By Daniel Hunter
Government plans to reform local street trading rules could lead to an increase in door-to-door cold callers and put the public at greater risk of falling victim to rogue traders, council leaders are warning.
The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, believes that plans to change street trading laws are unnecessary and risk jeopardising the progress councils have made in tackling the rising tide of cold callers and the nuisance that they cause.
Decisions over whether to allow street traders to set up should be down to councils, and councillors, who understand their neighbourhood and are in daily contact with residents and local businesses.
Council leaders are warning that the planned changes may put vulnerable residents at risk and could lead to a street trade free-for-all that risks driving customers away from the high street at a time when councils are working hard to boost growth.
"Far from encouraging the growth of our high streets, removing the ability of residents, businesses and local authorities to have a say on where street traders can set up threatens to undermine the prosperity of high street shops," Councillor Mehboob Khan, Chairman of the Local Government Association's Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said.
"Residents tell us they are fed up with having a stream of cold callers knocking on their door who intrude on their home life. These callers need to be managed under one consistent framework which can then be locally applied.
"The work local authorities do to regulate street trading protects vulnerable people from rogue traders and rip-off merchants, but also ensures other businesses can prosper too."
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