Consultation on new St Albans busking guidelines opens soon

PUBLISHED: 17:00 27 January 2018

A busker in St Albans.

A busker in St Albans.

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What do you think of the new rules proposed for St Albans buskers?

A busker outside Jack Wills in St Albans.A busker outside Jack Wills in St Albans.

A suggested code of conduct soon out for consultation forbids St Albans performers to be heard beyond 30 metres, obstruct pedestrians, solicit contributions from audiences, or use amplification and loud instruments like trumpets and drums.

Guidelines banning staying in the same spot for more than an hour, returning to the same pitch twice in one day, and setting up shop 50 metres from the first place were removed from the rules by St Albans district council’s licensing and regulatory committee on Tuesday.

Chair of the committee, Cllr Richard Curthoys, explained: “There was a couple of things that the officers suggested which we thought were a bit unnecessary.”

He used the local ukulele band Katie’s Jumping Fleas to illustrate that “by the time they set up and got into one or two songs they would have had to move on”.

Adding: “The main thing that causes issue particularly is about making too much noise with unnecessary amplification. People say ‘we love hearing buskers’ and that’s fine, but they don’t live in the city centre and some people do.

“We want to encourage buskers and the message is not anti-busking, we want quality people with quality busking.”

For the future, he suggested marking out dedicated busking spots similar to the system in London, “if we had the space somewhere”.

A public consultation on the plan will run for eight weeks, starting soon.

The Keeping Streets Live Campaign and the Musicians’ Union will be approached for their opinion.

Cllr Curthoys said after the summer they will monitor how the guidelines were received and reassess if they need to be converted into an enforceable bylaw.

There is already a bylaw regarding busking in St Albans, which states nobody can make “any noise which is so loud or so continuous or repeated as to give reasonable cause for annoyance to other persons in the vicinity”.

Performers are also currently obligated to stop if asked by police or council officers. View the plans at www.stalbans.gov.uk

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