Backing for plans to ban chuggers and tents from Stafford and Stone town centres
Plans to ban “chuggers” and tents from areas in Stafford and Stone town centres have been backed by residents.
More than 350 people had their say on Stafford Borough Council’s new Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs), which are set to replace the ones currently in place.
The current PSPOs, introduced in 2017, give powers to restrict the carrying of open containers of alcohol in certain streets. There are also measures to restrict the number of dogs that can be walked by any one person at a time to four, order dogs to be kept on leads in designated areas and deal with those who fail to clean up their pets’ mess in public places.
Stafford Borough Council is set to continue these restrictions for another three years and extend measures to restrict other activities in Stafford and Stone town centres.
The "problematic behaviours" set to be covered in the new PSPOs for the two town centres include no groups of five or more gathering, no charity or utility canvassers, and no tents.
Anyone caught falling foul of these rules will face a £75 fine – reduced to £50 if paid within 10 days.
Calls to curtail the activities of “chuggers” – paid fundraisers who encourage passers-by to sign up to regular direct debit donations for charities – were first made several years ago by fed-up town centre shoppers and businesses.
A report to Stafford Borough Council’s cabinet meeting on Thursday revealed that 136 people who responded to the consultation on the new measures supported the new restriction on charity and utility canvassers and collectors, with 20 opposing it. And 117 people were in support of the tent restrictions, with 30 against.
But not everyone welcomed the measures, with one person who responded to the consultation saying: "Some of your questions imply plans to persecute those who do not agree with you, charities and poor people in general. Any such policy is unacceptable."
Councillor Jeremy Pert, cabinet member for community, said: "Stafford Borough Council introduced Public Space Protection Orders in October 2017 as part of the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act. These are due to expire in December of this year.
"Following extensive consultation of members of the public, parish councils and the community at large we received 365 responses. I thank everyone who has been involved in that and thank you to officers as it was a major task to get through the responses and understand what people’s concerns are.
"The existing PSPOs are proposed to be carried forward and the two new PSPOs to be introduced are one at Stowe by Chartley to cover the play area and one at Charnley Road, following investment in the open space and play area. These are to enhance areas for every member of the public and everyone using them."