NEW BUSKER’S POLICY SET TO HIT THE RIGHT NOTE WITH STRATFORD BUSINESSES
A new Busker’s Policy for Stratford-upon-Avon has been launched aimed at enhancing the visitor experience to the town and making it easier to deal with those street entertainers who do not play by the rules.
The revised policy has been drawn up by Stratforward Business Improvement District (BID) working alongside the Musicians Union following increasing levels of concerns, mainly relating to sound levels due to amplification, from businesses, visitors, residents and fellow buskers.
Stratforward BID Director Joe Baconnet said: “This does not mean that buskers are not welcome in Stratford, far from it. Our street entertainers are famous across the globe and loved by the millions of visitors who flock here every year. In recent times a small minority have seemingly disregarded the previous policy and caused problems for visitors and local businesses as well as fellow buskers who do adhere to them.
He added: “This new policy is all about us working together to enhance the visitor experience to the town and avoid confrontational situations. It aims to empower everyone to solve problems quickly and easily on the street, and to ensure performers are treated fairly and can make a positive contribution to the life of Stratford.
“While the majority of buskers are a wonderful addition to Stratford’s street, this policy will make it easier to enforce against the small minority who cause a persistent, negative impact on businesses or the public."
The new policy gives step-by-step instructions on how to deal with complaints, and uses the Community Protection Notice (CPN) procedure to ensure complaints can be enforced if required. While it encourages cooperation to resolve any issues, breaches of the policy and continued, persistent non-compliance can be enforced through these CPNs which will be enforced by Stratford District Council. Part of anti-social behaviour legislation, a Community Protection Notice (CPN) is aimed to prevent unreasonable behaviour that is having a negative impact on the local community's quality of life - particularly around noise.
The new Busker’s Policy was drawn up by Stratforward, which works on behalf of nearly 430 businesses in Stratford town centre, after they highlighted busking as an area they would like more support in.
The document is aimed to make sure businesses, visitors and buskers in Stratford-upon-Avon get a positive experience from the street entertainment.
Accompanied by a map to illustrate the designated busk pitches throughout Stratford, the policy includes advice to buskers on the following:-
- Performance advice
- Safety and access advice
- Guidance on amplification
- Noise sensitive locations
- The Buskers Voluntary Registration Scheme
Mr Baconnet said: “The effective enforcement powers - an approach advocated by the Musician’s Union - are available as a last resort to deal with any individual persistently causing a negative impact by acting unreasonably.
“The idea is that busking should be a positive experience for all, but we know in a small minority cases that some buskers do not consider their impact on others.
“We try and ensure this policy is followed by every busker, but we rely on the goodwill and professionalism of all our performers, as well as that of residents, businesses and visitors in the town to ensure that things run smoothly and for everyone’s benefit.”
The new Busker’s Policy remains in place throughout the year and is available online at www.stratforward.co.uk. The policy is subject to change, and in the event of any changes, an up-to-date copy will be available online.