A range of proposals to better manage buskers and street entertainers across the West End has been launched by Westminster City Council to ensure everyone can enjoy street performances in central London.
Performances from musicians, magicians, comedians, artists and dancers are common on West End streets, but every year Westminster receives around 1,800 complaints relating to noise, obstructions and overcrowding caused by street entertainers.
In January this year we consulted on proposals to regulate busking in key areas of the West End which generate the majority of complaints. It was developed following many months of engagement with residents, businesses and street entertainers locally. In response to the plans, many residents and business respondents expressed concern about the effects of displacement to streets outside the licenced areas, and we are now proposing to extend the licensing scheme across the West End and surrounding areas in light of this feedback.
Cllr Heather Acton, Westminster City Council Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Licensing said:
“We deal with around 1,800 complaints a year from residents and businesses over excessive noise and overcrowding caused by street entertainers and want to strike the right balance so everyone can continue to enjoy performances on our streets.
“We’ve listened to feedback and developed our approach after extensive engagement with key groups including residents, businesses and the busking community itself. We will now launch a consultation on these plans and want as many people as possible to give us their views on our proposals.”
As well as the introduction of licencing in the West End, the council will promote membership of the Westminster Busking and Street Entertainment Forum, and also encourage performers to adhere to a Code of Conduct that aims to ensure their acts are safe and they are considerate of both the local community and other performers.