Somerset

Bath Abbey evensong disrupted by 'loud' buskers

Bath Abbey, Somerset Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A number of buskers are ignoring a traffic light system alerting them to services, said Rev Edward Mason

An evensong service at Bath Abbey was stopped on Sunday when loud music from buskers outside made it "impossible to continue", the rector said.

Rev Edward Mason said it started just after 15:30 BST and was "clearly audible" during a Bible reading.

He said it was not an isolated incident as the use of amplifiers by buskers has "massively increased" in recent years.

Bath and North East Somerset Council said it will now look at banning all amplification near the Abbey.

'Services ruined'

A "traffic light" sign system was set up on the west door of the Abbey in March to alert street musicians to services taking place in order to minimise disturbances.

Rev Mason said most buskers were respectful, but an "unreasonable minority" ruined it for everyone.

He said some "very loud" buskers "deliberately flout" the system and the Abbey was now "at crisis point".

He said: "We have suffered long enough, at times it's impossible for us to continue to work.

"We have had weddings and funerals disrupted and choir practices and services ruined on numerous occasions."

Bath and North East Somerset Council does not license buskers but said they had an obligation to observe the law regarding noise, obstruction and anti-social behaviour.

A code of practice is supported by Avon and Somerset Police, Bath Abbey, the council and the Bath Business Improvement District.

Councillor David Dixon, the Liberal Democrat Member for Neighbourhoods, said: "Under new powers provided by the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, we will be looking to ban all amplification within the immediate vicinity of Bath Abbey."

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