British Legion banned from Birmingham high street

British Legion collectors will be prevented from collecting in two of Birmingham’s main shopping streets, in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday. Birmingham – like many other towns and cities – has restrictions on the numbers of charities that can be collecting in a particular street at a particular time. And in this case Shelter and Oxfam have already ‘booked’ the street for key days, which means the British Legion can’t go there too. These rules are connected with controls on leafleting and other forms of public petitioning or appeal. Councils are starting to issue licenses – to charge fees, set certain terms,…

Shop owner fined for sticker on a lamppost

A Hull shop owner was fined £75, after a sticker advertising her shop was found on a lamppost. She denies putting it there. But still – it’s a sticker. The po-faced council announced gravely that she had ‘committed an offence of displaying an unlawful advertisement’. What this shows is: first, the increasingly free and easy use of on-the-spot-fines by councils, in a way that lacks all consistency and proportion. Cases that wouldn’t even see a judge – let alone result in a guilty verdict – are being dealt with in this casual and arbitrary manner, delivered in the same way as the…

Leafleteer banned from Portobello Road

An antiques trader has been banned by an exclusion order from areas of the Portobello road, for ‘persistent leafleting and agitation of market traders’. The pensioner, Marion Gettleson, takes a strong stand against planned changes to the market – basically, Kensington and Chelsea council and landlords’ policy to favour big brands over the ‘messy’ traders. One landlord obtained an exclusion order against Marion Gettleson, preventing her from visiting his arcades – showing the legal means available today for clamping down on leafleting and other activities in public space. Our Campaign Against Leafleting Bans focuses on no-leafleting zones, but we are discovering more…