An important update that will hopefully affect live music venues for the better! We have been supporting this key change for many years at the MIA…
The Agent of Change principle should become part of national planning and licensing guidance, according to a House of Lords committee.
As it stands, UK law says that whoever is making a nuisance is always responsible for that nuisance. This means that if a noise exists, you can deliberately move next to it and demand it be turned off and UK law will support you. You could build balsawood huts next door to a music venue and simply wait for your residents to complain and the venue will have to pay all the costs to reduce their noise.
Agent of Change says that the person or business responsible for the change is also responsible for managing the impact of the change. For example, a resident who moves next door to a music venue would, in law, be assessed as having made that decision whilst understanding that there’s going to be some music noise!
Music Venues are in the frontline of the impact of our current laws, with an avalanche of cases potentially closing down music across the UK. But these are not the only community activities under attack. Complaints have been made against church bells, a new development next to a speedway race track where the residents don’t like the sound of the bikes, the brand new build next to a farm where the sheep are now, according to British law, too loud and a nuisance!
Following a 10-month inquiry into the Licensing Act 2003, the House of Lords committee found existing legislation was “flawed”. Among its recommendations were expanding Agent of Change to further help to safeguard venues and simplify the licensing process.
It also called for local authority planning committees to be abolished, along with late night levies, extra charges venues pay for policing, license fees to be set by local government rather than national, and disabled access to be taken into account when granting licenses.
“We ask Government to to take forward the Lords suggestion that a full Agent of Change principle for planning and licensing guidance be introduced.” Says Jo Dipple, Chief Executive of industry umbrella group UK Music. “If implemented, recommendations to introduce an Agent of Change principle and ditch the late night levy will make a big difference to the provision of music across the UK’s cities and regions.”
Have you done your bit to help?
On Friday 12 May, the MIA published an article called ‘Important Live Music Survey’ – http://www.mia.org.uk/2017/05/important-live-music-survey/
We asked for all of us in MI to complete a very important (and quick) survey put together by the Music Venue Trust, and share it with all of your contacts.
It will take you one minute to answer just seven questions that will make a real difference to our ability to fight for grassroots music venues. Take the survey at http://musicvenuetrust.com/