A BASINGSTOKE musician who has performed with the likes of Nas and Wretch 32 has hit out at the council for cutting The Anvil’s funding.

Marcus Balogun, 28, said it is vital that young people in Basingstoke have access to creative outlets.

“The Anvil is a landmark. Instead of cutting funding, the council should be bringing people in to transform the business and make it a success," he said.

“It feels all the council wants to do in Basingstoke is build houses and another shopping centre which is good for money but doesn’t improve anything for residents living here.”

Growing up in Popley, he said: “The one positive thing I had growing up was having access to a community centre with a recording studio where anyone could go and record music or learn a new skill. A lot of young people nowadays don’t have that. And if they don't have safe things to do, we're going to see a lot of young people doing stupid things."

The reoffending rate of children in Basingstoke is 41 per cent, according to figures compiled in 2019.

Of the 69 offenders under 18 in Basingstoke in 2019, 28 went on to commit another crime in the year following their conviction, caution or warning.

As previously reported in The Gazette, Hampshire Constabulary has recently applied for a court injunction to ban the so-called Basingstoke Street Gang from meeting.

But three members have already reappeared in court after breaching the order.