CHARITY fund-raisers who fill sections of Northampton’s main shopping street most days of the week could soon be banned from the town.
In a surprise announcement made during a meeting of Northampton Borough Council last night, the leader of the authority, Councillor David Mackintosh (Con, Rectory Farm) said the council would seek a ban on aggressive charity collectors –who are disparagingly known as ‘chuggers’ or ‘charity muggers’.
Speaking to the Chron after the meeting, he said: “We want people to feel welcome and able to relax when visiting our town centre, but unfortunately we often hear that shoppers feel intimidated and pressured by these ‘Chuggers’ when they’re trying to go about their business.
“We have no issue with charities trying to raise money or awareness in our town, but it’s clear that we need to take action when that is in any way aggressive or obstructive.”
Across the country, councils in Burnley and Wolverhampton have already brought in bans on ‘chugging’ in certain areas of their town centres on certain days of the week.
The move to bring similar legislation to Northampton has been welcomed by both shoppers and town centre workers.
Commenting on the Chron’s Facebook page last night, Lisa Tipler said: “If people want to donate, they do it in their own time when they want, It’s not nice being harassed in the street.”
Angela Bruce, added: “Walking down Abington Street is like running a gauntlet.
“Is it any wonder people shop online now, for that harassment-free experience?”
Town centre worker, Martin Dix, also said he was regularly approached by collectors, adding: “It’s really annoying especially when you work in Abington Street.
“I get asked on the way into work, on my lunch break and then again on my way home.”
Officials from the borough council will now investigate what can be done to regulate the number of charity workers there are in the town centre.
The issue will then be taken to the council’s leading cabinet.