London venues to be protected by agent of change rule

London live music venues have been boosted by plans that would force property developers to take into account pre-existing businesses when applying for planning permission.

Under the new London Plan draft proposed by Mayor Sadiq Khan, an agent of change rule will make developers building new residential buildings next to existing venues and pubs, responsible for the costs of ensuring adequate soundproofing for the building.

That would avoid the risk of new neighbours complaining about noise from an existing venue, and allow them to continue to operate without fear of complaints and potential legal battles.

The move was welcomed by the Music Venue Trust (MVT) and trade body UK Music, who have campaigned for the introduction of the rule for nearly three years.

MVT strategic director Beverley Whitrick said: “We’re really pleased. It’s going to give grassroots venues greater confidence because it shows they’re being taken a bit more seriously and that there’s a wish to alleviate some of the pressures they face.

“This sends a signal to other administrations around the UK that this can be done.”

A statement from the Mayor’s office said: “Boroughs will have to refuse proposals from developers that have not clearly demonstrated how they will manage this noise impact.

“I’ve set out measures in my draft London Plan to protect pubs against redevelopment, ensure they can co-exist peacefully with nearby residential properties and ensure that councils across the capital recognise their importance to the city’s cultural fabric.”

The MVT wants the agent of change principle to be adopted into UK law, with MP John Spellar expected to introduce a Private Members Bill on the matter in early 2018.

The MVT said: “In the lead up to the reading of John’s bill, we will be asking everyone who cares about this issue to join us and finally get this over the line.”