Kensington & Chelsea PSPO: Response

Kensington & Chelsea PSPO: Response

“The MU is extremely disappointed by the decision of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to ban busking in certain areas and enforce these bans through Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO).”

The week leading up to International Busking Day seems a poignant time for Kensington & Chelsea to launch their anti-busking PSPO. As we embrace and celebrate street culture, we are also reminded of the ever-present threats that exist to destroy what we value.

This Order does, in practice turn the entire borough into a busking ‘no-go zone’. Performers are to be forced out of suitable pedestrianised areas, and stripped of amplification which could allow them to compete with the considerable traffic noise on busy city streets. The policy is incredibly complex and full of arbitrary and contradictory restrictions, so the potential for it to be wrongly or inconsistently enforced is high. As with so many ideas to placate a shrill minority, it will soon become apparent that there is no easy fix. Camden’s license destroyed busking in the borough and yet complaints have not diminished. It has become a burden for Police and other enforcement officers in the area. A complete waste of scarce resources.

Our partners at the Musicians’ Union have already made a press release, with which we fully concur, and we will are currently discussing the next steps to take with them, Equity and other interested parties. We’d also like to thank Liberty for legal advice on how to fight the PSPO.

We’d like to hear from as many local buskers as possible who are concerned about the effects this will have on them, and their ideas on how we can organise against it. Keep Streets Live has made significant progress campaigning against PSPO’s across the country, so there is no reason why we cannot do the same in Kensington & Chelsea. Please email contact@keepstreetslive.com if you’d like to join our campaign.

Watch David Fisher talking PSPO’s on board the Molly Ann- our RBKC HQ

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3 Comments on "Kensington & Chelsea PSPO: Response"

  • Jan says

    Hi Chester, I busk in RBKC every three weeks or so and was interested in what legal advice Liberty gave you so I can apply it if confronted by an official?

    For me personally, I haven’t purchased liability insurance as it’s not a legal requirement, and need to perform for 90 minutes to two hours (max) to earn the minimum I need to earn (I already perform acoustically without amplification and so it takes me longer to get tips than someone louder might), so I believe these are the points I might get pulled up on.

    Thank you so much in advance.

  • Chester Bingley says

    Hi Jan.
    Thankyou very posting.

    As an organisation Keep Streets Live would like to make it clear that the most important things regarding any interactions are:

    1. Always remain calm and polite.
    2. Although we are looking at non-compliance as a way of fighting this PSPO, we would never encourage anyone to push this beyond the realms of what you feel comfortable with.
    3. Breaking a PSPO is a criminal offence and may have serious repercussions.
    4. It is entirely your choice if you wish to take that risk, and although we can offer advice and support, we can accept no responsibility for any consequences.

    The first thing to do is to download the PSPO postcard from the Buskers’ Resources section of our site, which clearly states the Home Office guidance regarding Antisocial Behaviour legislation. If you are stopped by an enforcement officer we’d recommend filming the interaction. State clearly that you believe the PSPO to be unlawful, and ask the Officer if they believe your busking to be ‘serious and genuine antisocial behaviour’.

    Beyond that there are a number of routes open to you, which are a little complex to explain.

    KSL is setting up a Street Performers’ Association in the borough to discuss our approach and work together as a community. I’ve invited you to join a Facebook group for this, but please let me know if you’re not a regular FB user and I’ll ensure that you are fully involved via whatever means best suits you.

    • Jan says

      Thanks Chester.

      I don’t have Facebook as of yet, but am intending to set an account up in the next week or so. Yes, if you can email me the details of the Facebook group, that would be great. I look forward to joining and doing my bit.

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