A new survey shows that Big Issue vendors are in the top four of things that detract from people’s visits to Bournemouth.
Town Centre BID conducts a new survey every year asking visitors what they think of Bournemouth. Of those asked in the 2015/16 survey, 30% said that the biggest perceived nuisance was Big Issue sellers.
Liam Fitzmaurice, the service broker at The Big Issue in Bournemouth, said that the number surprises him.
Big Issue Seller, Sharon Tummon from Bournemouth, said that she cannot understand why visitors see them as a nuisance.
Fitzmaurice added, “I don’t think that there is a problem. All our big issue vendors are under a code of conduct that they sign when they start to sell The Big Issue and they agree to abide by this. If they don’t, there are obviously discipline procedures.”
However Bournemouth Resident David Preston said, “One Big Issue seller in Bournemouth was saying to passers-by, ‘You know the deal, you give me money and I give you a rubbish magazine.’ That says it all really.”
Mr Fitzmaurice said, “I hope that’s a one-time thing. I would encourage anyone who has had an experience like that to ring the office so we could have a chat with the vendor.”
“Of course we get complaints, but we try to deal with them appropriately when we have them. I wish there weren’t any, but we don’t have complaints often,” he added.
Manager Steven Hughes from Bournemouth Town Centre BID said, “Big Issue sellers are supposed to stick to set pitches and there are about seven pitches in the town centre. Some people may feel that’s too many in a fairly compact area. People’s perception may also be affected by the number of rough sleepers and beggars in the town. The council and police are trying to get to grips with this problem, which we are told is definitely putting shoppers off from coming into the town centre.”
He added, “I don’t think it’s a huge concern for The Big Issue, but perhaps they could look at reducing the numbers.”