Musicians Union take ‘agent of change’ principle to government

July 2015

Live events sector



The Musicians’ Union has begun lobbying the UK Parliament and government over the so called ‘agent of change’ principle which is meant to ensure that property developers who wish to build or convert properties into residential addresses next to existing live music venues should have to take legal and financial responsibility to provide whatever sound proofing is necessary to ensure the venue and future residents can co-exist. Recent noise complaints have forced a number of UK venues to close, often brought by people who moved to the area knowing there was a music venue located there. London Mayor Boris Johnson brokered a deal to protect the Ministry of Sound in in South London from a proposed development, but many  grassroots music venues rarely have the time, resources or budget required to battle developers, residents or to pay for costly sound proofing to be put in. The ‘agent of change’ principle already exists in Australia and was recently introduced in San Francisco. In Australia, under the ‘agent of change’ doctrine, residential developers building city centre apartments are obliged by law to soundproof their developments themselves:
The Musicians Union’s General Secretary John Smith said: “Music venues across the country are vitally important – both for musicians and bands who rely on them for their livelihoods and for music fans and local communities”. He went on: “Venues must, of course, stick to the terms of their licence and residents must be able to complain if they do not comply or are causing a genuine nuisance. But a growing number of well-established venues have been forced to close or to undertake expensive noise reduction work as a result of noise complaints and abatement notices served by new developments. We would like the government to consider introducing the agent of change principle in order to help protect these important cultural spaces”. and and here

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