Alfresco, hold the red tape

01. 833NEWS

• David Doy and Di Shaw enjoy a cuppa on the liberalised cafe strip. Photo by Matthew Dwyer

ALFRESCO red tape is being slashed in Vincent and—gasp!—buskers are being allowed to play without a permit.

The council’s new “place managers” David Doy and Di Shaw are desperate to scale back the bureaucracy that holds back strips like Oxford, Angove and Beaufort Streets.

Mr Doy says old rules on alfresco are too restrictive, such as permitting one chair per square metre. Recently a Beaufort Street restaurant allowed just six chairs battled for months to try to get more: after all the wrangling it scored one extra.

With funkified cafes using milk crates, benches, and anything else vaguely sittable, Mr Doy reckons it’s time to chuck out the command and control.

Now shop owners can decide for themselves how many hipsters to cram into their designated zones, with customer demand dictating the ratios for Tokyo subway crush to hipster chic.

“It’s a fairly minor change which will have a fairly large impact,” he says.

Buskers will also be allowed to perform in city centres without permits: a move that may cause shudders of horror in neighbouring Perth.

Ms Shaw says the busking system in Fremantle is self-governing and works well and, given Vincent’s not flooded with warblers the regulation is unnecessary.

“Why do we have a permit system when we don’t have any performers?” Mr Doy asks.

The pair will look at hiring a few performers to kick off a busking culture if it’s slow to take off.

by DAVID BELL

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