The Agent of Change Principle has been added to the planning rules for England today.
The principle is part of planning law which puts the responsibility on developers of new buildings to resolve any noise issues from existing venues.
Before the law was brought in, music and performance venues were suffering huge costs and, in some cases, being forced to close when they were held responsible for noise complaints from new housing built near venues.
The Welsh Labour Government has already brought in this change, in response to the fantastic Save Womanby Street campaign, which raised awareness of the issue when a block of flats was proposed to be built next to one of Cardiff’s iconic venues Clwb Ifor Bach. Cardiff musicians, fans, promoters, elected representatives and venue owners came out in their thousands to stand up for live music and we won.
While the UK Government has introduced the rule in England, it will now be down to councils across the country to implement the new law so Michael Dugher, Chief Executive of UK Music, has written to Local Government leaders today to encourage them to make use of the new rules.
I’m proud to have campaigned for this with friends and neighbours in the Save Womanby Street campaign and in Westminster as a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Music, alongsideUK Music, the Music Venue Trust, the Musicians’ Union and many others.
This change happened because of a Parliamentary bill, tabled by my colleague John Spellar, which I co-sponsored.
Live performance venues are a hugely important part of many towns and cities and I’m proud that we’ve been able to help protect them.