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Views needed on Norwich chuggers

PUBLISHED: 15:00 17 February 2010 | UPDATED: 08:13 02 July 2010

Sam Emanuel

Calls have been made for people to give their views on any issues they have with of charity street fundraisers, pedlars and aggressive beggars operating in Norwich.

Calls have been made for people to give their views on any issues they have with of charity street fundraisers, pedlars and aggressive beggars operating in Norwich.

Julian Foster, head of the city centre Safer Neighbourhood Action Panel (SNAP), is asking people to contact him about the issue, so that the panel can decide if there is a demand for street fundraising and begging activities in the city centre to be limited.

The Evening News reported earlier this month on fears that charity workers were putting shoppers off visiting the city had prompted the panel to set tackling the issue as one of its three priorities.

Mr Foster said today: “The SNAP partners' panel met again last Thursday to start putting ideas together as to how we shall deal with these priorities and it seems clear that to be fair and to respond with action that is proportionate, we must first ascertain just how much nuisance is caused by the activities of all three, so we need to know how much people of Norwich regard them as a nuisance.

“The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA) stipulates in its code of practice the number of “chuggers” that may be on a street at any one time, and they specify that, when the public are approached, the conversation must be polite and respectful and it must be made absolutely clear what the intention of the conversation is.

“No such rules, of course, apply in law to pedlars or beggars. So I, as Chairman of the City Centre Safer Neighbourhood Action Panel, am seeking the assistance of the Evening News to ask its readers to write in, email or call to give a clear indication as to how annoyed or upset they are about the behaviour of all three categories - “chuggers”, pedlars and aggressive beggars, so that my panel may know.”

Chuggers, also sometimes branded 'charity muggers', are people who ask members of the public to sign up to pay standing orders and direct debits to charities. Because the practice does not involve any exchange of cash they do not need a licence from Norwich City Council.

Stefan Gurney of Norwich City Centre Partnership (NCCP) had raised the issue at a previous SNAP meeting, saying: “I received several complaints from shoppers around Christmas in Gentleman's Walk. They said they felt intimidated by so many different people approaching them in the street and that it had put them off coming.”

To contact Mr Foster with your views, email julianf.foster@btopenworld.com, and to give us your views on the issue, write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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