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7th Jul, 2022

Buskers in Stratford are being urged to play by the rules

Catherine Thompson 31st Jul, 2019 Updated: 31st Jul, 2019

BUSKERS in Stratford must play by the rules says Stratforward boss Joe Baconnet.

The Business Improvement District (BID) director admitted busking guidance, drawn up by the town centre management firm, was being ignored by some performers.

The busker’s policy was updated last summer alongside the Musicians Union, after two buskers fought over a lucrative spot.

It recommends a maximum duration of two hours, a regular change of pitches and that sound is not intrusive.

There are also instructions on dealing with complaints which can be elevated to Stratford District Council (SDC) if necessary through a procedure known as a Community Protection Notice.

But the enforcement powers are a last resort and many buskers re ignoring the policy.

Mr Baconnet told the Observer the BID was in talks with SDC over the issue.

He explained: “Some buskers are ignoring the advice they are being given by the town host team. It is a shame because their behaviours will create a hostile environment towards them. Stratford enjoys buskers but they need to be part of the town and not do as they wish.”

The latest development comes following a complaint from former town mayor Cyril Bennis who is urging SDC to enforce the policy by making it law.

He said: “Since the update of the code in June 2018, it is clearly apparent the buskers are playing to their own rules, playing wherever, whenever, and as loudly as they wish, without any regard to the wider local community.

“The town hosts have withdrawn their efforts in asking the buskers to adhere to the code, due to the abuse they receive from the buskers, and the total lack of enforcement power.

“The noise levels have become intolerable and I have received many complaints from individuals and local businesses.

“I feel the best way to deal with this ongoing issue would be to follow the action taken by other local councils, who take responsibility for protection of the community, by organising and enforcing responsible busking by issuing the code as a legal document.”

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