Little Hampton Gazette: Judge Backs Council On Busker Curbs

Little Hampton Gazette: Judge Backs Council On Busker Curbs

Published on Little Hampton Gazette on 11 March 2014.

See the article on Little Hampton Gazette here.

New licensing restrictions on buskers in Camden have been declared lawful by the High Court.

Comedians Mark Thomas and Bill Bailey and musician Billy Bragg are among celebrities who took to the streets to protest over the restrictions being introduced by the local council in the north London borough after noise complaints by local residents.

Busking without a licence is to become a criminal offence in Camden punishable with fines of up to £1,000.

Bragg, who spent his early career busking around London, said licensing would hurt a fundamental aspect of UK culture.

But Mrs Justice Patterson, sitting in London, ruled today Camden Council had adopted a policy that was “both necessary and a proportionate response to the issue of busking”.

The ruling was a defeat for the Keeping Streets Live Campaign, which was ordered to pay £7,500 in legal costs.

David Wolfe QC, appearing for the campaign group, asked for permission to appeal, arguing that today’s ruling raised important legal issues and would have an impact on street entertainment across London.

The judge refused permission, which means the campaigners will now have to consider asking the Court of Appeal itself to hear their case.

This post was written by
Singer-Songwriter/Professional Street Performer/Campaigner/Wandering Minstrel

1 Comment on "Little Hampton Gazette: Judge Backs Council On Busker Curbs"

  • As a Street Performer of 3 years now, working outside London, in a variety of places including Birmingham and Stratford upon Avon I know that the picture of Buskers created by Camden Council and a ‘minority’ of residents is misleading, unfair and needs to be challenged along with the ‘new’ licencing scheme.

    I gasp in disbelief at Mrs Justice Pattersons recent words in the High Court apparantly justifying Camden Councils ‘new’ busking measures on the grounds that they are both ‘proportionate and necessary’. Any experienced performer knows that in fact the opposite is the case and that it is her decision backing council policy that is both unnecessary and disproportionate especially when you compare the successful ‘civic’ schemes and busking codes currently working in other UK towns and cities with whats now happening in Camden.

    Lets draw upon our rich and diverse collection of experiences as Street Performers, Artists, Buskers & Entertained Public and begin to paint the comparative, alternative picture that shows in fact that Camdens policy is wrong, Street Performers are badly represented, the High Courts decision is poorly inferenced and that there are plenty of examples of ‘un-licenced’ civic busking schemes out there that are not only running successfully, but also welcomed by the wider electorate.

    Simply look around you, search further afield to whats happening in places, towns and cities outside London and you can clearly see that Camdens ‘new’ regulatory regime regards busking is ‘extreme’ by comparison.

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