HomeInsightsPRS for Music says music industry campaign prompts action from Government to help protect UK music venues.

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PRS for Music has reported that UK Music, Music Venue Trust and the Musicians’ Union are welcoming new Government legislation, in the form of The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Order 2016 laid before Parliament on 11 March 2016, to protect music venues.

The new regulations, which come into force on 6 April 2016, mean that developers are now required to seek prior approval on noise impacts before a change of use from an office to a residential building can be carried out.  PRS for Music says that 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.

PRS for Music reports that 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 £123 million 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 the steps the 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.

Mark Davyd, CEO Music Venue Trust, said: “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”.  To read PRS for Music’s press release in full, click here.

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