AN OUTRAGED resident says he might be forced to move home because of noisy buskers affecting his mental health.
Mark Morris said the new busking policy recreated by Stratforward Business Improvement District (BID) had ‘no teeth’ and musicians outside his home continued to use unnecessary amplification for more than the two hours recommended by the policy.
Mr Morris said: “I have to consider moving home if the situation fails to improve. Every passing day increases anxiety, stress and eats away at my mental health. Even when it is quiet, I remain on edge knowing the next intrusion will be along soon.
“A guitarist who cranked up his amplifier after my polite request to turn it down, played from 4.30pm to at least 8.30pm. I say ‘at least’ because I could not stay any longer in my own home and was forced to leave.”
The new policy drawn up by Stratforward alongside the Musicians Union over the use of powerful amplification, followed increased complaints from residents and businesses.
The policy provides 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 (CPN).
But Mr Morris remained unconvinced by the addition to the policy.
He added: “If it falls short of large, clear signs that strictly prohibit busking, coupled with significant fines, it will prove useless.”
Following the complaint from Mr Morris, former mayor Juliet Short is planning a meeting between councillors, officers, Stratforward and the affected residents.
She said if it was not addressed now, the problem would escalate.
Stratforward BID director Joe Baconnet has defended the new code saying the statutory enforcement element could help crackdown on over-amplification and added the policy was similar to those in big cities.
But he agreed there were still some issues.
He added: “There are busk stops contained within most busking policies, but the sensitive nature of large parts of Stratford meant we pushed for their inclusion. Unfortunately, due to some of the issues we have faced, these may be reviewed again.
“Busking by its nature means that the sound levels of the activity should be just above background noise. As we have had to point out, Stratford is not Wembley or the O2. I believe a lot of our buskers have forgotten what the definition of busking is.
“Busking has been widely supported by many businesses and the public, but the impact on certain businesses and residents directly affected has been significant at certain times. The town hosts have spent a disproportionate amount of their time responding to complaints about busking.
“We have a number of complaints that will find their way to final warnings from us, before being passed to SDC.”