Otley’s first no cold-calling zones are about to come into force.

The local Neighbourhood Watch scheme announced its hopes of banning unsolicited doorstep trading across the whole town last year.

That goal is still some way off, but the first step towards it will be taken on Monday, March 26, when No Cold-Calling Zone street signs go up on Station Road, the Wrenbeck estate and The Whartons.

They will be followed by other areas all over town in a staged roll-out that Otley Neighbourhood Watch’s Pauline Hanson hopes will make a real difference to residents’ lives, as well as their security.

She said: “Residents are wanting this because they are fed up of having people coming into their areas and knocking on their doors trying to get them to buy things.

“We hope they will notice a real difference when these zones come into force – especially our older people, who are particularly vulnerable because they don’t like to just turn people away.

“From March 26 the signs will be going up on the first streets and we’ll be distributing leaflets, explaining how it all works and who to ring if they keep being pestered, to all the houses in the area. They will also include window stickers for people to put up.

“And our streets will be listed on the West Yorkshire Trading Standards website, which the big contractors can check, as being no cold-calling zones – and anyone who ignores that can be reprimanded.”

The Otley initiative is being backed by £3,000 of Town Council funding, and will be officially launched at Otley All Saints Parish Church, when Neighbourhood Watch members will be joined by councillors and police and trading standards representatives.

Pauline hopes as many watch co-ordinators as possible will get along for the ceremony, from 2pm, and is planning to hold a public information session about the project, at the Courthouse, in the coming months.

Only areas with a Neighbourhood Watch group can take advantage of the new zones, so she is also hoping to hear from residents interested in setting up groups in areas that are currently not covered.