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London: Concern at Christmas

London: Concern at Christmas

Buskers in London this Christmas are facing an uncertain future with continuing crackdowns on licences, closure of pitches, bans on amplification, and seizures of CD’s and equipment.

If proposed restrictions in Westminster go ahead there will be virtually no viable and publicly accessible locations for performers almost anywhere across central London, with an area from Hammersmith & Fulham across to Tower Hamlets and up to Camden effectively off-limits.

In an effort to combat this, Westminster Street Performer Association have held meetings to encourage more efficient self-regulation and show that it is the Council’s inaction and inability to deal with issues that is causing friction in popular busking locations such as Leicester and Trafalgar Squares. They can be contacted at LondonWSPA@gmail.com

Keep Streets Live has been looking a developing a City-wide strategy towards street performance, recognising that whatever happens in one place has a knock-on effect in others. Busking bans in Shepherds Bush for example several years ago pushed performers into Kensington causing over saturation and complaints, leading to similar bans in RBKC. We are now seeing many of those buskers pushed into the already busy pitches in the West End. Inevitably reducing available space increases pressure and conflict for both buskers and other stakeholders.

“I feel here we now have the bones of a London-wide grassroots performers group, which will be able to take a more co-ordinated and holistic approach to busking across the capital rather than seeing pitches and issues in isolation. If this is something which you’d like to be part of please check out the Keep Streets Live in London Facebook group.”-Chester Bingley (Director)

Our petition against the busking bans in Kensington has now attracted around 2,000 signatures so please Sign Here

Election time!!

Election time!!

As a politically independent non-profit we do not support any particular Party but what we do urge is that you question all your candidates on Public Spaces Protection Orders during the campaign.

Keep Streets Live opposes PSPO’s on principal as they impose blanket bans on behaviours regardless of whether or not any harm/loss is being caused. Clearly this is an ambitious target but we also believe that in the event that they are used:

– New PSPOs should be scrutinised independently to ensure they comply with Home Office guidance ( a FOI request discovered that the Home Office keep no record of PSPOs, meaning that there is no oversight to their implementation)

– Challenges/appeals against existing PSPOs should be free (they are currently too expensive for citizens) and those who have been fined as a result of them should be entitled to legal aid if they wish to appeal

– Private companies (such as Kingdom in Peterborough) should be barred from being contracted to issue fines

– Financial incentives (again, see Peterborough) to individual officers for issuing fines should be banned