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Birmingham busker ban proposals are scrapped

Campaigners had described the move as ‘draconian’ and claimed that the vibrancy and life of the city centre would be damaged by the ban

A busker
Buskers are not being banned from the city centre

Plans to ban buskers from Birmingham’s city centre have been dropped by council chiefs who agreed it was like ‘using a sledgehammer to crack a nut’.

A Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) would have banned noisy busking, street preaching and noisy protests in the city centre – including outside the Council House, International Convention Centre and West Midlands Police headquarters where many demonstrations and protests are held.

Campaigners described the move as ‘draconian’ and claimed that the vibrancy and life of the city centre would be damaged by the ban.

More than 650 people responded to the council’s consultation, with 60 to 40 against the PSPO according to Labour cabinet member James McKay.

Coun McKay said: “Many did feel that the PSPO was the right tool to deal with this issue, but many also contrarily argued that the vibrancy of the city centre provided by busking, by debate and by free speech were far more important priorities.

“The message which came back was if you want to crack walnut, use a nutcracker not a sledgehammer.

“In the light of the consultation I’m pleased to announce we will not be proceeding with the PSPO.”

He said that instead the existing code of conduct for busking will be reviewed and they would look at targeted action against other activities which are a nuisance or excessively noisy.

The Birmingham Manifesto Club, which campaigns against excessive regulation, welcomed the decision.

It tweeted: “Victory in Birmingham – there will be no ban on amplification in the city centre. A great alliance against it.”

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