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UK venues welcome ‘agent of change’ amendment to Planning Bill

The principle ensures that the business responsible for any change in the area surrounding a music venue would be responsible for managing the impact

Figures from the UK’s music industry have welcomed amendments by the opposition Labour party to the the Housing and Planning Bill, due to be debated in Parliament tomorrow (8 December), which would place an ‘agent-of-change principle’ on a statutory basis into British law.

The agent-of-change principle, advocated by the Music Venue Trust and shadow secretary of state for culture, media and sport Michael Dugher MP, ensures that the business or person responsible for any change in the area surrounding a music venue would be responsible for managing the impact – for example, housing developers paying for the soundproofing of existing venues in order to prevent noise complaints. (The same would also apply to a new music venue opening in a residential area.)

Dugher (pictured) is a vocal supporter of the agent-of-change principle and appeared on the ‘UK Music presents: Turning Words into Actions’ panel at Venues Day 2015.

Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd welcomed the news: “We welcome this important opportunity to take a common-sense approach to housing and planning. Grassroots music venues are culturally significant spaces, incubating UK music talent at the very earliest stage of their careers.

“By adopting agent-of-change principles, we not only ensure these spaces are protected, we also contribute to the development of higher quality residential development in towns and cities. Residents and culture can happily co-exist in our towns and cities, and agent of change is a simple supporting measure that encourages that outcome.”

Jo Dipple, CEO of UK Music, says: “Grassroots music venues are under threat. They are closing. These venues are the hands that hold the heart of the British music industry. Without them there are no hubs for creativity, stages for talent or homes for emerging artists. These small and grassroots venues create a platform for our industry, one that contributes £4.1 billion to the UK economy.

“I am incredibly grateful to Michael Dugher MP and John Healey MP, who recognise that something needs to give. Their leadership in this matter is welcome. I urge the government to support the introduction of these amendments into law.”

Photo: Anthony Mckeown