Minister for Local Government and Communities, Kevin Stewart MSP, has announced that Agent of Change is to be included in the next update of Scottish Planning Policy.
The Agent of Change legislation says that if a music venue is in place before a residential building, the person or business responsible for the change is responsible for managing its impact, for example, paying for soundproofing.
With a number of music venues, especially grassroots venues, coming under threat or in some cases having to close due to residential complaints, a number of musicians, music industry workers and politicians have been campaigning to get this legislation implemented.
One music industry organisation that has been backing the Agent of Change campaign is the Musicians’ Union, which has announced its delight at the news that the legislation will be made law in Scotland.
“After campaigning tirelessly with colleagues from the Musicians’ Union and elsewhere across the country, and seeing the Agent of Change principle come into force in English planning law, we are delighted that Scotland is now following suit,” said Caroline Sewell, MU Regional Organiser for Scotland
“This a real victory for the live music sector in what are already precarious times. It is also a victory for the musicians who rely on these venues to develop their craft and audiences and for the venues themselves, who play such a crucial role in our communities and the fabric of our live music ecosystem. Agent of Change is fair for everyone and the MU wholeheartedly welcomes this outcome.”
Horace Trubridge, MU General Secretary, added: “It’s great to see that Scotland will include the Agent of Change principle in the next update of Scottish Planning Policy. The MU has campaigned tirelessly for supportive action for the UK’s precious grassroots music venues and we are delighted to see our hard work pay off.
“These venues are the petri dish for the successful acts of tomorrow and without a healthy grassroots music circuit we will not be able to retain our enviable position in the international music sector.”
Until Agent of Change is officially incorporated into the Scottish Planning Policy, a Chief Planner Letter will be sent to planning authorities advising them that they should consider Agent of Change when assessing planning applications.