On the 18 January, the Government announced plans to adopt Agent of Change into the national planning policy framework. The Housing Secretary announced that housing developers building new homes near music venues should be responsible for addressing noise issues in a move to protect both music venues and their neighbours.
The national planning policy framework will now be clarified to include detailed reference to the agent of change principle. The move will mean developers should be responsible for identifying and solving any sound problems if granted permission to build and will avoid music venues, community and sports clubs and even churches running into expensive issues as a result of complaints from new neighbours.
There is now commitment to Agent of Change for planning policy in England and Wales but not yet in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
It should be noted that this is planning policy specifically relating to new residential properties. It does not alter the ability of people moving into existing residential properties to complain about noise coming from a venue nor does it affect any aspect of Licensing. It should also be noted that this is a policy, not a legislative change.
However, the increase in awareness of the phrase Agent of Change and the support voiced by MPs and music industry figures are positive steps that hopefully can now be built on.
If you require more information on this topic, you can contact a member of our Licensing team by clicking here.