Equity issues joint statement on Kensington and Chelsea’s new proposals for busking and street performance

Equity, the Musicians' Union and Keep Streets Live have released a joint statement regarding the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea's proposal. Equity has serious concerns about these proposals and the effect it will have on busking and street performance within this borough.

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (RBKC) are currently consulting to increase the number of pitches where busking could be controlled by way of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO). If agreed, this further draconian attempt at regulation could devastate busking in the Borough at a time where realistically the streets are the only place performers can make a living.

We have tried to encourage a collaborative approach with the Council and have suggested numerous viable alternatives. We also predicted the issue of displacement, amongst others, in the previous consultation but our experience and understanding were dismissed.

Busking is not illegal nor is it anti-social and should not be made so. Busking brings vibrancy, culture, dynamic and art to the streets of London. Furthermore, without busking the UK would arguably not have some of the big headline artists that contribute culturally and economically to the UK. 

The Council themselves state that they recognise “the contribution that busking and street entertainment can make to the character of the Borough and the vibrancy that busking and street entertainment can bring to a locality” yet continue to attempt to criminalise busking in a borough where the arts dominate the local culture.

We urge RBKC to talk to and work with us to develop a strategy that does not stifle or control the rights of the individual to perform but is proportionate and reasonable and supports all stakeholders.

How to get involved

For more information and to have your say by completing the survey go to the consultation webpage at this link: https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/environment/environmental-health/noise-and-nuisance/busking-consultations

The consultation runs until 8 January 2021.