Thousands sign petition for buskers at Columbia Road Flower Market

Buskers at Columbia Road flower market. Credit: Kamran Shahid

Buskers at Columbia Road flower market. Credit: Kamran Shahid - Credit: Archant

A petition calling for buskers to be allowed to play at Columbia Road flower market gained more than 1,000 signatures in 24 hours after it was launched.

Shopkeepers and residents started the petition on Tuesday night after complaints were submitted to the council about the disturbance caused by buskers, who play at the market most Sundays.

By Wednesday evening more than 1,000 people had signed calling for Tower Hamlets Council to allow the buskers to continue playing.

“Columbia Road Flower Market attracts people from across the London, UK and the World because of the distinct atmosphere”, the petition reads.

“The buskers help create that atmosphere and there is an economic argument for maintaining the status quo and allowing the buskers to play.”

But traders say they are fed up with the “deafening” noise of the buskers, who they claim use amplifiers.

Traders’ representative George Gladwell, who has had a stall on the market since 1949, said: “People standing and listening are blocking the road from the traffic.

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“Now and again you get heavy stuff and it’s deafening. Maybe not deafening to people walking through but to us there fore for to five hours it is.

“They might improve the atmosphere for the visitors but not for the traders. We are dead against having the buskers”, added the 84-year-old.

The online petition has attracted comments from people who say they have lived in the area for years and welcome having music at the market.

Jane Hardstaff wrote: “I live and work in the neighbourhood and I value the contribution our buskers make to this unique and charming area.

“The buskers are part of its character.”

At the time of writing the petition had 1,403 signatures. It can be viewed here: