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Agent of change campaign steps up ahead of Parliamentary proposal

By | Published on Thursday 21 December 2017

Houses Of Parliament

John Spellar MP’s ‘ten minute rule’ bill attempting to have the agent of change principle introduced into UK planning law will be read in Parliament on 10 Jan, it has been confirmed.

As previously reported, Spellar announced plans to introduce the bill last month, using rules that guarantee backbenchers up to ten minutes to debate proposed legislation in Parliament. The agent of change principle puts the onus of property developers to protect new residential buildings from noise coming from existing venues. Bills introduced into Parliament this way rarely become law, so various MPs and campaign groups have been putting on the pressure on the political and music communities to support the changes.

That includes the Music Venue Trust, whose Strategic Director Beverley Whitrick says of the current situation: “At the moment, UK law says that whoever is making a nuisance is always responsible for that nuisance. If a noise exists, you can deliberately move next to it and demand it be turned off and UK law will support you”

She goes on: “You can build balsa wood huts next door to a music venue and simply wait for your residents to complain and the venue will have to pay all the costs to reduce their noise. This is unfair and unreasonable. John Spellar’s bill will stop it, and that’s why we are reaching out across the music industry, cultural sector and politics to ask Parliament to act and make agent of change the law”.

Among the artists speaking out is ska musician Rhoda Dakar, who adds: “Grassroots music venues and clubs are the lifeblood of an industry in which we, as a nation, punch far above our weight. Our cultural capital is a precious commodity that, once frittered away, could not be replicated. Moving into an area because of what it offers, then colluding in its destruction, is an exercise in absurdity. Agent of change would draw a line under this. It is vital this becomes law!”

As well as lobbying politicians itself, the Music Venue Trust is also calling on the public to support a change in the law on social media and by directly contacting their MPs. Find out more about its Agent Of Change Now campaign here.