Triumph for Agent of Change

Property planning law in England now dictates that existing Music Venues must be allowed to co-exist and operate

On the 24th July, the Agent of Change Principle was finally introduced into the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) for England.

After years of campaigning from the Music Venue Trust, alongside support from UK Music and the Musicians Union, it champions a huge achievement for grassroots venues, musicians and audiences. This means that developers are now responsible for identifying and providing solutions to any sound problems, if granted planning permission to build, and averts music venues, community clubs and churches running into costly disputes as a result of noise complaints from new neighbours.

MU General Secretary, Horace Trubridge said:

“This is great news for venues, musicians and audiences, who together have built up a world-famous live scene despite increasing obstacles and threats.

“Whilst this comes too late for some of the fantastic venues that have closed in recent years, we hope that the support is sufficient to allow current and future venues to not only exist but to thrive in the ever-changing environments that they’ve played a part in shaping.”

From the Agent of Change Bill paragraph 182: 

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.