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Performers fight King’s Square street café scheme
STREET artists and performers in York say plans to put tables and chairs in King’s Square will bring an end to decades of tradition in the city centre.
York’s new attraction, Chocolate: York’s Sweet Story, is hoping to extend its café by allowing customers to eat and drink at seven or eight tables in the square outside, up to 8pm.
But street artists who have long used the area to perform say the café extension would leave them with no room for an audience.
Escape artist Rob Roy Collins, who is leading the Save King’s Square campaign, said: “If they get planning permission it means there just won’t be room for audiences so performing would be pointless. It’s just going to kill us because there won’t be anywhere to perform.”
He said: “Aside from local acts, many of the world’s best street performers pass through York and perform at King’s Square.”
A spokesman for Chocolate: York’s Sweet Story said: “We love King’s Square as much as anyone. That’s why we chose to invest £2 million in it. We chose it because it is lively, vibrant and entertaining. We want buskers in the Square as much as they want to busk. We are very disappointed that they don’t want to listen to that message.
“It is our intention to sit alongside other users ie the three traders and buskers (when they are there which is not all the time) sharing a newly tidied-up Square with the general public also.”
The attraction said it had sought pre-planning advice from City of York Council before the formal submission in order to “best accommodate other users”.
The spokesman said: “We then revised our submission accordingly. It is now with the City Council to make a decision and we will accept whatever decision they make.”