The music industry welcomes amendments to tomorrow’s Planning Bill that would place an “agent of change” principle on a statutory basis in to UK law.
Tabled by the Opposition, an “agent of change” principle would offer respite to venues all over the UK. The music industry is seeing a marked decline in grassroots venues all over the UK. In London alone there has been a staggering 35% decline over eight years. Without grassroots venues, there is nowhere for emerging music to find its feet.
The “agent of change” principle ensures that a new development must shoulder responsibility for compliance when situated near an existing music venue. Similarly, if a music venue opens in a residential area, it too would be responsible for complying with residential requirements.
Leading the charge to save grassroots music venues is Labour’s Shadow DCMS Secretary of State Michael Dugher MP. Dugher appeared on the “UK Music presents: Turning Words into Actions” panel at Venues Day 2015. His amendments are a fitting response to the strength of feeling he felt that day.
Senior music industry figures said in response to the amendments:-
Jo Dipple, CEO, UK Music –
“Grassroots music venues are under threat. They are closing. These venues are the hands that hold the heart of the British music industry. Without them there are no hubs for creativity, stages for talent or homes for emerging artists. These small and grassroots venues create a platform for our industry, one that contributes £4.1 billion to the UK economy. I am incredibly grateful to Michael Dugher MP and John Healey MP who recognise that something needs to give. Their leadership in this matter is welcome. I urge Government to support the introduction of these amendments into law.”
Mark Davyd, CEO, Music Venue Trust –
“We welcome this important opportunity to take a common sense approach to Housing and Planning. Grassroots music venues are culturally significant spaces, incubating UK music talent at the very earliest stage of their careers. By adopting agent of change principles, we not only ensure these spaces are protected, we also contribute to the development of higher quality residential development in towns and cities. Residents and culture can happily co-exist in our towns and cities, and Agent of Change is a simple supporting measure that encourages that outcome.”
Dave Webster, National Organiser Live Performance, Musicians’ Union –
“This amendment, if carried will help to ensure the many venues supporting live music and providing community assets across the UK can continue to exist. Relaxation of planning laws allowing inner city, often redundant commercial buildings, to be turned into residential accommodation has in many cases adversely affected venues nationwide.”
Paul Reed, General Manager, Association of Independent Festivals –
“We fully support the introduction of the agent of change principle in the UK. It is a very common sense mechanism and has already been adopted in Australia. This would ensure protection for both grassroots venues and residents. The simple fact is, it would be impossible to create the festival headliners of tomorrow without the grassroots venues that enable emerging artists to develop and hone their craft”.
Andy Lenthall, General Manager, Production Services Association –
“A healthy supply of music venues is not only important for musicians to hone their craft, it is essential for the continued supply of new technicians to add to our world class supply of backstage support for live music. The Production Services Association, as the representative body for these technicians, welcome any move designed to protect the venues that are crucial to our sector.”