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UK government announces it will back Agent of Change

The campaign to save music venues by imposing stricter rules on property developers has been backed by the government, which UK Music described as 'a seismic victory.'

  • By Lucy Doyle
  • 18 Jan 2018
  • min read
UK Music achieved 'a seismic victory' today as the government announced it will back vital plans to save music venues under threat from developers.

UK Music, which represents the UK recorded and live music industry, had been campaigning to get the Agent of Change principle enshrined in UK law to protect venues.

The legislation would require property developers to take into account the impact of their project on pre-existing businesses such as music venues, before going ahead with their plans.

New developers could also be responsible for funding extra soundproofing for music venues to avoid noise complaints from new neighbours.

Sajid Javid, secretary of state for housing, communities and local government said that the government is throwing its support behind the plan.

Javid also promised major changes to the nationwide planning policies that planning authorities must legally comply with.

The promised changes will be to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which sets out the Government’s planning policies.

Over the past decade, 35 percent of music venues across the country have closed.

The government's announcement was in response to Labour MP John Spellar who unveiled his Agent of Change Bill on 10 January.

Leading music figures gathered outside the Houses of Parliament ahead of his proposal to show their support, including Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, Feargal Sharkey, Sandie Shaw, Nadine Shah, Billy Bragg, Jeremy Pritchard (Everything Everything), The Sex Pistols’ Glen Matlock and Tom Gray (Gomez).

UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher said: '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.

'We are delighted the Government has thrown its support behind our Agent of Change plan and is strengthening the rules to protect grassroots music venues. It’s a tremendous boost for the live music industry.

John Spellar said: '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.'

See also: ‘The rate of closure is terrifying’: Nick Mason on UK venues >
Leading music figures head to Westminster to save venues >