A shopkeeper’s boss has warned “war” will break out on Lancashire’s high streets if new laws are passed to allow street sellers more freedom.
Elaine Silverwood, the award-winning bookseller who heads the Kirkham and Wesham Business Group, said the so-called ‘pedlar’s law’ being consulted on by Government would see streets flooded with traders.
She fears it could lead to organised gangs selling stolen goods and driving people away from key shopping districts.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is consulting councils across the country on plans to overhaul the laws on peddling because of new European laws.
Mrs Silverwood, who sells ice cream and coffee at her Silverdell Books shop in Kirkham, said she was being supported by both The Book Sellers’ Association and the Ice Cream Alliance and Fylde Council in her opposition to the proposals.
She said: “You are giving these people freedom to come anywhere and sell whatever they like at just a fraction of the overheads of those traders who make the high street what it is.
“These proposals are will create a high street war among these people, there is just too many loopholes for people to exploit.
“No-one has any idea who is going to enforce it whether it is the council’s licensing department, the police or whoever.”
She said the Government was “deluded” to think the changes being consulted on until February 18 would improve the high street.
In its consultation document, BIS said it wanted to look at ways of making regulation around street trading “more proportionate and effective.”
It is also looking at relaxing rules on door-to-door selling to bring it into line with European laws.
Consumer affairs minister Jo Swinson said: “The changes we are proposing will help to eliminate barriers to street traders.”