BUSKERS, street performers and arts and craft stalls can now operate without restriction along part of a seafront, thanks to a relaxation of council rules.
Portsmouth City Council no longer requires licences for buskers, performers and stalls between the Pyramids Centre and South Parade Pier in Southsea.
The move follows a successful campaign by Portsmouth music promoter Nick Courtney, who hailed the decision as a ‘massive step forward for Portsmouth’.
Mr Courtney said: ‘The seafront can be pretty boring at the moment and this is a chance for street performers, buskers and stalls to revitalise the area.
‘The word on social media about this at the moment is pure excitement.’
The rules say only arts and crafts –excluding homemade cakes and sweets – made by the people displaying them can be sold.
Mr Courtney said this would prevent the seafront resembling a car-boot sale.
He said: ‘If this reaches the momentum it should do, walking along the seafront will be a lot of fun.’
Brendan McVeagh, a member of Southsea blues band The Scandal, also praised the move.
He said: ‘It’s early days yet but when people start to get a taste for it and when the sun’s out it’s going to be good.’
Mr McVeagh, 25, said he hoped the new rule would give the seafront a festive atmosphere like he’d seen in cities such as Los Angeles.
He said: ‘I was in Venice Beach last year and it’s incredible there.
‘There are stalls everywhere and people selling art, and if enough people go down there to Southsea it would create that kind of buzz.’
Eastney and Craneswater councillor Luke Stubbs said it would be interesting to see what the move would bring.
Cllr Stubbs said: ‘Craft stalls can mean anything from people selling high-end art products to a flea market, so the council needs to keep an eye on this to see how it works out.
‘That said, the seafront needs new life and allowing stalls and performers may be a way of getting that at no cost, so this is an idea definitely worth trialing.’
Seafront manager David Evans said: ‘Encouraging crafters, artists and buskers between the Pyramids and South Parade Pier will make the seafront even more vibrant and make the area a real focal point for visitors and the community’.
Mr Courtney said the idea was one of about 80 plans to improve the seafront put forward on the People’s Plan for Southsea group page on Facebook.