Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Plans for "competent" only buskers

BUSKERS will have to show council officers they are “competent and vibrant performers” after a surge in performers from the recession.


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They will also have to “take care” in how they dress to get a permit to play under the Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council plans.

The council says it has been forced to regulate busking after complaints from shops and a rise in performers due to the recession.

Under new rules, buskers will need an “approval letters” from the council.

The draft rules say: “Letters will only be given to competent and vibrant performers with a varied repertoire.”

It adds: “Buskers should take care of their appearance and the act should be of a quality and skill that entertains people.

“Entertainers shall not dress, act or say anything that is likely to cause alarm, distress or offence to a member of the public.”

The proposed policy also says: “Entertainers who appear to be under the influence of either drugs or alcohol will not be permitted to continue performing and will be reported to West Midlands Police.”

They will be restricted to four places in the town centre, two a month, which must be booked 48 hours in advance and play for no more than 40 minutes with no return within an hour.

Playing will also be restricted to 9.30am to 5.30pm and buskers must lower the volume to “legitimate” complaints and stand where possible.

Until now the council has only drawn up a code of practice which says buskers must get permission from managers of shops they intend to play outside.

It adds they should aim to play for about three hours a day over three sites.

It warns: “If these guidelines are observed the council will not need to take more formal steps to regulate street entertainment in the borough.”

A council report says: “Over the past few years, busking has become a bigger issue than ever before in the town centre.

“This is in part due to the increase in buskers, which we attribute to the current economic climate.”

Performers had doubled to seven to eight a week, it says and “there have been more regular complaints from retailers”.

Unacceptable noise can be regulated through the Environmental Protection Act, it adds.

The four sites are: outside Clarkes or Bodycare in the High Street; outside the Poplar Way entrance in Mell Square; at the Post Office or BHS in Mell Square and outside the entrance to Poplar Way in Poplar Road.

The council will be asked to approve the plans on Monday.

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