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Jonny Walker, whose busking licence has been suspended by council, vows to keep on singing
A BUSKER says he is continuing to play in York despite his licence being suspended – and has launched an e-petition calling for changes to the city’s licensing scheme.
The Press reported last week how Jonny Walker had been cautioned and his busking permit suspended by City of York Council after officials claimed he was street trading his CDs.
He claimed his sign made it clear the CDs were not being offered for sale, and his suggested contributions of £7 were voluntary.
He said this afternoon he had been told that any unlicensed busking would be reported to police, who would decide the appropriate course of action.
He said he had launched an online petition, available at change.org/en-GB/petitions/york-city-council-keep-streets-live-support-street-culture-don-t-strangle-it which has now been signed by 600 people.
It called on the council to scrap its “unfair and unduly restrictive” licensing scheme and to get round the table with street performers, musicians and the Musician’s Union to draw up a new policy that “celebrated street culture”.
Gill Cooper, the council’s head of culture, tourism and city centre, said the terms of agreement of a busking permit, drawn up with local buskers, street entertainers, the police and Safer York partnership, included three guidelines which Mr Walker had not adhered to.
These prevented the sale of any merchandise, for example, CDs, unless an appropriate street trading consent had been obtained from the council’s licensing unit, the active soliciting of contributions, and acting or speaking aggressively to people who were exercising their right to ask them to stop busking.
Steve Waddington, assistant director of housing and community safety, said York was proud of its long tradition in street entertainment, which provided colour, interest and vibrancy to its city-centre streets.
He said York’s busking badge registration scheme was based on a balance between various statutory laws and a local by-law, and set down minimum standards expected of street entertainers.