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UK government backs plans to help save music venues

UK government backs campaign to help protect UK music venues which are under threat from housing developers

The UK government has pledged their support to the Agent Of Change campaign, which was set up by the Music Venue Trust to protect music venues which find themselves under threat from housing developers.

Many smaller venues, including Manchester’s Roadhouse and the Cockpit in Leeds, have been forced to close their doors in recent years due to issues such as noise abatement legislation. And in November, Bristol’s Thekla reported that it was under threat due to plans for a proposed residential development nearby.

Housing Secretary Sajid Javid says he’ll work with the music industry to improve planning policy across the country, making sure that it will be the responsibility of the housing developer to ensure that their new-builds have adequate soundproofing if planned close to a music venue.

Javid says: “Music venues play a vital role in our communities, bringing people together and contributing to the local economy and supporting the country’s grassroots music culture.

“I have always thought it unfair that the burden is on long-standing music venues to solve noise issues when property developers choose to build nearby."

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He adds: “That’s why I consulted on this in February last year as part of the housing white paper. I am pleased to finally have an opportunity to right this wrong and also give more peace of mind to new residents moving into local properties.”

UK Music Chief Executive Michael Dugher tells The Musicians' Union: “This is a seismic victory for all those who fought so hard to safeguard the future of music venues across the UK – from grassroots community activists to Britain’s global music stars who have spent years calling for Agent Of Change and recently supported the Spellar Bill.

“Music makes a huge contribution to our country, bringing enjoyment to millions and contributing £4.4 billion to our economy. Supporting grassroots venues is key to maintaining the UK's vibrant and diverse music scene, as well as ensuring we have the talent pipeline to maintain Britain’s position as a global force in music.”

The Agent Of Change campaign had cross-party support and was led by Labour MP John Spellar and backed by artists including Paul McCartney, Nick Mason and Brian Eno.

Last year, Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson condemned the closure of small music venues across the UK and called for more to be done to ensure their future.

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