Busking consultation results

A new, balanced policy for street performance in Westminster

Every day our streets are brought to life with performances from musicians, magicians, comedians, artists and dancers, who come from all over the world to perform here. 

At the same time, we receive around 1,800 complaints each year about excessive noise or overcrowding caused by busking. 

Over the past year we have been engaging with residents, businesses, buskers and street entertainers to  develop a new policy that we hope will allow street entertainment to thrive whilst protecting residents and businesses.  

Formal consultation took place between 14 January and 24 February 2020. The council was due to present final recommendations to Licensing Committee in late April 2020, however, due to the impact of COVID-19 this has been delayed.

We listened to street entertainers, residents and businesses to develop a balanced and targeted approach to address the unique situation in each of our key busking hotspots. After reviewing the consultation results, we are making some changes to our proposals.

Scroll down to find out how we have taken your feedback on board, and the next steps we are taking to develop this policy.

Consultation results
Next steps

Consultation results

Thank you to everyone who took the opportunity to have their say. We received over 700 responses.

While 42% of respondents agreed with the proposals, many felt the policy did not strike the right balance.

Most residents and workers felt the voluntary measures, including self-regulation and a busking code of conduct, would not do enough to control noise levels and expressed concern about the effect of displacement.

Most performers and visitors did not support the limitations on performance areas or restrictions to amplification.

Following analysis of the consultation, the Council is therefore considering changes to the policy that will include strengthened measures to regulate busking, by broadening the areas where we seek to adopt licensing. Where possible, the Council will also seek to increase the number of pitches for street entertainers to ensure we continue to provide opportunities for a variety of performances.

You can read our previous policy proposals here.

You can read the full results of the consultation here and a quantitative and qualitative data analysis of the consultation result here.


Next steps

We will publish updated proposals in October this year, and performers, residents, workers, and the public will have another opportunity to consult on these.    

The division of opinion among consultation respondents highlights the challenge of protecting residents and workers, whilst safeguarding the cultural contribution of busking and street entertainment in our City. We are determined to strike the right balance, and will continue to engage with all stakeholders as we further develop this policy.

More information

If you have any queries on the development of this policy please email the team at: streetentertainment@westminster.gov.uk

Find more information for street performers, including key busking locations and major events

Have a complaint? 

Please raise any complaints you may have regarding incidents via the Report It form on council’s website.