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“A seismic victory”: UK govt backs of agent of change

With housing minister Sajid Javid's backing, John Spellar's proposed measures to protect music venues could be law by this summer

By Jon Chapple on 18 Jan 2018

Housing secretary Sajid Javid

image © Crown copyright

The British government has announced plans to adopt the agent-of-change principle into planning law, in an announcement welcomed as a “seismic victory” for music venues by UK Music chief exec Michael Dugher.

Housing secretary Sajid Javid announced today the National Planning Policy Framework, with which local authorities are legally bound to comply, will be amended to include “detailed reference” to agent of change, making housing developers building new homes near UK venues responsible for addressing noise issues.

The news follows the introduction of a ‘ten-minute bill’ by John Spellar MP, backed by industry associations including UK Music and Music Venue Trust, in parliament last week. Dugher said at the time he hoped the government would “listen to the strength of feeling from grassroots campaigners, communities from up and down the country, artists, songwriters and MPs from all parties” and back Spellar’s bill.

And listen it has – Javid (pictured) explains: “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. That’s why I consulted on this in February last year as part of the housing white paper.

“I have always thought it unfair that the burden is on long-standing music venues to solve noise issues”

“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.”

“This is a seismic victory for all those who fought so hard to safeguard the future of music venues across the UK, from grassroots community activists to Britain’s global music stars who have spent years calling for agent of change and recently supported the Spellar bill,” says Dugher.

“It’s great that ministers have listened and are prepared to work with UK Music and others from the industry, including the Music Venue Trust, to make sure grassroots venues get the support and protections they need,” he adds.

Spellar says: “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.”


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