UK Music urges venue bosses to press Ministers to rubber-stamp Agent of Change

We are calling on venue operators to throw their support behind the key planning change to protect music venues

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26/04/18: UK Music is calling on venue operators to throw their support behind a key planning change to protect music venues across England.

We attended the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government’s Roundtable on Agent of Change today

Venue bosses have until Thursday May 10 to back the planned introduction of the Agent of Change principle in the Government’s draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

UK Music has spearheaded the successful campaign with the Music Venue Trust to persuade ministers to change planning rules to offer much greater protection to venues facing the threat of closure.  Earlier this year, the Government pledged its support for the Agent of Change principle.

But UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher today urged venue operators to show a final “tidal wave of support” for the proposals by commenting on the planned change ahead of the May 10 deadline.

Details on the Government’s consultation on the draft revised text of the National Planning Policy Framework and how to make a comment can be found here.

It is hoped the new rules which will offer protection under law will come into force before the summer, offering crucial support to many small and grassroots venues that are a vital part of the music industry.

Over the past decade, around 35% of music venues across the country have closed.

Commenting, UK Music CEO Michael Dugher said:

“Thanks to the tremendous support from the music industry and organisations like the Music Venue Trust, we are only weeks away from securing legally robust protections for music venues.

“We want one last tidal wave of support from venue operators and everyone who wants to protect our amazing live music scene to get Agent of Change enshrined in planning rules.

“I would urge people to have their say on the Government’s proposals and show their strong support for this important change.

“Small and grassroots venues are a vital part of the talent pipeline that help nurture future talent and play their role in the music industry that makes a £4.4 billion contribution to the economy.

“I hope we are just weeks away from making Agent of Change a reality and safeguarding cherished music venues everywhere.”

The consultation on the NPPF follows the Government announcement in January that it would back Agent of Change after a high-profile campaign led by UK Music in support of Labour MP John Spellar’s Planning (Agent of Change) Bill.

The Bill attracted cross-Party support of more than 100 MPs and peers as well as the backing of music legends such as Sir Paul McCartney, Sandie Shaw and Craig David.

UK Music, along with representatives from the Music Venue Trust, Musicians Union and BPI, met officials from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government this week to discuss the final details concerning Agent of Change.

Agent of change means developers would have to take account of the impact of any new scheme on pre-existing businesses like music venues before going ahead with their plans.

That could mean, for example, the developer of new flats takes would have to take responsibility for soundproofing to avoid the risk of new neighbours complaining about noise from a music venue.

Read more here:

M Magazine

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