James with Billy Bragg
James with Billy Bragg

Bury North MP and former musician James Frith has backed the introduction of the Planning (Agent of Change) Bill to the House of Commons. The Ten-minute Rule Bill, presented by John Spellar MP has received cross-party support and aims to incorporate the agent of change principle within planning law.

The Bill would mean that developers would have to take account of the impact of any new scheme on pre-existing businesses like music venues before going with their plans.

There has been a 35% decline in grassroots music venues in the UK over the last decade. UK Music has warned that existing planning laws are often a key factor struggling music venues must contend with.

Speaking at the launch of the Bill outside Parliament today, James said:

“I welcome the introduction of the agent of change Bill as a vital means of protecting the future of our best-loved grassroots music venues in Bury and elsewhere. As a former musician I played at many small venues in Greater Manchester and across the country and recognise their value. All too often planning laws have placed unreasonable demands on small venues, threatening the development of our world beating music industry.

“I am pleased that this Bill recognises the challenges that music venues face. I call on the Government to secure its speedy passage into law.”

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