STREET charity collectors will be completely banned from Worcester on weekends - and excluded from all but two parts of the city in a hard-hitting crackdown.
The city council has struck a ground-breaking agreement to limit the irritation to shoppers by so-called ‘chuggers’.
The new deal states:
- Collectors are banned on weekends, and during the week are only allowed in on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
- Only four chuggers can be in the whole of Worcester at any one time
- The quartet must split into two groups and can only operate in two of three specified locations
- The three possible locations are The Shambles (M&S to Argos), the High Street (HMV to WHSmiths) or the bottom of the High Street (the old Waterstones shop to the Elgar statue)
Under the changes, they are also barred from the city until 10am and cannot go within three metres of anyone in a queue.
Before now chuggers had no restrictions in Worcester, leading to fierce criticism they were putting people off the city by roaming around in groups of half a dozen or more.
Traders have welcomed the move - but insist council chiefs must make sure the agreement is actively monitored.
Tim Smith, who runs F Durrant & Son in Mealcheapen Street, said: “I’ve been banging on about this for ages and it’s a good thing, but they’ve got to enforce it.”
The agreement has been struck with the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA), which represents all the charities actively staffing city streets.
Councillor Paul Denham, chairman of Worcester’s licensing committee, said: “It took a lot of work to get this deal and I’m satisfied with it.
“It will make sure people don’t feel like they are being ganged up on.
“I’m confident about it because the charities need this to work too - they know that if it doesn’t we will know about it, and the Government has already said it is willing to legislate.”
The deal also says the council reserves the right to refuse chuggers access on days where special events are planned, like markets or street entertainment.
They are also banned from approaching groups of six people or more, and must stay at least one metre away from shops and kerbs.
The PFRA has agreements with 56 areas nationwide, and subject to a debate by the licensing committee tomorrow, Worcester will become number 57.
Spokesman Ian MacQuillin said: “We are satisfied with the deal and think it is reasonable for all parties.”