Planning change to protect music venues

16 February 2018, 16:20 | Updated: 16 February 2018, 16:22


Housing developers building new homes near established music venues will be responsible for ensuring residents are not disturbed by noise, under new planning guidance.

Scottish Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said venues "should not have to make high cost changes or deal with expensive disputes" due to complaints from new housing developments.

A letter is being sent to all planning authorities asking them to ensure decisions reflect the principle from now on and it will be formally included in a new version of the national planning framework which is expected to be adopted in 2020.

Mr Stewart said: "The Scottish Government recognises the significant cultural and economic contribution of our music industry.

"It is only right we do what we can to protect the established and emerging musical talent and that is why we are embedding the Agent of Change principle in our planning guidance.

"I have asked the Chief Planner to write to all planning authorities asking them to act now.

"Music venues should not have to make high cost changes or deal with expensive disputes because of new developments.

"Developers will be responsible for identifying and solving any potential issues with noise, giving residents of new homes a better quality of life and allowing our music venues to continue to operate."

Campaigners including Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald welcomed the new rule, which could mean housing developers have to install measures such as soundproofing in new developments to cut down on noise.

Mr Macdonald said: "I am delighted that the Scottish Government has got on board with the music industry's campaign and accepted that the Agent of Change principle has a place in Scottish Planning Policy.

"The commitments given by the Minister today are a step in the right direction, and will benefit music venues across Scotland at risk of closure because of new developments in their vicinity."

Geoff Ellis, DF Concerts CEO, said: "Today's news that the Agent of Change principle will be adopted into Scottish Planning policy is a huge step in protecting Scotland's live music scene.

"It removes a crippling threat that loomed over our music venues for too long."

UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher added: "This is a landmark victory for all those who fought so hard to safeguard the future of music venues in Scotland and across the UK - from grassroots community activists to global music stars who have spent years calling for Agent of Change.

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

Music Venue Trust strategic director Beverley Whitrick said: "Ministers have listened to the case and taken on board the fact that grassroots music venues need protection and recognition for their contribution to our towns and cities."