Agent of Change amendment a ‘victory’ for music industry

31 Oct 2018

Music venues which have new developments built nearby will no longer have to foot the bill for expensive noise-proofing, after long term campaigning by the Scottish Conservatives.

Glasgow MSP Adam Tomkins has secured an amendment in the new Planning Bill which enshrines the Agent of Change principle in law.

It means venues across Scotland could be spared huge bills for noise mitigation measures when developers move into the area.

Widely backed by the music industry, he called for Agent of Change to be legislated for after it emerged that well-loved music venues in Glasgow such as King Tut’s, the Sub Club and the Barrowland Ballroom are facing escalating costs for soundproofing and legal services as a result of proposed developments on neighbouring land.

Currently, the costs of managing and mitigating the impact of noise on neighbouring residents and businesses falls to the premises making the noise, regardless of how long it has been operating in the area.

While very supportive of regeneration in town and city centres, Mr Tomkins argued that “it’s only fair that developers looking to build in an area take responsibility for any impact on existing businesses.”

England and Wales have moved to include the Agent of Change principle in planning guidance, but Scotland is the first part of the UK to deliver it in legislation.

Mr Tomkins’ amendment is deliberately broad in scope to ensure that it applies to other sectors, as well as live music.

Adam Tomkins, MSP for Glasgow, said:

“Enshrining the Agent of Change principle in law is a well-deserved victory for the music industry.

“I’ve spoken extensively to music venues and business-owners in Glasgow about the impact of mounting costs for acoustic services when developers move in, and it’s clear these costs aren’t sustainable.

“It’s only fair that developers looking to build in an area take responsibility for any impact on existing businesses, and I’m very pleased that colleagues across the party divide share this view.

“This is in no sense an attempt to restrict the planning system, but a way to ensure that businesses and new developments can co-locate.

“The task ahead is to make sure that the law on Agent of Change is clear and workable, and I look forward to working with colleagues from opposition parties, the Scottish Government, and with stakeholders, to make this happen before the Bill completes its parliamentary passage.”