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Buskers will be forced to leave Romford if PSPO proposal gets green light

PUBLISHED: 07:00 03 March 2017

Romford Street Buskers.
Josh Gleaves  age 14 James Goulding, age 33 and Jayboy, age28

Romford Street Buskers. Josh Gleaves age 14 James Goulding, age 33 and Jayboy, age28

Archant

Shopping in the town centre's busy streets may become a lot quieter if buskers are forced to unplug.

Romford Street Buskers.
Josh Gleaves  age 14Romford Street Buskers. Josh Gleaves age 14

A consultation has been launched by Havering Council, asking whether a Public Space Protection Ordder (PSPO) should be introduced in the town centre in an attempt to tackle anti-social behaviour.

As well as proposing to ban street drinking, begging and spitting, a ban could be placed on buskers using amplified equipment.

Founding director of Keep Street Live!, a non-profit organisation which lobbies councils for buskers’ rights, Johnny Walker believes a ban would be the “criminalisation of culture”.

He said: “This would be a very heavy handed move if it went ahead.

Romford Street Buskers.
Josh Gleaves  age 14 James Goulding, age 33 and Jayboy, age28Romford Street Buskers. Josh Gleaves age 14 James Goulding, age 33 and Jayboy, age28

“There is a wider problem in Romford where for some reason busking is being linked to anti-social behaviour when people are just playing music in the street.

“If music is being played too loud then yes, something must be done to stop that but a blanket ban would be the criminalisation of culture in the town.

“Buskers and young musicians should be encouraged to play, because it brings the community together, young and old, and creates a vibrant atmosphere.

“I would urge the council to get in touch with Keep Street Live! and we can work with them to create a new busking policy, like we have done with Birmingham City Council.”

Josh Gleaves, 15, of Dominion Drive, Collier Row, has been busking for four years but stopped playing in Romford after a fellow busker was moved on by police last year.

He says it has been coming for a long time.

“It is a shame, because people do enjoy to stop and listen to us but if we’re getting moved on and can’t even use our amplifiers then there isn’t a lot of reason for buskers to go to Romford.

“We need the equipment to play as without them, we’d hurt our vocal chords which could have an impact on our singing careers. It’s already starting to feel a lot quieter but it’ll get worse if this goes ahead – it won’t be the same without the music.”

Havering Council have been contacted for comment.

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