Let the music play

New legislation will protect live music venues in the UK from property developers after worrying research last year found that half the late night music venues in the country had been closed in the last decade to make way for new developments.

As of 6 April, local planning authorities will have to consider noise impacts on new residents from existing businesses under an amended permitted development right, according to the Music Venue Trust, which was created in 2014 to protect the UK live music network. This will mean that people moving into new builds near reputable, longstanding venues will be given the option to apply for noise mitigation rather than filing a noise complaint at a later date.

Permitted development rights have been extended in recent years and allow certain developments to take place without the need to go through the full planning system. However, the new regulations mean 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.

A letter from the Department for Communities and Local Government said that the move is a positive measure, which will ensure that where the right is delivering much needed new homes, local authorities are able to protect well-established music venues from having unreasonable restrictions placed on their operations.

In London, over a third of grassroots music venues have been closed down in the past eight years, with iconic venues such as Madame Jojo’s and The Buffalo Bar amongst the most high profile closures.

As a spokesman for the Music Venues Trust pointed out, the legislation has never been about stopping development or preventing the creation of much needed new housing but 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.

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Nigel is the Managing Partner and Head of Litigation and Dispute Resolution in the London office of Mackrell Turner Garrett.