A petition has been launched calling for legendary Punch & Judy man Professor Brent de Witts to have his shows reinstated at Viking Bay.
Brent has been bringing his show to the Broadstairs beach for some 30 years and it is a popular attraction for families.
But this year Brent, who travels across America and Europe to perform, has hit issues with the licence needed to stage entertainment on the beach.
It means he is unable to perform his daily Punch & Judy shows. Another performer is set to hold shows but has only eight booked for the month.
A Thanet council spokesperson said: ”Beach entertainment on Viking Bay is managed by Broadstairs and St Peter’s Town Council. To safeguard the public, all performers must provide the Town Council with proof of right to work, public liability insurance and a risk assessment.
“Once a performer has been selected and approved, the Town Council must then apply to Thanet District Council for a licence to use a specific area for entertainment purposes. They must provide evidence of public liability insurance and any other necessary documentation.
“The District Council’s Public Spaces Protection Order forbids any performers from trading on public land, unless prior permission or a licence has been granted by the council in line with policy.”
But the loss of Brent and his show has caused an outpouring of disappointment on social media and prompted the launch of a petition by local Kyle Pressley to ‘Bring Back Brent.’
On the petition page he says: “Although Brent has been coming here for 20+ years and travels far and wide he chooses Broadstairs every summer. We are very lucky to get this lovely man providing Punch and Judy every single day of summer, three times a day!
“If action doesn’t get taken I expect we will lose the lovely Brent and his amazing show.”
Broadstairs mayor Kristian Bright said the issue for Brent was a licence to perform on council estate had not been obtained.
He added: “To receive a license, any individual or business must be in possession of the right to work in the UK, public liability insurance and, if working with children, the relevant DBS checks.
“As a public body – both the Town Council and TDC cannot employ anyone not in possession of the required license and paperwork.
“Public safeguarding is paramount for this council and we will not shy from our responsibility on this matter.”
He added: “The staff at BTC moved quickly to source a replacement. We were lucky to have Ben, a regular performer at the Dickens Festival, step into the breach and entertain children at Pierremont Hall.”