MPs urged to back ‘agent of change’ Bill to protect bars and clubs

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MPs are being urged to back a new Bill that proposes introducing the “agent of change” principle to protect late-night bars, clubs and music venues.

The Planning (Agent of Change) Bill, presented by MP John Spellar, was passed at its first reading in Parliament yesterday and is going forward for debate at a second reading in the House on January 19.

It would require property developers to take into account pre-existing businesses including bars, pubs, nightclubs and music venues before going ahead with building new homes. It follows late-night venues being forced to close after complaints about noise from residents moving into the area (pictured).

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, said: “A UK-wide adoption of the agent of change principle would be a pragmatic and positive move that would secure the status of our hugely important music venues and nightclubs.

“As a country, we are fiercely proud of our world-class musical talent and our history of producing musical pioneers and innovators. Should music venues continue to be placed at risk by developers, this talent will have nowhere to flourish. Venues are crucial parts of local communities and fantastic cultural and economic assets.

“The mayor of London Sadiq Khan has already included the principle in the Draft London Plan, recognising the value of London’s music venues and the significant damage that would be done should they close. We are urging MPs to support the principle to secure the future of music venues across the UK.”

The British Beer and Pub Association also welcomed publication of the Bill. BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “It is great to see this issue being pushed up the agenda thanks to John Spellar who along with the Bill’s other sponsors are strong supporters of the Great British pub. I hope the Government will take up the issue as the Bill moves on to its next stage.

“It is vital that community pubs are not placed under threat by new housing developments, where new residents may complain about noise from premises which have been there for hundreds of years.

“The mayor of London has also given his firm support for this principle in his new planning guidance and his late-night vision for London, as this is so important for venues in urban areas. We will continue to work with MPs, the London mayor, the night czar and all others who support this proposal.”

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