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GUEST,ET Sign a E Petition to 10 Downing St PELs (506* d) RE: Sign a E Petition to 10 Downing St PELs 25 Jan 03

Have read the Weymouth Situation. The so called de-regulation bill will make matters far worse. I have sought legal opinion on the position of buskers also. This is my view but will take this up further when had that advice.

----------------------------------------------------------------------On this subject I wonder if I have stumbled upon an issue that may cause even Howells some concern.

It is that of Buskers and the Act.

He says that whilst some buskers are unpleasant (presumably the music) others brighten up dark corners of our land.

How could they operate in his regime?   He acknowledges for the first time that regulation covers open air performances. Buskers play to the public for money in the open air. So they need a licence. But they cannot have a premise license because although premise means place (ie an apple means an orange!) they do not operate from one place. They could hardly have a licence for the whole of Birmingham for example.   So they need an event notice? But they can only have 5 each per annum, and how, if they play in a pedestrian street as most do, do they limit the "audience" to 500. How wide is their catchment area?   Howells cheerfully talks about choirs getting the local railway station to apply for an event licence (did I read this in Network Rails strategic plan?). But will an empty shop owner make such an application for a busker. Or will the owner of a pedestrian place apply (the local authority for example applying to itself?)


I think the act itself as drafted will criminalise buskers everywhere. Jails are going to become even fuller, if more pleasant places to be!


I live not far from York. York City has some of the best buskers in the land. Many are young music students supplementing their grant or reducing student loans by playing Bach in Stonegate - to the obvious delight of the thousands of tourist. They will start there careers I fear with criminal convictions if this bill goes through.


I wonder if you agree with my interpretation? I will put this to Howells directly but I think he regards me with contempt. Is this not the sort of issue the gutter press (operating in the same place as Buskers) would take up.   I would be happy to draft an article for them!!

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