Flyers ban reversed to help city festival
Promoters have been told that they will be allowed to hand out leaflets and flyers during this year's Leicester Comedy Festival after council officials changed the rules.
The practice had been banned to stop city nightclubs, pubs and entertainment venues littering the streets.
However, comedy festival organisers feared the rules would hinder the promotion of the gigs, which will be happening across the city when the event gets under way from next month.
City council officials have now revised their policy on flyers to allow groups to hand out promotional material during the festival.
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The ruling will apply to other major events in the city.
Geoff Rowe, festival director, said he was "thrilled" about the change of heart.
He said: "I'm delighted that we've been able to reach a suitable conclusion, both for us and for other cultural events and festivals throughout the year.
"It would have had quite a significant impact, I think, because giving out flyers and having performers in the streets is a big part of the festival atmosphere. It could have had a big impact on reducing ticket sales as well."
Leicester City Council brought in the ban last year to stop the problem of litter caused by leaflets put out by city nightclubs, pubs and entertainment venues.
Comedy festival bosses told council leaders they could not afford to pay for a special licence to allow gigs to give out leaflets during the event.
They added that the failure to promote shows could lead to a drop in atmosphere and attendances.
Under the revised policy, the council will still generally not allow leaflets and flyers to be given out in relation to commercial entertainment venues, but applications for "special entertainment events" will be considered on their merits.
These will include non-commercial, charitable or community-related events and limited-period festivals.
Councillor Rob Wann, cabinet member for the environment, said: "Since this policy began in April, the city centre has been noticeably free of the huge amounts of litter caused by irresponsible flyer distribution.
"We want to keep the city clean, but we appreciate that the policy as it stood gave officers no flexibility to consider special events such as those which might benefit the city or local communities.
"We've now amended it slightly to give this flexibility, and to allow officers to consider certain applications on their own merits."