A new Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) is under consultation at the moment, and it is proposing that buskers and street performers:
- Can only perform in a limited number of authorised busking pitches
- Can not sell CDS or distribute promotional material whilst performing
Nottingham City Council and Nottingham Police have made it very clear that this is not a war on buskers and they are still very welcoming of music and street performers in the city. This PSPO is primarily targeting anti social noise in residential areas after hours, people using busking as way of begging, and people collecting for charity or sales without correct licensing.
However, this order has been written without consultation with any members of the busking community in Nottingham and we believe that the two above points will cause us all problems with busking in the future. The order will go for approval on the 3rd of October and so we need to make our voices heard before then, for our opinions to be considered. If not, then busking in an incorrect location and selling CDs could potentially result in penalty charges and court hearings resulting in large fines. This is not what we want!
We are suggesting that:
- Rather than having a small number of designated busking pitches, there are agreed 'no busking zones'. Buskers can then consult a simple and dedicated written guide, use common sense and courtesy to choose their locations, and work respectfully with local businesses and residential areas. If these scheme is deemed unsuitable, then the council must at least agree to open a clear dialogue with buskers so we can establish a wider choice of busking pitches.
- Distributing original material is very important to buskers and musicians. It helps us get gigs, reach out to fans and make more money from our musical careers. There is a legal grey area with selling CDs, and this legality has been extensively disputed between buskers and local councils all over the country. Whilst we are within our rights to give out CD's to the public if they request them and the exchange of money is considered a donation, if this cannot continue legally we are suggesting a license scheme for buskers to trade. Bristol has one in place currently and it costs a reasonable £12 a year.
- As we are aware that night time busking can cause complaints around residential areas, to reduce conflict with community officers and intoxicated members of the public, we are suggesting that late night busking is still actively encouraged in the city centre, but that there are curfews in residential areas so we are not keeping people awake at night. There are many viable areas that can be allocated to play music freely, that will not affect residents or local businesses. Late night busking is as important to Nottingham as day time busking and needs to be protected.
As many of you are musicians, lovers of music and proud residents of Nottingham we hope that you will support this cause and sign this petition to encourage the council and the police to take this seriously.
The more support we have for this the more likely we are to be listened to! We only have until October 3rd to let them know how we feel before the order is finalised.
(If you want to read the proposed PSPO you can find it here)