UK Music has developed a Venues Hub for venue operators, musicians, developers, planning and licensing authorities.
This Hub is designed to gather material relating to recent legislative changes affecting music venues and provide access to useful additional information.
Recent Planning Law Changes
As a result of a campaign from UK Music, Music Venue Trust and the Musicians’ Union, the Government changed the law in Spring 2016 to ensure noise impacts must be properly considered by planning authorities. This was announced in a letter to UK Music from the Department for Communities and Local Government. This is a victory for music venues. Previously building change of use could be achieved without developers needing to go through the full planning process. This was detrimental to some venues. The consideration of noise impacts means that the interests of venues will now be factored in by planning authorities when developers attempt to turn offices into residential accommodation. The measure that enacts this change can be found in permitted development right regulations.
Supporting material from the Government
To support these changes to the law, the Government has provided further information. On page 4 of the Chief Planner’s Letter to Planning Officers, the Government re-emphasised updated planning guidance on noise. This highlights the need for planning authorities to carefully consider the potential impact of new residential developments on live music venues. Ministers have also produced material that sets out the need for developers to include noise impacts from established businesses on intended residents as part of prior approval applications. Where local authorities determine that there are likely to be unacceptable noise impacts from live music venues on new residents the developer will need to put in place suitable noise mitigation measures.
A number of reports have been produced over the past year that provide vital evidence in relation to the challenges and issues that music venues face. The reports have been instrumental in supporting changes to the legislative framework to the benefit of music venues. The Rescue Plan produced by the Mayor of London’s Music Venue Taskforce provides a series of policy recommendations and provides detail of the “Deed of Easement of Noise” which was used successfully to resolve a planning dispute involving the Ministry of Sound. UK Music’s Wish You Were Here 2016 outlines the positive economic impact of music on tourism, including substantive data on audience and spend at grassroots music venues. UK Music’s collaboration with Bucks New University, as part of the Music Academic Partnership, produced a live music census of Bristol. The census concluded 50% of venues in the city were affected by development, noise and planning issues.
With concerns about venue closures becoming a growing political issue, the Houses of Parliament has been engaged in a number of debates over the past year to address these challenges. This has included debates relating to proposals to introduce a full “agent of change” principle into UK law. UK Music has produced a series of briefings for MPs and Peers to assist them in these debates. Transcripts of these debates are also available.