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Scottish live industry calls on Scottish government to adopt agent of change

By | Published on Tuesday 30 January 2018

Live Music

DF Concerts boss Geoff Ellis has called on the Scottish Parliament to introduce the ‘agent of change’ principle into planning law in the country in order to protect music venues.

The UK government recently announced that it would implement the principle into its planning guidelines. However, those rules only apply in England. The Welsh government, meanwhile, announced plans to implement the rule last May.

Agent of change basically puts the onus on property developers to protect new residential buildings from sound emanated from existing buildings nearby.

The lack of such an obligation has been a particular issue for music venues, which often move into run down areas of cities where rents are cheaper, in turn helping to regenerate those areas. Once made more desirable, the area attracts developers, who build new properties, into which new people move, who then complain about the noise from the venue that made it an area they’d like to live in in the first place.

The cost of sound proofing is prohibitively high for most small venues, and sound limits imposed by local councils in the wake of complaints often make putting on gigs impossible. Meanwhile, by the point this becomes a problem, the property developers are generally long gone.

The UK government recently announced plans to introduce agent of change into its planning rules that cover England. This followed a campaign by various music industry groups and proposed new legislation presented in Parliament by Labour MP John Spellar.

Geoff Ellis is now leading a group of Scottish live music industry reps in calling on the government there to implement agent of change in Scotland too.

“Right now, music venues in Scotland are under threat and we need to act quickly to protect their future”, he said in a statement. “Our venues are vital – they’re incubators for future headline acts, bring communities together through live concerts and generate £334 million to the Scottish tourism economy – therefore it’s crucial we make sure they remain open”.

A Scottish government spokesperson said: “We are looking at whether more can be done”.

For more on the campaign, click here.