Victory for community music venues as 'Agent of Change' principle to be included in planning law

Property developers building housing near existing music venues may soon be legally responsible for addressing noise issues under proposed new rules.

Community music venues (and the groups that use them) recieved some much-needed good news on Thursday with the announcement that the government's Housing Secretary, Sajid Javid, has thrown his support behind adding a proposed 'Agent of Change' principle to planning law.

The move means developers will be responsible for identifying and solving any sound problems, if granted permission to build, and avoid music venues, community and sports clubs and even churches running into expensive issues as a result of complaints from new neighbours.

On Thursday Javid said:

"Music venues play a vital role in our communities, bringing people together and contributing to the local economy and supporting the country’s grassroots music culture...I have always thought it unfair that the burden is on long-standing music venues to solve noise issues when property developers choose to build nearby... I am pleased to finally have an opportunity to right this wrong and also give more peace of mind to new residents moving into local properties.”

The promise to include 'detailed reference' to the principle in the National Planning Policy Framework follows the introduction of a 10 minute bill' earlier this month by Labour MP John Spellar MP (backed by more than 75 MPs and peers and organisations including the Music Venues Trust and UK Music).

Following Javid's announcement, Spellar said:

"I am delighted that the Government have listened to grassroots venues and campaigners that have supported the safeguards contained in my Planning (Agent of Change) Bill. This announcement is fantastic news. While we need to iron out the final details when considering the draft framework, there is a real hope that these new provisions could be law by the summer."