Music industry campaign prompts action

Music industry campaign prompts action from Government to help protect UK music venues

Music industry

Today, UK Music, Music Venue Trust and Musicians’ Union welcome new Government legislation to protect music venues following a meeting with Ministers at the Department for Communities and Local Government and Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP.

New regulations, coming into effect on 6 April 2016, mean developers are now required to seek prior approval on noise impacts before a change of use from an office to residential building can be carried out.

Recent permitted development right extensions that have allowed changes of use to take place have put pressure on music venues making them prone to noise complaints from residents once they move into the area. In London alone 35% of grassroots music venues have closed in the past eight years.

The new regulations will amend the permitted development right.

UK Music’s Bristol live music census published this month by Bucks New University found that 50% of the city’s music venues were affected by development, noise or planning issues. These issues pose a direct threat to the future of Bristol’s vibrant ecosystem which generated £123million towards the local economy in 2015 and supported 927 (full time equivalent) jobs. The UK live music sector as a whole contributed almost a billion pounds in GVA to the UK economy in 2014 and employs over 25,000 people across the country.

Details of the new regulations were revealed in a letter to UK Music CEO Jo Dipple. Ministers suggest that the new regulations will encourage local authorities to require applicants under the permitted development right to put in place noise mitigation measures where appropriate.

The Ministers’ letter outlines steps Government intends to take including notifying chief planning officers of the change to permitted development rights and re-emphasising updated planning guidance on noise that highlights the potential of new residential developments on live music venues. Whilst these steps do not constitute the introduction of an Agent of Change principle, the new regulations mark a step-change in planning law.

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Order 2016 was presented to Parliament on 11th March 2016 and will come into effect from the 6th April 2016.

The new regulations can be found here.

Commenting on the amendment,

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We warmly welcome this breakthrough for the UK's grassroots music venues. This common sense move by the government provides an opportunity for local authorities to use their powers to ensure that live music continues to play a vital economic, cultural and social role in our towns and cities. For music venues, this has never been about stopping development or preventing the creation of much needed new housing; it's always been about ensuring that new development recognises the culture, economy and vibrancy of city centres by building great housing, enabling existing music venues and new residents to live in harmony. This is a major victory for the UK's music venues and music fans. The fight to protect, secure and improve them goes on.

Mark Davyd, CEO, Music Venue Trust
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Ministers Ed Vaizey, Brandon Lewis and James Wharton deserve sincere thanks for taking up our cause and offering to act on industry concerns. There are times when it seems Government does not listen. When it does, and when it acts on what it hears, we should be proud of our political masters. The Music Venue Trust has done an amazing job to raise awareness and push this issue to the top of the Governmental “in tray”. If these new regulations have the desired effect, grassroots venues around the UK will have additional powers to help them survive and prosper.

Jo Dipple, CEO, UK Music
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We are delighted to see that the Government has responded to our calls for action to protect grassroots live music venues. Hopefully, this will ensure a brighter future for this vital resource.

Horace Trubridge, Assistant General Secretary, Musicians’ Union

About Music Venue Trust:

Music Venue Trust, founded in 2014, is a registered charity that seeks to protect, secure and improve the UK’s network of small to medium scale, mostly independently run, grassroots music venues. We have a long term plan to protect that live music network which includes, where necessary, taking into charitable ownership freehold properties so they can be removed from commercial pressures and leased back to passionate music professionals to continue their operation.

For further information please visit www.musicvenuetrust.com

About UK Music:

 UK Music is the umbrella organisation which represents the collective interests of the UK’s commercial music industry - from artists, musicians, songwriters and composers, to record labels, music managers, music publishers, studio producers, music licensing organisations and the live music industry. The members of UK Music are: AIM, BASCA, BPI, FAC, MMF, MPA, MPG, MU, PPL, PRS for Music and the Live Music Group.

 For further information please visit www.ukmusic.org

About Musicians’ Union:

 The Musicians' Union was established in 1893 and represents over 30,000 musicians working in all sectors and genres of music. As well as negotiating on behalf of its members with all the major employers in the industry, the MU offers a range of services tailored for the self-employed by providing assistance for professional and student musicians of all ages. For more information please visit @WeAreTheMU.

About PRS for Music

PRS for Music represents the rights of songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK and around the world. As a membership organisation the company ensures creators are paid whenever their music and songs are played, performed, broadcast or reproduced in public and provides business and community groups with access to 22.2 million songs through its music licences. With over 100 representation agreements in place globally, PRS for Music's network represents over two million music creators.

In 2016, the organisation collected over half a billion pounds (£621.5m) on behalf of its members, making it one of the world’s leading music collective management organisations.