James with Billy Bragg at the launch of the campaign
James with Billy Bragg at the launch of the campaign

Bury North MP and former musician James Frith has welcomed the Government’s promise to introduce the “Agent of Change” principle in planning law, throwing a lifeline to live music venues in Bury and across the UK.

The Government’s announcement follows a campaign by UK Music, British musicians and a cross-party group of MPs, including Bury’s James Frith, and will place a requirement in planning law on developers to take account of any new plans on pre-existing businesses like music venues before going ahead with new developments. This could mean, for example, a developer planning to build new flats must take responsibility for soundproofing to avoid the risk of new neighbours complaining about noise from a music venue.

James said:

“I welcome the Government’s pledge to introduce the “agent of change” rule into planning law 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.”

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.

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