6 December 2017
Planning law should be changed to provide protection for live music venues which may be under threat because of new housing developments, Scottish Labour's Lewis Macdonald said today.
The party's Culture spokesperson called on Scottish Ministers to use the upcoming Planning Bill to introduce the "Agent of Change" principle into law.
Currently, if new housing is built next to an existing music venue, or if non-residential buildings are converted into flats or hotels, then any nearby music venue has to pay for sound-proofing – which can often be so expensive, it forces the venue to close.
However, Agent of Change legislation puts the legal and financial responsibility for sound-proofing adaptations on to the person who is introducing the change.
Speaking after a Ministerial Statement on the Planning Bill, Lewis Macdonald said:
“Agent of Change has already been introduced into the next London Plan by Mayor Sadiq Khan and the Welsh Government intend to include it in the new Wales Planning Policy.
“However, the upcoming Scottish Planning Bill gives Scotland the opportunity to lead the rest of the UK by embedding the principle of Agent of Change in planning law, giving music venues legal protection from the impact of new residential developments.
“Live music is enormously important to Scotland’s cultural life, and live music tourism generated £295 million for the Scottish economy in 2016.
“This is an opportunity to make a common sense change to the law that will make a difference to everyone who has ever attended a live music concert in Scotland.”