Giving evidence to the House of Lords at the review of the Licensing Act, both Deltic Group chief executive Peter Marks, and NTIA (Night Time Industries Association) chairman Alan Miller said that planning around licensed premises needed a rethink.
Marks and Miller told the Lords that an agent-of-change principle would benefit local residents - a policy that the Morning Advertiser has long advocated as part of its Make Some Noise campaign - as well as licensed premises.
The principle denotes that if a venue is in place before a residential building, the residential building would be responsible for paying for soundproofing. Likewise, if a new venue opens in a residential area, the venue is responsible for the cost.
Giving anecdotal evidence of a Deltic Group premises in Exeter, Marks said: "We have a premises in Exeter, which has been surrounded by 1,000 student flats over the past five years and we are being held to task by this, which seems crazy."
A 'sensible proposition'
When Miller was asked about the principle, which is currently seen in cities in both Australia and Canada, he called it a ‘sensible proposition’.
"With that [principle], new residents are informed of the activity that exists; meaning they are told if it is a quiet zone or if it is a very lively zone. We definitely think an agent-of-change principle should be something we have in the UK," he added.
Later on in the evidence session, Marks, whose company owns the Oceana and Liquid nightclub brands, reiterated his call for an agent-of-change principle. "Whoever was there first matters. It is then up to the other to fit in with what was there first. I can't think of a fairer system.
"I understand why residents feel that way - I myself live on high street in a Northamptonshire town and on a Friday night I do hear people going past my door - but it comes with the territory of where you live. I do get where some residents are coming from, but I revert to the agent-of-change principle as the fairest way to deal with it."
Marks added that he felt that the best way to make the agent-of-change principle an effective part of legislation would be for planning and licensing committees to work closer together.