ROW OVER STREET ARTISTS
13.06.2012 / News / 0 Comments
Westminster under fire over Leicester Square ‘ban’
Leicester Square’s street artists have accused Westminster council leaders of putting them out of business.
The artists say they face losing their livelihoods as they are still not allowed back to their regular pitches following the £15 million revamp of the square, one of London’s most iconic tourists hotspots.
More than a dozen street artists and cartoonists pay a licence fee of up to £500 a month for the right to pitch their easel in the middle of the tourist Mecca.
But for the last 18 months they have had to ply their trade outside the National Portrait Gallery when development work began with a promise that when the work was finished they could return.
But now Westminster council says it is carrying out a review of street pitches now that the refurbishment has been completed. It is understood that some business interests in the Square feel that the artists plying their trade will be out of keeping with a more upmarket Leicester Square.
The artists have demanded a meeting with Westminster Council leader Philippa Roe after comments by her deputy suggested that the council wanted the artists to stay in their current pitches rather than return.
A spokesman for Westminster City Council said, " We are now working on a management plan for the Square which will include a mix of cultural and entertainment activities. Portrait artists may be a part of that."
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