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York street performers’ space threatened by cafe

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Street performers in York have launched a petition that opposes plans to extend a local cafe’s seating area, which they claim will reduce their outdoor entertainment pitch.

Street artists have performed in King’s Square in York for 35 years and say there will be no room for an audience, if planning permission goes ahead for confectionary attraction Chocolate:York’s Sweet Story to add outdoor seating to its cafe.

Escapologist Rob Roy Collins, who is leading the Save King’s Square campaign said: “If they get planning permission it means there just won’t be room for audiences so performing would be pointless. It’s just going to kill us because there won’t be anywhere to perform.”

The confectionary museum wants to add seven or eight tables and sets of chairs for dining until 8pm.

Collins added: “I’ve performed all over the world and this is one of my favourite pitches – if you can fill it, the space is magical.

“King’s Square is the only permanent performing space without chairs and tables for buskers in York. If the plans go ahead, the square will just become a quiet stagnant area as opposed to the cultural heart of the city that it currently is.”

A spokesperson for Chocolate:York’s Sweet Story said: “We love King’s Square as much as anyone – that’s why we chose to invest £2 million in it! We chose it because it is lively, vibrant and entertaining. We want buskers in the square as much as they want to busk.

“We sought pre-planning advice from City of York Council before our formal submission in order to best accommodate other users: we then revised our submission accordingly. It is now with the city council to make a decision and we will accept whatever decision they make.”

Collins and the campaigners will be submitting an objection to the planning permission to City of York Council by the deadline of August 7 and expect to hear a decision by the end of the same month.

City of York Council was unavailable for comment.

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