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The Shambles Affected by The Licensing Act 2003 (439* d) RE: Affected by The Licensing Act 2003 13 Apr 07

The Advertiser
Weymouth, Dorchester and Portland

Friday April 13

That sounds better already

Dorchester town centre looks set to become filled with the sound of music thanks to a new agreement. West Dorset District Council has joined forces with the county town's Chamber of Commerce to ensure street performers are properly licensed.

Musicians, jugglers and other artists can now entertain shoppers in South Street for just 10 a year.

The new reduced rate has been made available because the Chamber of Commerce has taken our a premises licence covering the whole of the shopping street.

Individual licences for entertainers normally cost 100 a year or 21 a day.

Local musician Mike Manning said he was delighted with the news.
"There is a great atmosphere in Dorchester and entertaining the crowds is a pleasure," he said.

"I am please that I'll be able to perform for just 10 a year and would encourage other artists to join the scheme".

Alistair Chisholm, president of the Chamber of Commerce, called the move a 'very exciting initiative'. He sad: It's great we're working hand in hand with the district council to encourage street performers, they enliven the town centre and make it a more vibrant place to be.

"Licensing street performers should hopefully encourage the quality to go up. We're eager to encourage really top-notch local performers to come and entertain the crowds. Encouraging street artists will increase the feel good factor in Dorchester, which is the way forward".

The district council is piloting the scheme in the county town, and hopes to extend it to other West Dorset towns if it proves successful. Cultural development officer Jude Allen added said the district council is keen to attract 'first-rate' street performers to Dorchester.

Entertainers wishing to join the scheme should contact Jude Allen on 01305 251 010.

Mr Manning (who previous to this was once able to busk in South Steet for free) does not appear to see the references to encouraging the quality to go up or to fist rate performers to be a slight.........

But the concept of a third party (The local Chamber of Commerce) applying and being given Premises Licence Entertainment permission for land they do not own (for a year?) - is an intersting one. But as the person to contact is a council officer, the scheme still seems to be under the contol of the district council.

Perhaps - before all our local councils grant themselves permission and full control over these public spaces - other groups could form to apply for similar things?

It is not likely to happen to the public spaces in Weymouth and Portland however - for any applicant would be in competition with the current licence holder who is now also the Licensing Authority.

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