Calls for Government to revamp approach to protecting music venues

By Fred A'Court

- Last updated on GMT

Force for good: UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls says the hospitality industry has an opportunity to stimulate growth around the country
Force for good: UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls says the hospitality industry has an opportunity to stimulate growth around the country
A revamped approach to planning that safeguards live-music venues and nightclubs should be adopted by the Government, UKHospitality says.

The trade body makes the recommendation, along with a range of other suggested measures, in its submission to the National (England) Planning Policy consultation.

The submission calls on the Government to adopt an approach to planning that supports and encourages the growth and stability of hospitality venues.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Nightclubs, bars, restaurants and the wider hospitality sector have an opportunity to stimulate growth around the UK and revitalise town and city centres.

Planning restrictions

She added: “Too often, however, we see planning restrictions in place that prevent businesses from achieving their true potential and local areas miss out and suffer as a result.”

Three key recommendations to boost business growth are made by UKHospitality:

  • Full support for the inclusion of the agent-of-change principle (AFCP) in the English planning regime, to safeguard live music venues and nightclubs in particular, and an extension to all other planning jurisdictions in the UK,
  • Any future planning policy should include a focus area on supporting tourism, building on the former Good Practice Guide on Planning for Tourism​ developed by the industry and the Department for Communities & Local Government
  • Increased speed and flexibility in the planning process itself, to allow existing businesses to evolve and expand their sites.

UKHospitality has also welcomed the inclusion of business growth and productivity in the planning framework, and support for both rural and town centre/high-street businesses in the planning system

Agent of change principle

Nicholls added: “We have taken this opportunity to highlight the potential of the sector to the Government and shown exactly what can be done to free businesses from legislative restrictions to the benefit of communities.

“Chief among these is the UK-wide introduction of the agent-of-change principal. The Mayor of London has already acknowledged the benefits presented by the scheme and it is time the Government introduced it, along with other similar positive action, on a national scale.”

* The agent-of-change principle means that any person, business or organisation introducing a change must pay for the cost of minimising noise. If a music venue or nightclub introduces change it pays. However if, for example, houses are built near to an existing music venue then the developer pays.

Related topics: Licensing law

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