|Pictured above, left to right, are Ewan Moor, Michael Dugher, Thom Bentley and Alex Owen|
29/07/17: UK Music Chief Michael Dugher warns: We have won the battle but not the war when it comes to saving grassroots music venues
UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher hailed “a significant” victory in the fight to save Cardiff’s Womanby Street after a plan to build flats in the music quarter was withdrawn.
He praised local campaigners, music lovers and MPs for their determined fight after news emerged that developers have withdrawn plans to build flats on Cardiff’s famous Womanby Street.
The Save Womanby Street campaign was established in March in response to threats to the city’s music quarter. The area has already seen the closure of Dempseys, as well as fears growing over the proposed opening of a hotel above Wetherspoons.
Campaigners have opposed the plans amid fears that new residents moving into the area could complain about noise from existing music venues, adding to the pressures they already face in their fight for survival.
The Save Womanby Street campaign has become iconic in the fight to safeguard music venues. The campaign was strongly supported by local MPs Kevin Brennan and Jo Stevens.
Earlier in the year, the Welsh Government backed UK Music's calls to change national planning policy to include reference to the “agent of change” principle to help protect grassroots music venues.
UK Music CEO Michael Dugher visited Womanby Street in June as part of a nationwide campaign to introduce a statutory of change principle to planning law across the UK and achieve business rate relief for venues.
Commenting, Mr Dugher said: “This marks a significant turning point in the fight to protect Womanby Street and ensure local grassroots music venues continue to thrive.
“The combined efforts of campaigners has played a crucial role in helping save Womanby Street - including local community campaigners, hardworking local MPs, the Musicians Union and the Music Venues Trust.
“Music venues are vital to our music industry which is worth £4.4 billion a year to the UK’s economy. They provide artists with opportunities to play and places for fans to discover new talent.
“UK Music remains concerned that we are losing too many venues, with around 35 per cent of venues having closed over the past decade alone. That's why we need urgent changes to planning and business rates.
"This decision, together with the Welsh Government's support for 'Agent for Change', shows that Wales is leading the way. It is time for the rest of the UK to follow.”