Wallsend.”