Buskers to be controlled by code of conduct

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PLANS have been unveiled to introduce a Code of Conduct for street entertainers in Scarborough.

Scarborough Council has drawn up a draft code in a bid manage buskers on the streets of the town centre, as the authority has no legal powers to stop them.

The code was revealed at Town Centre Traders Group Meeting, organised by the council’s investment manager Nick Taylor.

It includes a guide as to what street entertainers should and should not be doing.

Mr Taylor said: “There is nothing legally we can do to stop buskers. Therefore we need to do something to manage the situation.

“Currently street entertainers don’t need a licence or permit to perform in town. However it is important they show consideration for the local community, business proprietors and shopkeepers to avoid causing problems.

“We get called about two of three times a week to deal with buskers.

“What we need to do is strike a balance, make sure buskers aren’t performing in one place, next to where people work, for hours on end.

“We are not sure how yet but we would also like to do something to ensure the quality of the performer, and attract some high quality buskers who add to the atmosphere of the town centre.

“We could even have a Scarborough busking festival as some other towns and cities do.”

The code of conduct suggests street entertainers should stop performing if they are requested to do so, avoid sites near public telephones and entrances to shops, and try to co-ordinate with other buskers.

They should also be careful not to build up an audience in a position where they may come in to conflict with traffic.

In addition buskers are asked to demonstrate a positive intention to entertain passers-by, and not solicit money through sympathy.

In the ‘should not’ section of the code street entertainers are advised not to cause a nuisance from loud or amplified music, not to perform for more than two hours in the same location, and not to set up within 50 metres of another busker.

They are also prohibited from selling merchandise, and should not perform while under the influence of either drugs or alcohol.

If buskers want to collect money for charity they need to have a specific licence granted by the council’s licensing services.

The Town Centre Traders Group Meeting, during which the draft code was issued, was attended by a number of Scarborough’s regular street entertainers.

They generally agreed with the code, stating “most things on here we do already”.

They did however raise issues about protection for street entertainers. Some felt they had been targeted by gangs of youths.