Testimonies and References

Having worked in Carlisle City centre for a number of years, and also as a resident of Carlisle, I am passionately committed to a City Centre that is safe, enjoyable and entertaining to be in and around. Street entertainment is key to that atmosphere.
In Carlisle I have to acknowledge that there are a pocketful of residences within the most popular busking areas where residents, mainly elderly and retired, can feel that they are ‘subjected’ to sounds that they have not chosen to listen to and from which, they cannot escape unless they leave their homes. In looking at any approach to the rights and freedoms of individuals to practice their freedom of movement and right to a private life, I have to find balance and sensible agreement.
The journey towards the Code of Conduct for Buskers in Carlisle, started with a complaint by buskers who felt that their rights had been unlawfully infringed. Looking at the details of that complaint, I saw that there was much room for improvement in the current Public Space Protection Order and that maybe, a new and fresh approach was needed between the City Council, buskers and the police.

The complainants, along with a representative from Keep Streets Live, kindly agreed to meet with myself and Council representatives. The objective was to work towards a solution based on some best practice from other councils and the personal experiences of both buskers, councils and police regarding the most common issues or areas of conflict as seen from their separate viewpoints.

After a series of meetings and much liaison, the Code of Conduct was created. This is a code and as such relies on balance, fairness and equity between all parties involved in the application of that code. There is an element of sanction involved but only at the end of a lengthy escalation process – a process based on finding the most fair way to satisfy an area of concern or conflict. In the main, most people are abiding by the Code and find that the steps involved are fair and offer a parity of voice to all parties involved.

None of this would have been possible without the resilience, support and valued contributions of Eryl and Claire of ‘The Moot’ and Chester from Keep Streets Live. In our society, where we have a right to expect and receive value for our contributions, a right to expect certain freedoms in the expressions of our values, skills and artistry; we must then value and respect each other.

The Code of Conduct for Buskers in Carlisle has this respect at its centre; it’s ethos is valuing individuals and for this I have every admiration and much gratitude for everyone involved in its creation and development. Thank you.- Diane Bradbury. Cumbria Police.