Covent Garden: Westminster Council Seeks Public Input on New Busker Regulations
Westminster Council has invited the public to participate in a consultation regarding new regulations for Covent Garden buskers.
The council is considering measures to ensure compliance with a licensing system established in 2021, despite opposition from the Covent Garden Street Performers Association (CGSPA). These performers argue that stringent rules are forcing them off the streets.
The proposed regulations attempt to balance performer support with concerns about noise, congestion, and the suitability of performance spaces.
The suggestions include enforcing laws alongside police, restricting the use of amplifiers, limiting the number of performers, and designating specific performance areas.
Additionally, a licensing fee of £20 to £30, with a concession for students, is under consideration. The consultation period is set for January 8 to March 18 of the following year.
Councillor Aicha Less has emphasized that the policies aim to protect the heritage of street entertainment in Westminster, ensuring it remains safe and responsible. Covent Garden, boasting a 400-year history of busking, has been a starting point for several now-famous British celebrities.
Ahead of the meeting, CGSPA representative Pete Kolofsky defended the significance of Covent Garden as a cultural venue and highlighted that noise complaints involving performers were minimal.
He also mentioned that local businesses largely support the association. The CGSPA believes that their current system of self-regulation, including public liability insurance and risk assessments for performers, is effective.