This week my Labour colleague John Spellar MP introduced a bill which would help to protect live music venues in England using the Agent of Change principle, which the Welsh Government has led the way by introducing in Wales.
I was proud to be a sponsor of the bill, which has had cross-party support, and part of a demonstration outside Parliament at which many musicians, unions, and people working in the industry were joined by MPs supporting the change.
The Agent of Change principle means that developers building residential properties would have to take account of the impact of any new scheme on pre-existing business like music venues before going ahead with their plans.
This follows on from the successes of the Save Womanby Street campaign here in Cardiff Central, which I have been a part of from the beginning.
Industry body UK Music has warned that planning laws are often a factor that struggling music venues have to contend with, and that there has been a 35% reduction in grassroots venues across the UK over the last ten years.
We have a world-leading music industry in the UK which I and many other people are very proud of, and want to protect, but our venues and artists face huge challenges from outdated planning law. It’s time now for the UK government to implement the Agent of Change principle and stand up for live music.
The Bill will now go forward to its Second Reading in the House of Commons in the coming months, and I’ll be updating on its progress.
You can watch John Spellar MP’s speech introducing the bill (in which Womanby Street gets a mention!) by clicking here.