Agent of Change

Agent of Change Campaign: email your local MP and Government Ministers to protect music venues

Alarmingly, around 35% of music venues across the country have closed in the past decade. Music venues play a vital role in supporting the industry’s ecosystem and ensuring a healthy music industry. They also play a key role in nurturing the talent of tomorrow.

A growth in demand for property in city and town centres has led to increasing rents and landlords deciding to sell property and land to developers. This has placed rising financial burdens on pre-existing operators of grassroots music venues, who are often situated in areas that are popular for redevelopment. It has made them vulnerable to a more liberalised planning system.

Former Government minister John Spellar MP is promoting new legislation in Parliament to protect music venues in the wake of this. The Planning (Agent of Change) Bill would place the agent of change principle to planning law on a statutory basis. “Agent of Change” means those bringing about a change take responsibility for its impact. The Bill has political momentum and has secured cross-party support. There is a very real prospect of that this proposal could become law, providing much-needed support to music venues in the process.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has committed to the principle in his London Plan. The Welsh Government are delivering on it. The Scottish Government are also looking into it. It is time for the UK Government to get behind the Bill and back the Planning (Agent of Change) Bill.

•You can send a tweet to @sajidjavid @DominicRaab @JakeBerry @MattHancock @margot_james_mp now & ask them to support the @spellar Bill 

•Or alternatively, please contact your MP or the Government ministers below by letter/email in support of these proposals and ask them to call on the Government to adopt the Planning (Agent of Change) Bill. To find out who your local MP is and their contact details, click here

• Contact these Government ministers and ask them to support the Planning (Agent of Change) Bill:

Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP
Secretary of State
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
100 Parliament Street

Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP
Secretary of State
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
2 Marsham Street

• A template letter/email for you to use when writing to MPs and Government ministers is available here:-

Dear xxxxx MP

I am writing to you as my constituency MP to ask you to support the Planning (Agent of Change) Bill. The Bill is scheduled for a Second Reading on Friday 19 January.

On 10 January John Spellar MP introduced the Bill to Parliament which aims to incorporate the agent of change principle within planning law. The Bill has already received cross-party support.

The Bill is a really important way to ensure the survival of our best-loved local venues across the constituency. It will help to make sure that new residential developments in the area are able to co-exist with local venues. This will allow the local live music scene to continue to thrive.
I am very concerned that 35 per cent of grassroots music venues in the UK have closed over the last decade and music venues, including those in and around our constituency are struggling to survive. The Government has taken action in this area – introducing planning guidance and amending permitted development rights – but this does not go far enough.

Music makes a huge contribution to the economy. UK Music’s 2017 Wish You Were Report revealed that that music tourism contributes £4 billion to the economy with over 30 million people attending live events in 2016. Music venues play a vital role in supporting the industry’s infrastructure and ensuring a healthy music industry across the country. They also nurture the music industry’s talent pipeline.

A statutory “agent of change” principle is needed within primary legislation to support music venues and protect the future of live music.
I would greatly appreciate it if you could let me know whether you will give your full support to the Bill.

Please could you also write to write to the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, to encourage the Government to ensure the passage of the Bill into law.

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