Code of conduct for town’s street entertainers

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A code of conduct has been drawn up by the town council to try and stop annoying buskers in the town.

Councillors agreed unanimously to adopt the document which has been drawn up after a number of complaints about some street entertainers, in particular around the Church Street, Sandgate and Bridge Street areas of town.

Although at the moment street entertainers don’t need a licence or permit to perform in the town it is hoped the code of conduct will help avoid problems between street entertainers, shops, businesses and the public.

It says: “This code of conduct was written to prevent street entertainment from becoming intrusive and an annoyance to people -usually by loud, continuous or repetitive noise.”

It goes on to recommend that street entertainers should positively try to entertain passers-by and not elicit money through sympathy; stop performing if asked to do so by the police, a council officer, shop-holder or resident; avoid sites near to phone boxes, shop doorways and cash machines; be careful about building up an audience which might come into conflict with traffic and be over the age of 16.

The code of conduct also features a list of issues for buskers to avoid and says street entertainers should not cause a nuisance from loud or amplified music; perform for more than 40 minutes in the same location; set up within 50 metres of another street entertainer who is already performing; sell merchandise such as tapes, cds or t-shirts; actively collect money, although donations from the public can be accepted; collect for a charity unless they have a licence from the borough council; make use of street furniture, spread out equipment to cause an obstruction to the highway, perform in a dangerous manner or perform under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

At earlier meetings Coun Phil Trumper had suggested adopting the code of conduct - a similar document is already in place in Scarborough - and extending it to Whitby.

At Tuesday night’s Whitby Town Council meeting he said: “Can I propose we distribute it to the police, the Whitby Gazette and people around that area that are plagued by buskers. It is Church Street, Sandgate and Bridge Street where we tend to get a lot of nuisance buskers.”

Mayor, Coun John Freeman added: “I propose we print off 100 and take them to these places and residents close to these areas. It shows another pro-active Whitby Town Council initiative.”