BUSKING could be banned from long stretches of Oxford Street as part of a proposed crackdown on live performers in the West End.
Entertainers such as singers, magicians and comedians would be forced to apply for a licence to perform at just three regulated pitches at the western end of Europe’s busiest shopping street, as well as a handful of other busker hotspots including Piccadilly Circus, Chinatown and Leicester Square.
They currently face few restrictions — apart from in Covent Garden — but Westminster council says it has been forced to take action by a growing number of complaints about “excessive noise and overcrowding”.
The local authority’s proposed “Busking and Street Entertainment Policy” would limit performers on 1.2-mile-long Oxford Street to pitches at Marble Arch, and the junctions with Old Quebec Street and Vere Street, with fines of up to £1,000 for flouting the rules.
There would be no pitches east of Bond Street. Performers would be banned from using amplification at Old Quebec Street and Vere Street, as well as at other sites across the West End.
Under the plans there would also be two regulated pitches in Leicester Square and one each in Chinatown, Glasshouse Street in Soho, and by the Eros Statue at Piccadilly Circus.
A six-week consultation is due to be launched. The Westminster Street Performer Association opposes the licensing proposal and says a ban on amplification “is the banning of busking”.