A BUSKER whose licence was suspended by City of York Council says he has been given it back after a “very productive” meeting with a senior official.

Jonny Walker said he planned to celebrate by singing in York city centre over the Easter weekend with the authority’s blessing. He said: “It looks like my outlaw days are at an end, at least for now.”

He said he felt he had been given a very fair hearing by the council’s head of culture, tourism and city centre, Gill Cooper, and the issues he had raised had been taken on board. He said: “The council has shown a genuine interest in receiving input from the Musicians’ Union and street performers as they look at ways of improving their busking policy.”

The Press reported previously how Mr Walker’s busking permit had been suspended and his licence suspended amid allegations he had been illegally street trading CDs of his music. Mr Walker said he had simply written a sign saying: “CD available, suggested contribution £7, these CDs are not being offered for sale, contributions are voluntary and at your discretion,” and carried on busking without his permit.

He said yesterday his meeting with Gill Cooper, accompanied by a Musician’s Union official, had gone well.

He said: “As the founding director of ASAP (Association of Street Artists and Performers) I want to see public spaces that are open to grassroots expressions of art and culture. We will welcome any changes to policies that lift unnecessary restrictions and burdens on performers. Shared public spaces that are welcoming, diverse and vibrant are in everybody’s interest, so I have confidence we will be able to find ways of working together.”

Gill Cooper, the council’s head of culture, heritage and tourism, said: “Our busking badge scheme was set up in consultation with local street entertainers and buskers, as well as the Safer York partnership and city centre businesses. As stewards of the city centre’s public spaces with a responsibility to represent the interests of all its users, we will be inviting interested parties to contribute to refresh the busking badge scheme guidelines to ensure buskers a platform and city centre users and businesses quality entertainment that adds to a vibrant location.

“Following a very constructive meeting with Mr Walker, we are very pleased to have been able to reinstate his busking badge.”