Planning rules to be strengthened to protect music venues

In a press release published today, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government, Sajid Javid MP, has said that housing developers building new homes near music venues should be responsible for addressing noise issues in a move to protect both music venues and their neighbours.

This would mean that developers will be responsible for identifying and solving any sound problems, if granted permission to build, and avoid existing pubs and music venues incurring licensing issues and potentially huge sound-proofing expense as a result of complaints from new neighbours.

To bring about this change, it is proposed that the National Planning Policy Framework, with which local authorities are legally bound to comply, will be clarified to include detailed reference to the ‘Agent of Change’ principle, and will be consulted upon this Spring.

The Housing Secretary is quoted as saying:

  • Music venues play a vital role in our communities, bringing people together and contributing to the local economy and supporting the country’s grass roots 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.
  • That’s why I consulted on this in February last year as part of the housing white paper. 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 Secretary of State for Digital, Culture Media and Sport Matt Hancock has added:

  • I am thrilled strengthened planning rules will ensure grassroots music venues are protected when new housing is built. These venues give emerging artists a platform to hone their craft, connect to their audience and get discovered.

UK Music Chief Executive Michael Dugher has responded to this announcement as follows::

  • We are delighted the government is supporting Agent of Change and strengthening the rules to protect grassroots music venues. This is excellent news for the live music industry.
  • Music makes a huge contribution to our country, bringing enjoyment to millions and contributing £4.4 billion to our economy. Supporting grassroots venues is key to maintaining the UK’s vibrant and diverse music scene, as well as ensuring we have the talent pipeline to maintain Britain’s position as a global force in music.

With strong backing from the music industry including UK Music, and the Music Venue Trust, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have been working with John Spellar MP following his Ten Minute Rule Bill on this subject (on which we previously reported here) to ensure that planning policy reflects what the industry needs.

UPDATE: On 5 March 2018, the Government launched its National Planning Policy Framework Consultation proposals that seek views on the draft text of a new National Planning Policy Framework. This consultation runs until 23.45 on 10 May 2018. More information on this can be found here.