WITH the £115 million transformation of Glasgow's Sauchiehall Street, the city council hopes to encourage a rise in upmarket cafes, hip restaurants and destination shops.

The revamp will include an increase in trees, seats and wider pavements, transforming it into a buzzing street but perhaps from the dust, a new problem will arise.

As a busker from Glasgow, I can attest to the change in atmosphere while performing on Buchanan Street when compared with Sauchiehall Street, the latter suffering a faint whiff of torn bin-bags and petty crime.

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This dilapidation does, however, generate a certain freedom from complaints and restrictions, due to the empty shops to perform in front of, and a lack of residents.

The council intends to bring more shoppers and residents to the area, creating a city centre comparable to Liverpool or Manchester, but busking is not to everyone's taste and there are already persistent calls for restrictions in the town's busier, more upmarket areas.

Last summer, there was an attempt to ban performers from playing between the Buchanan Street Subway entrance down to the Apple Shop following complaints from shop owners and residents. These were only applied as a 'recommendation', not to be lawfully enforced, and were therefore soon ignored, proving only to increase the animosity between buskers, the council, and residents.

One way to solve this may be to mirror the hip cultural hubs of London or Dublin by introducing busking permits. This may not be quite as bad for one's right to sing freely as it first appears. During the Fringe, busking in Edinburgh implements a rota-system of permit holders, understood by everyone.

I'm well aware of the free spirit attitude busking has adopted in Glasgow, reminiscent of the 1960s Greenwich Village scene, but in the long run this overhaul of Sauchiehall Street will aim to increase business and residency, increasing the likelihood of public grievances.

In such a case, these freedoms would be inevitably hindered in a far more damaging fashion than if permits were introduced. If the outcome of this rise in footfall means bans, as was previously attempted, perhaps councils, buskers and pedestrians may have something to gain with the introduction of permits.

This would entail auditions. While it seems counterintuitive to rate music in a free cultural hub of art, this would mean the calibre of talent would surely rise, clearing the street of people simply clenching a guitar in one hand, pretending to play only when the police pass. We would be opening a space for a hard-working street performer to earn their livelihood on a fair and balanced rota.

This would also reshape the first come first serve precept, where someone can arrive at 5am and unfairly, but legally, monopolise the area until 5pm. While there exists a mostly well-natured community of Glasgow buskers more than willing to share their spot, I often wonder how much talent is unjustly missing from the streets as a result of the stubborn few.

Perhaps with some stipulation, we could hinder a rise in animosity between buskers and the public, creating designated zones for everyone to enjoy live, raw music.

Alan Tennie is a singer-songwriter and busker