New music venue law: why it’s a great thing for the UK’s live scene
Night and Day Cafe, Manchester

The fight against foolhardy developers and the demise of the live music scene took a positive turn this week, with the passing of new legislation.

Yesterday saw the Music Venue Trust expressing their delight at the passing of the ‘The Town and Country Planning Order 2016′, which comes into effect from next month.

While a government bill may not seem like the rock n’ roll story of the century, it’s actually a positive outcome for any gig-goers who are tired of their favourite venues being shut down.

For those who aren’t dedicated legal eagles, we’ve put together a short summary of the key points involved.

You have to consider the noise impact before converting offices

The new legislation means that local planning authorities have to consider the noise impact from existing businesses (including concert halls, nightclubs, even roller discos) before they sign off on converting office spaces into residential flats.

This is good news

In recent years, a number of high profile small music venues have closed their doors, and a number of the UK’s nightclub venues has been halved in a decade.

Famously, Manchester’s Night & Day Cafe was issued with a nuisance notice from the Council after a neighbour issued a complaint about the noise.

Brighton’s Blind Tiger Club also cited a similar reason for their closure in 2014, after 160 years as a licensed venue.

This legislation will go a long way in protecting venues from harassment from developers, or from new residents who haven’t considered that living by a live music venue could result in some noise.

There’s still more to do

While the proposals are definitely a mark in the win column for the Music Venue Trust (who have a number of high profile backers from the world of music) – it’s not the whole caboodle.

The group are still pushing for a full Agent of Change law for music venues, which would make the developers responsible for mitigating between any future noise rows with venues and residents.

However, it’s a step in the right direction in preserving the UK’s live music scene and saving it from total extinction.

Congrats, guys.

You can read the full The Town and Country Planning Order 2016 here


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Main image: CC / Flickr / Man Alive!