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Busking in Hemel Hempstead town centre

Busking and other forms of street entertainment are welcomed in Hemel Hempstead. Good street entertainment can enhance the vitality of the town centre and provide pleasure to residents and visitors. You do not need a licence or permission to busk or provide street entertainment in Hemel Hempstead. However, there are certain restrictions, and you are expected to follow a code of practice.

Restrictions

Busking is not permitted under the covered walkway leading from Bank Court to Marlowes. It is also not permitted in the area outside of the south entrance of the Marlowes Shopping Centre near Marks and Spencer. The Marlowes and Riverside Shopping centres are privately owned and prior permission should be sought from the centre managers. Busking is not permitted by anyone under 16 years of age.

Code of practice

  • Buskers and street entertainers must follow the code of practice for street entertainment.
  • Music or voice shall not be amplified to a level, or to be so loud, that either can be plainly heard at a distance of 50 metres. Generator-powered amplification is not permitted. Busking must not be intrusive, a nuisance in nearby premises, or effect the public.
  • Private land apart (please see 'Restrictions', above), entertainment is restricted to a maximum of two hours in any one place (pitch) and shall not be repeated in that place or within 50 metres of it within two hours.
  • Entertainers shall not obstruct the highway (which includes any footpath, pavement, pedestrian area or place). Entertainers are also responsible for ensuring that the highway is not obstructed by people gathering to listen or to watch the performance.
  • Entertainers shall not make use of the street furniture, such as public seats, lampposts and railings.
  • Pitches chosen shall satisfy the above criteria and must not be within 50 metres of another busker.
  • Entertainment is only permitted between the hours of 10am and 5pm.
  • No sign shall be displayed inviting payment (except where a collection for charity has been authorised by us).
  • Entertainers shall not perform in a manner that is dangerous to themselves or the public.
  • Entertainers shall not dress, act or say anything which is likely to cause alarm, distress or offence to a member of the public.
  • Entertainers must stop performing immediately when requested to do so by a Police Constable or council officer.

Nuisance

On occasion, busking may become a nuisance, particularly for people living or working in the town centre. As a result, both ourselves and the police receive complaints about the volume, and sometimes the nature, of busking and street entertainment, and about the obstruction of the public highway caused by gatherings. In this situation, action will be taken by ourselves or the police.

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, noise in the street from musical instruments may be a statutory nuisance. We are able to take legal action to lessen the nuisance and prohibit or restrict it from happening again. This may include the seizure of musical instruments.