PLANS to ban cold calling in a town have hit a setback.
Mirfield Town Council is to discuss making the whole town a ‘no cold calling’ zone, so protecting people from doorstep traders.
Plans are in place to impose the scheme, which would bar both bogus traders and genuine salespeople from knocking on doors.
But Kirklees councillor Martyn Bolt, a supporter of the scheme said it had suffered a temporary setback.
He said: “We are hoping to make the whole town a ‘no cold calling, zone.
“But at the moment we can’t do anything because the Office of Fair Trading says we would be infringing on people’s civil liberties by stopping people cold calling in an area as big as Mirfield.
“They are concerned about us making 8,000 houses a no cold calling zone, so unless we say that we’re only going to include certain streets or just homes lived in by the elderly then we can’t do it.’’
He added: “But we can’t just go and make streets X to Y no cold calling zones, because the people on the other streets would be saying ‘why are you picking them and not me?’ ”
The scheme, supported by police and trading standards officials, would operate along the same lines as other no cold calling initiatives that have been successfully introduced in several local areas, including Emley and Kirkburton.
To discourage rogue traders signs go up on main roads saying the zone is in place. People in such areas are also given stickers for their windows and a phone number to report any cold callers.
If the Mirfield scheme is introduced it would be the biggest area in Kirklees to ban cold callers.
Clr Bolt, who represents Mirfield on Kirklees, said: “I think the people of Mirfield would welcome the ban. I can’t see many people objecting to it.
“Such schemes have been very successful where they have been implemented.
“We’re not seeking to stop legitimate businesses, but there are so many rogue traders out there and we want to be able to protect our residents from them.”
Clr Bolt added: “We’re being told that it’s an infringement on people’s liberties. But what about infringing upon people in their homes?
“It would be a shame if the people of Mirfield can’t be afforded the same protection from cold callers as others who are part of the scheme.
“But I’m hoping that it’s a temporary hiccup and we will be able to resolve the problem soon.”
There are several reasons why councillors are keen to introduce the scheme to Mirfield.
It not only protects residents from having to deal with unsolicited salespeople, but it also helps them avoid bogus tradesmen conning them into shelling out a lot of money for bad or unnecessary work.
Cold calling is also often linked to crime, from confidence tricks to more serious attacks.