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Shopkeepers call for limits after being driven mad by repetitive buskers

PUBLISHED: 19:56 13 September 2018

Buskers playing the same songs in the same spots have seen Diss traders call for limits. Picture: Getty

Buskers playing the same songs in the same spots have seen Diss traders call for limits. Picture: Getty

Christian Müller

Traders in a Norfolk town are calling for the introduction measures to curb busking after becoming fed up with streets performers singing the same songs for hours on end.

Mere Street in Diss which is a popular locations with buskers. Picture: Sonya DuncanMere Street in Diss which is a popular locations with buskers. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Members of Diss Heritage Traders are urging action to bring in a code of conduct with ideas ranging from limiting the time buskers can stay in one spot to bringing in a license.

Mere Street in the town attracts regular buskers but at little more than 100m in length it often features the same performers singing the same songs.

Sue Kiddie, who owns clothing shop Tatters, said: “We get the same songs played time and again and sometimes it is from 9am right though the day. It drives you mad.

Diss shop owners Sue Kiddie and Birgitte Mager. Pictures: Archant LibraryDiss shop owners Sue Kiddie and Birgitte Mager. Pictures: Archant Library

“We’d just like to see something introduced that would mean they played for a couple of hours and then had to move on.”

Birgitte Mager, who runs Diss Publishing Bookshop, said: “I feel the town council needs to look at selling licences that would limit busking to two hours at a time in any one place and then busking wouldn’t be the nuisance that it is now.”

Several towns in Norfolk already operate busking codes of conduct. King’s Lynn advises buskers not to play for more than an hour in any location. North Norfolk Council’s Busker’s Code of Practice urges performers to move at least 50 metres after one hour.

Norwich City Council’s code of conduct warns against repetitive sounds such as percussion, beatboxing, highly amplified guitars and piercing sounds like bagpipes.

Mayor Trevor Wenman said Diss Town Council was still working on a voluntary code but felt a formal licensing policy would be overkill.

“Generally speaking busking in the town centre is a nice feature,” he said. “There are occasions where individual buskers may not be quite as popular and that is part of the reason why we are looking at trying to come up with a voluntary code.

Soprano busker Hayley Moss who proved popular in Norwich where the council has a busking code of conduct. Picture: Steve AdamsSoprano busker Hayley Moss who proved popular in Norwich where the council has a busking code of conduct. Picture: Steve Adams

“If you have the same busker playing the same songs for three of four hours at a time it can become very wearisome. That is something we’d like to address, but they aren’t doing anything illegal, unless they commit any sort of offence.”

A busker playing guitar on Mere Street, who preferred not to be named, referring to herself instead as ‘the girl with dreads’, said: “I try to be considerate and I don’t try to impose my music on other people. I avoid places like cafes where people are sat outside or places with open doors. If someone comes out and politely asks then I’m happy to move, though in Diss there are only a few places.

“I do it because I love music and meeting people but some people do it because they need money to pay the bills. People need to consider the reasons why people busk.”

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