Support your local busker
23 August, 2019
Martin Ash playing his fiddle by The Union Tavern
• FURTHER to your report, (Buskers are on board to beat the ban, August 16), I am afraid it is not quite accurate.
After holding a “consultation” and publishing a proposal on the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea website they have reneged in a cowardly way. The proposal included rules and also licences – £27 for non-amplified and £47 for amplified acts.
When I approached the market office to apply I was told, “there are no licences or permits” it is just a policy, a policy which is enforced with fines and possible confiscation of equipment.
Fines vary from £100 to £1,000. These are enforced by the existing market officers who receive no extra pay for this.
This is quite simply making it impossible for buskers to operate and so no one goes to Portobello any more. The local mp has complained to me, along with traders and residents who have known me personally for 20 years.
When Boris Johnson wanted to get rid of the west London congestion they came to me to run a stall and get forms filled in, and I took them – in a sack – to City Hall.
I feel this is suppression by the back door by a dishonest and untrustworthy local authority. Putting it together with other public failures, such as Grenfell, I feel sure that at the next local elections they will be thrown out.
In the meantime I will talk to the people at The Union Tavern, which is in Westminster, who have also implemented new “rules” in place of a long-standing “tolerance agreement”.
And I will be performing still in Portobello, as a mime when appropriate and amplified on a rented pitch on the independent and private Portobello Green market, roll up, roll up and come and see the “ringmaster”.
Do not just see the show, be part of it. Support your local busker.
Alexandra Drive, SE19