‘Great News For Musicians & Music Lovers’: Agent Of Change Comes Into Force In The UK
UK Music – Agent Of Change in UK Parliament
Music stars joined leading figures from across the industry, MPs and peers in the fight to save music venues across the UK back in January
The UK government has included the agent of change principle in its National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which protects existing venues and businesses from new developments.
The decision follows a concerted campaign by UK Music and the Music Venue Trust (MVT) in support of a ten-minute Rule Bill from former minister John Spellar MP.
The agent of change principle dictates that developers with the intention of launching new building projects need to make sure that existing venues and businesses are protected.
One scenario that caused venues to shut down in the past was new residents moving into an area and complaining about noise levels – notwithstanding the fact that the area only became attractive because of its creative businesses and nightlife offerings in the first place.
Up until now, the burden of taking care of sound proofing in such scenarios was on the venue operators, who usually don’t have enough extra money lying around to pay for cost-intensive construction works.
“Too often music venues have been the victims of developers. This new law will help ensure music venues can continue to grow audiences and develop talent, contributing significantly to our £1 billion live music industry,” said UK Music CEO Michael Dugher.
He added, “this has been a long fought battle and it is vital that local authorities back it to save live music. There is now no excuse for local authorities for not stepping in to protect grassroots music venues.”
The exact wording of the NPPF is: “Planning policies and decisions should ensure that new development can be integrated effectively with existing businesses and community facilities (such as places of worship, pubs, music venues and sports clubs). Existing businesses and facilities should not have unreasonable restrictions placed on them as a result of development permitted after they were established.
“Where the operation of an existing business or community facility could have a significant adverse effect on new development (including changes of use) in its vicinity, the applicant (or ‘agent of change’) should be required to provide suitable mitigation before the development has been completed.”
Local authorities are legally bound to comply with the NPPF, meaning all planning committees must consider the principle when making decisions on applications and in framing their own planning policy.
UK member of parliament John Spellar commented: “I am delighted that the Government has listened to concerns expressed by MPs and the music industry about the fate of music venues across the country, and has fulfilled its commitment to introduce the agent of change principle in the new National Planning Policy Framework by summer recess.
“This is great news for musicians and music lovers whose voice has been loud and has now been heard. Local authorities must now make use of these vital tools to support our world leading music creativity throughout our towns, cities and communities.”