Wednesday, 24 December 2008

New council code aims to reduce busking complaints

BUSKERS and street entertainers in West Somerset are being given more protection from complaints under a new code of practice which has been launched by the district council.
The new code is intended to help performers avoid complaints and stay on the right side of the law.
Council licensing committee chairman Councillor Jenny Hill said buskers were sometimes reported as a public disturbance or annoyance, quite often without the buskers realising there was a problem.
If a performer was the subject of recurring complaints, the council would take action under the Environment Protection Act 1990 which could include seizure of musical instruments and amplifiers.
Councillor Hill said: “We would only resort to these measures if other forms of action had failed, as busking and other forms of street entertainment provide pleasure to many people. We want to see that continue.
“Our role is to ensure buskers maintain their place in creating a vibrant atmosphere and providing entertainment while staying within the law.
“That way, we are fulfilling our obligation to the performers and public alike.”
Under the new code of practice, anybody who is disturbed by busking should first approach the buskers to politely explain their concern before resorting to complaining to the council.
Councillor Hill said street entertainers were often unaware of the problem they might be causing, and most would happily reduce noise levels once alerted.
Street entertainment should only be reported West Somerset Council’s Licensing Team if a problem persisted.
Reports can be made by calling 01643 703704.

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