UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher has called on the government to fulfil commitments to introduce a legally binding “agent of change” principle to protect music venues that are under threat.
The organisation has welcomed publication of the draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which places greater responsibility on developers in relation to how building projects affect nearby venues. The draft NPPF confirms that an “agent of change” should be responsible for mitigating the impact of their schemes on live music venues.
UK Music has led the calls to make developers take account of the impact of any new plans on music venues before going ahead with their schemes. The campaign won cross-Party support of over 100 MPs and peers, as well as the backing of artists including Sir Paul McCartney, Sandie Shaw and Craig David.
Dugher said: “The draft National Planning Policy Framework represents yet another positive development for the future of grassroots music venues. These venues are vital for our talent pipeline and I am delighted that the Government is continuing to back agent of change.
“UK Music and fellow campaigners like the Music Venue Trust will work together to ensure these proposals properly reflect recent positive commitments from the Government to deliver legally robust protections for music venues.”
Housing minister Sajid Javid responded to the campaign in January by announcing plans to enshrine the agent of change principle in law. A consultation on the draft NPPF will run until May 10 with new rules set to come into force before the summer.
Dugher added: “Thanks in particular to Matt Hancock and Sajid Javid for listening to the industry and for driving this in government. We look forward to working with the Government over the period of the consultation to ensure the voice of grassroots venues is heard loud and clear.”
Scottish venues are also fighting to prevent closures as a result of property developments. The Scottish Government has said it will strengthen planning rules.