Kensington and Chelsea Council is planning a wide-ranging crack-down on street entertainment, which will severely limit, and in some areas prevent, busking in the borough.
The council has drawn up a ‘voluntary code’, which includes measures such as: limiting performances to 45 minutes; banning busking before 10am or after 7pm; limitation of performers to 6, or in some areas 2 or 3; requiring buskers to have public liability insurance; requiring buskers to limit sound levels.
These measures would prevent choirs or larger groups, prevent busking at peak times, and restrict busking slots to an unreasonably short period.
Still worse, the council is planning two PSPOs to bring this code into law in certain parts of the borough, such as around tube stations or near museums in South Kensington. In some of these areas busking will be banned entirely – the only permitted activity would be mime, clowning, or theatre, without music, singing or instruments.
These measures are particularly absurd, since they are affecting bustling urban areas, where there is already plenty of noise from traffic, crowds and general hubbub. Buskers in these areas are part of the urban street scene, and in some cases – such as the tunnels from South Kensington Tube to the museums – do much to add colour and entertainment to an otherwise drab background.
These measures also go against Statutory Guidance, which specifies that PSPOs should not be used to prevent reasonable busking.
Keep Streets Live Campaign has a petition against the orders – do sign it.
And you can respond to Kensington and Chelsea Council before 7 June.