The UK music industry has welcomed new measures outlined in the Government’s housing white paper aimed at better protecting live music venues.
The measures will look to strengthen ‘agent of change’ safeguards for venues to prevent their activities being affected when new properties are built nearby or are redeveloped. Under the proposals, the National Planning Policy Framework would be amended, stating that planning policies and decisions should take account of existing venues, pubs and social clubs when new development is proposed. It is hoped this will reduce the risk of restrictions being imposed on them as a result of possible noise complaints from those who move into such new development.
UK Music, the Music Venue Trust and the Musicians’ Union (MU) have said this will help venues across the UK, particularly grassroots venues, which have suffered a sharp decline in numbers in recent years.
Jo Dipple (pictured), chief executive of UK Music, said: “UK Music has long argued that grassroots music venues need to be cherished as they are the incubators of music talent. That they are under threat has direct knock-on implications for the future of the sector, one that contributes £4.1 billion to the UK economy and supports thousands of jobs and businesses. Any new measure which acts to preserve, improve and protect these venues has the full support of our industry.”
Mark Davyd, CEO of the Music Venue Trust, also commented: “This extends the impact of existing ‘agent of change’-style legislation and advice. It's another huge step forward for protecting music venues and ensures residents and musical culture can exist side-by-side in towns and cities.”
Horace Trubridge, assistant general secretary for the Musicians’ Union, added: “Grass roots music venues have for years been the starting place for so many of the UK’s now headline artists. Musicians need a thriving network of venues to be able to hone their craft, develop their skills and make a living. We applaud these proposals, which add a further level of protection and recognise the importance of music venues to musicians, fans and communities.
Speaking to Music Week, 6 Music presenter Steve Lamacq expressed his concerns that closing independent venues could result in a loss of “identity” for towns across the UK.
You can read the Government's housing white paper here.