New Venue Legislation


UK Music, Music Venue Trust and Musicians’ Union (a triumvirate of trade bodies) have all welcomed new Government legislation that will protect small venues.

New regulations that will come into effect on April 6th 2016 will require developers to seek prior approval on noise impacts before a change of use from an office to residential building can be carried out. This follows a meeting with Ministers at the Department For Communities and Local Government alongside Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP.

It was recently revealed that 35% of grassroots music venues in London have closed in the past eight years and as previously reported by The Gen, UK Music’s Bristol live music census claimed that that 50% of the city’s music venues were affected by development, noise or planning issues.

Permitted development right extensions that have allowed changes of use to take place, putting pressure on small venues and making them prone to noise complaints from residents once they move into the area.

Mark Davyd, CEO, Music Venue Trust said: “We warmly welcome this breakthrough for the UK’s grassroots music venues. This common sense move by the Government provides an opportunity for local authorities to use their powers to ensure that live music continues to play a vital economic, cultural and social role in our towns and cities. For music venues, this has never been about stopping development or preventing the creation of much needed new housing; it’s always been about ensuring that new development recognises the culture, economy and vibrancy of city centres by building great housing, enabling existing music venues and new residents to live in harmony”.

The legislation, whilst not the much talked about Agent of Change principle, is a step in the right direction – As revealed in a letter outlining the measures to UK Music, the Government intends on notifying chief planning officers of the change to permitted development rights in addition to emphasizing updated planning guidance on noise that highlights the potential of new residential developments on live music venues. Ministers also suggest that the new regulations should encourage local authorities to require applicants under the permitted development right to noise mitigation measures in place where appropriate.

Jo Dipple, CEO of UK Music said: “Ministers Ed Vaizey, Brandon Lewis and James Wharton deserve sincere thanks for taking up our cause and offering to act on industry concerns. There are times when it seems Government does not listen. When it does, and when it acts on what it hears, we should be proud of our political masters. The Music Venue Trust has done an amazing job to raise awareness and push this issue to the top of the Governmental in tray”.

Dipple added: “If these new regulations have the desired effect, grassroots venues around the UK will have additional powers to help them survive and prosper”.

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