Pub industry welcomes ‘Agent of Change’ bill proposal to protect music venues

John Spellar
12/01/2018 - 07:00
The British pub industry has praised the introduction into parliament a bill that aims to protect the rights of the UK’s music venues.

Both the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) and ALMR (Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers) have spoken out in support of yesterday’s ‘Agent of Change’ bill proposal in the House of Commons from Warley MP John Spellar.

This Bill, which is designed to protect existing music venues from closure and cost pressures from the development of new residential properties in their vicinity, especially over questions of noise, was called “pragmatic and positive” by ALMR chief, Kate Nicholls.

She said: “A UK-wide adoption of the Agent of Change Principle would secure the status of our hugely important music venues and nightclubs.

“As a country, we are fiercely proud of our world-class musical talent and our history of producing musical pioneers and innovators.

“Should music venues continue to be placed at risk by developers, this talent will have nowhere to flourish. Venues are crucial parts of local communities and fantastic cultural and economic assets.

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said the an adoption of the bill would be also protect the UK’s pubs which she says are also liable to noise complains.

“It is great to see this issue being pushed up the agenda, thanks to John Spellar who along with the Bill’s other sponsors are strong supporters of the Great British pub,” said Simmonds. “I hope the Government will take up the issue as the bill moves on to its next stage.

“It is vital that community pubs are not placed under threat by new housing developments, where new residents may complain about noise from premises which have been there for hundreds of years.

“The Mayor of London has also given his firm support for this principle in his new planning guidance and his late-night vision for London, as this is so important for venues in urban areas."

Addressing Parliament in the Bill's first reading, Wirrall said, “Without the grassroots clubs, pubs and music venues my career could have been very different. If we don’t support music at this level, then the future of music in general is in danger.

“My short Bill is a modest and focused measure that would adopt the principle of agent of change into planning law. That basically means that when buildings are converted to residential use or a new development is put up, the onus is on the developer—not the venue—to ensure that the new dwellings are protected from factors, particularly noise, that could be held to affect their general amenity and enjoyment.”

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