Published: 00:01, 25 November 2018
Fed-up city centre residents want “ear-splitting” buskers to change their ways and stop treating a city like Wembley Stadium.
The call for action comes after concerns were raised over the council’s approach to dealing with loud street performers in Canterbury.
Buskers are meant to adhere to a stringent 10-page code-of-conduct rule book, but residents say amplified music is causing an underestimated level of grief and want enforcement officers to crack the whip.
Taking formal action, however, would only be a last resort from the thinly-stretched council - which admits it has never used busking enforcement powers.
Speaking at Monday night’s Canterbury Forum meeting, BBC reporter Simon Jones, who lives in the heart of the city, said: “If you run a bar or pub, you have to jump through hoops for noise levels, so I don’t understand why buskers are allowed loud amplification - it’s like a concert at Wembley.
"It might take several hours to send an officer down - they just carry on playing at an ear-splitting volume.
“It beggars belief that anyone can turn up and play."
“If you run a bar or pub, you have to jump through hoops for noise levels..." Simon Jones
If a passer-by or resident has an issue with a busker, the council’s advice is to first approach the performer during a break and ask them to tone it down.
If that fails, an authority officer should be contacted and they will assess the situation - which could finally end up with enforcement action.
Mr Jones, who says music is played as late as 10pm, added: “It’s naive to expect residents and shop owners to go out and have a polite word with the buskers. I have seen the way they react when officers speak with them. You’ve underestimated the grief they are causing, there is absolutely no enforcement.”
The authority’s head of safer neighbourhoods, Doug Rattray, admitted at Monday’s meeting that enforcement officers are usually deployed elsewhere.
In contrast to the negativity surrounding buskers’ behaviour, Jack Lowe and Jules Madjar said there are rarely any issues.
Mr Lowe said: “Some need to have amplification as their voice cannot be heard over the usual street noise.”
The city council has taken influence from Liverpool, where the busking rules have created a harmonious relationship between residents, visitors and performers.
In Canterbury, buskers are advised to avoid repetition with their song list, be willing to negotiate over volume levels and perform for a maximum of 45 continuous minutes.