Scottish Parliament Urged To Act To Protect Live Music Venues

Members of the Scottish Parliament urged to act to protect music venues in Planning Bill.

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18.06.2019: Members of the Scottish Parliament urged to act to protect music venues in Planning Bill.

Music Venue Trust, UK Music and Scotland’s Grassroots Music Venue sector have today united behind a call to Members of the Scottish Parliament to take action to protect Scotland’s live music venues in the Planning (Scotland) Bill.

The much-discussed and debated Bill begins its final passage through Holyrood on Tuesday 18 June with an opportunity to safeguard live music venues.

Since 2015 the live music industry have been urging the Scottish Government to act to prevent the closure of live music venues across Scotland. The loss of these venues will have a dramatic effect on communities, deprives towns and cities of access to culture, imposes negative impacts on the night time economy, and removes opportunities for Scottish artists to develop and grow.

Michael Dugher, UK Music said:

“We thank the Scottish Parliament for all its efforts to support music venues.

“However, as we reach this crucial stage in the Planning Bill all MSPs now need to be unambiguous in their support.

“Amendments to the Bill need to have teeth and so need to be explicit that live music venues are the intended beneficiaries.”

Venues right across Scotland have united to send a letter to all MSPs asking them to take the opportunity to keep the phrase live music venues in the Planning (Scotland) Bill. The signatories note that MSPs can vote to keep sections of the Bill that contain the phrase live music venues, or adopt amendments, which seek to ensure that live music venues retain their place in the Planning Bill.

Geoff Ellis of DF Concerts/King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut said:

“It’s vital that Parliament ensures that a reference to live music venues remains in the Bill.

“This is an opportunity for plain speaking. If Scotland wants to protect live music venues, it can speak plainly and choose to do so by ensuring that the words live music venues are in the Planning (Scotland) Bill.”

A lack of protection in the planning process poses an immediate threat to iconic venues in Scotland, such as King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut and Sub Club, which are already surrounded by developments and under threat from more planning applications.

This issue has been recognised previously by Scottish Government: On 16 February 2018, the Minister for Local Government Housing and Planning asked the Chief Planner to write to all planning authorities emphasising the importance of these venues, and expressed clearly the need to take action to balance the planning process so that these vital social, economic and cultural assets are not lost as the unintended casualties of development.

Mark Davyd, CEO of Music Venue Trust said:

“It seems incredible that despite all the discussion and debate about the need to take action to protect Scotland’s vital live music venues, expressed repeatedly by MSPs of all parties, by the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs and the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning, at this final hurdle there is a very real risk that Scottish Parliament will fail to act.

“We strongly urge all MSPs to look again at the Planning (Scotland) Bill and ensure that at the very least the phrase ‘live music venues’ appears in the final text.”

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