Search

Boris Johnson backs Camden buskers opposed to controversial council licensing laws

10:57 09 April 2014

Boris Johnson launching the #BackBusking campaign at St Pancras International station. Picture: Polly Hancock.

Boris Johnson launching the #BackBusking campaign at St Pancras International station. Picture: Polly Hancock.

Archant

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has backed buskers in Camden campaigning for greater freedom to perform following Camden Council’s decision to license street entertainment.

Boris Johnson talks to Camden busker Jonny Walker. Picture: Polly Hancock.Boris Johnson talks to Camden busker Jonny Walker. Picture: Polly Hancock.

The mayor launched his #BackBusking campaign this morning at St Pancras International station, in Euston Road, King’s Cross, in support of musicians playing in high streets, town centres and public spaces across the capital.

It follows Camden Council’s decision in November to introduce strict rules requiring buskers to purchase annual licences if they wish to perform on Camden’s streets, in light of increasing complaints about noise nuisance from residents living near to busking hotspots.

The campaign, highlighting the mayor’s concern that “increasing red tape” could lead to some parts of London becoming “no-go areas for buskers”, is being viewed as a clear criticism of Camden’s controversial busking policy.

City Hall claims music tourists contribute almost £600million to London’s economy each year.

Asked for his views on Camden’s new policy, Mr Johnson said: “Buskers are the equivalent of yeast in the digestive system for whatever it is that makes culture wonderful.

“Councils do have a duty to try and protect their residents from noise and nuisance so there’s got to be give and take.

“Some councils are a little more rigid than we think they perhaps should be. All we are saying is give peace a chance.

“What we want to do is see if we can bring people together and sort out any problems.”

As part of the #BackBusking campaign, a taskforce has been set up to develop a pan-London busking policy aimed at making the capital the “most busker friendly city in the world”.

Camden busker Jonny Walker, founding director of pro-busking group Keep Streets Live!, is a member of the new taskforce.

He said: “I often don’t see eye-to-eye with Boris on lots of issues but I think on this one he’s right. It’s an obvious endorsement of the view a vibrant busking culture is a good thing for the life of the city.

“We look forward to playing our part in making sure the #BackBusking campaign is a resounding success.”

Busker and stand-up comedian Ben Van der Velde, a candidate for Camden Green Party in May’s local election, said: “Boris makes an unusual bedfellow for the Green Party and myself. I very much support what he is saying.

“Anyone who is supportive of creativity and spontaneity in public spaces is always going to be on my side of the argument. Camden have more than adequate powers to regulate busking and they seem to want to over-regulate.”

Under the new rules, which came into force on March 24, anyone caught busking without a licence could be fined up to £1,000 and have their instruments confiscated. The use of amplifiers and wind instruments requires a special licence.

This morning, Mr Johnson met Kilburn-based band, The King’s Parade, who won the Eurostar prize at last year’s Gigs competition and travelled to Paris to busk in the French capital after meeting the mayor.

Gigs is the annual competition organised by the mayor, which sees hundreds of young musicians performing throughout the summer on the Tube, at railway stations and venues such as St Paul’s Cathedral and the O2.

Cllr Abdul Hai, Camden’s cabinet member for community safety, said: “It’s surprising to see the mayor take such an interest in busking and regulation at this time given his previous refusal to comment on our scheme when questioned by our own local newspapers.

“In line with the mayor’s own London Plan, consultation allowed residents, businesses and street entertainers to become actively engaged in shaping their local areas.

“Camden has sought to strike a balance between the rights of performers to use public spaces and the right of residents to a quality of life free from noise nuisance.”

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 14:06
Yasmin Farah

Police are appealing for the public’s help to find two sixteen-year-old girls who have gone missing from Camden.

Yesterday, 09:07
Mary Langan with her 23-year-old son, James

Carers of adults with demential and disabilities are demanding change after a report revealed there is a “breakdown of trust” on the Haringey boards designed to represent them.

Thu, 17:14
Nina Martynchyk with her foster mother, Nina B

A young woman who overcame anorexia is organising a conference with the Royal Free Hospital to draw attention to how the condition affects children and teenagers

Thu, 16:01
Highgate School

Students and staff at Highgate school were reflecting on a very impressive set of GCSE results today, with 88.2 percent of exams receiving a grade of A* or A.

Thu, 12:41
Hampstead School is in Westbere Road (Pic credit: Google streetview)

The Hampstead School has once again seen its GCSE results improve today, with nearly a quarter of all grades receiving an A* or A grade.

Thu, 11:53
Hornsey School for Girls

Girls at Hornsey School for Girls were today collecting some stellar GCSE results.

Thu, 11:44
Sam White has praised William Ellis pupils

The headteacher of William Ellis school, Sam White, was full of praise for his students today after a promising set of GCSE results.

Thu, 10:56
UCS school

University College School was today celebrating the second best set of GCSE results in its history, with a remarkable 88.6 percent of exams achieving either an A* or A grade.

PROMOTED CONTENT

The showroom is located in Hayes

After 25 years as a trade-only business, family-run door manufacturers Composite Door Master are set to open their first public showroom in Hayes this weekend.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

You could win £15,000 to spend on either their mortgage or a deposit towards the home of their dreams

Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a period of time when you simply don’t have to worry about finding the money each month to pay your mortgage? When you don’t have to put money aside from your monthly income, or worry about having to afford other essential outgoings?

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now