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TV comedian Roy Hudd supports entertainers in fight to save performing arena at King's Square, York
Comedian Roy Hudd joins street performer Mark Wallis in King’s Square to support the Save King’s Square Campaign
TELEVISION actor and entertainer Roy Hudd has backed York’s buskers who say they are being squeezed out of their pitches by pavement cafés.
Mr Hudd, 76, who was on holiday in York this week said it was “disgraceful” that street performers faced losing space under plans by York’s Chocolate Story to extend its café, allowing customers to eat and drink at seven or eight tables in King’s Square.
He said: “If York wants to retain its position in busking history, because I’m sure there were buskers here when the Vikings were here, then they have got to let them play. We went down there (King’s Square) thismorning and I think it’s disgraceful what they are trying to do. It’s the one great attraction on that site. You have tables and chairs all over York so why do you need them there?”
A spokesman for the Chocolate attraction 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.”
In a separate development, a well-known York busker has been banned from Low Petergate for a month in a row over noise.
The order was given to Steve Bullen, known as the Magic Ball Man, whose mesmerising act in Petergate has become a regular crowd-puller. But he said it was becoming impossible to perform in the city centre without being moved on.
He showed The Press a copy of a letter he had received from city centre manager Paul Barrett, which said complaints had been received from a nearby shopkeeper, but that Mr Bullen had continued to perform despite being asked to leave by a council enforcement officer and then a police community support officer.
The letter then goes on to ban Mr Bullen from Low Petergate for a month.
Mr Bullen said he did not blame the council but denied he was asked to move. He said he was only asked to turn down the volume of his music, which forms part of his act.
He said: “There’s quite a lot of shops down Petergate that want me – a lot of people think it’s good for business.
“But some shopkeepers blame me for their lack of business,” he said. “It’s making it impossible for me to operate.”
In response Mr Barrett said street entertainment was “a valuable part of York’s street scene”.
He said: “When a busker applies for a badge they sign up and agree to our terms and conditions, which are provided along with a ‘Busking in York’ guide. There are several ‘dos and don’ts’ in this guide, but the most relevant are: ‘Be considerate to neighbours when setting your volume and vary your pitch regularly’.”