Music to the trade’s ears but more must be done

NEWS that the Scottish Government plans to implement the ‘agent of change’ principle in the planning system has rightly been welcomed by operators.

Although exact details have yet to be revealed, the measure is broadly intended to ensure developers of new residential properties near music venues are responsible for “identifying and solving any potential issues with noise”.

It is not law; but the Scottish Government has outlined its support for the principle and written to local authorities asking them to implement it immediately.

Operators have understandably welcomed the move.

The fact that a resident can move into a new development of flats next to an established music venue, complain about noise and the onus is on the operator to fork out for additional soundproofing (rather than the developer who built the flats next to the venue) or, in some cases, have to scrap live music altogether, seems ridiculous. The agent of change principle is intended to rectify this.

But, as many operators have said, it really needs to go further and protect venues beyond new-build properties. What about cases where someone buys an existing property above or next to a long-established pub which offers live music and complains about noise – surely the ‘agent of change’ should be the person moving into the property above or next to the pub which has put on live music for years?

Music is the heartbeat of so many venues; it’s absolutely vital that these venues are protected.