A guide to set out expectations for busking in Bath has been launched to encourage a vibrant and pleasant atmosphere for locals, traders and visitors in Bath.
The Busking Guide has been put together as part of Bath & North East Somerset Council’s targeted approach to amplified busking in the city, after the Council decided against an outright ban on it last year following public consultation.
Following this decision, there were offers of support from Bath Abbey, Bath Business Improvement District, the Musicians Union, Keep Streets Live, and local buskers represented by Steve Robinson, which resulted in a review of the buskers’ voluntary code of practice and the convening of a buskers liaison group that continues the positive conversation.
All those involved have agreed that the situation has already improved greatly as a result of this cooperation, and the new guide has been drawn up as a result of this work.
Councillor Martin Veal (Conservative, Bathavon North), Cabinet Member for Community Services and Chair of the Bath Busking Forum, said: “Street entertainers add to the vibrant character of Bath so it has been vital to work together to create the new Busking Guide.
“The guide provides information for buskers and other performers about the standards and expectations of the Council, as well as businesses and residents, to ensure that there is mutual respect and consideration between everyone involved.”
The Reverend Prebendary Edward Mason, Rector of Bath Abbey, said: “The Busking Guide is a really positive step.
“It demonstrates what can be achieved if different interest groups are committed to listening to one another and working together for good.
“It’s our hope that the Guide will really help businesses, street musicians and the Abbey to build good relationships in the interests of a thriving community.
“Honestly, we’ve worked hard to do this and we could be an example for other cities.”
Louise Prynne, Chief Executive of the Bath Business Improvement District (BID), said: “From the perspective of businesses in the city centre there needs to be a balance found whereby buskers can add to the ambience and attractiveness of the city without negatively impacting on business.
“Over-loud amplification, and even too-often-repeated songs have been problems in the past. If you are passing through you may not notice it, but it can affect people working in shops and offices.
“The BID hopes that the new guidelines offer a sensible and positive solution to keeping Bath resounding with music and without causing problems for the business community.”
It is hoped that the new guide will result in a continuing decrease in complaints made about busking.
However, if necessary, the Council can use Community Protection Notices under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2015, which allows the Council to target individuals who are not adhering to the rules.