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Agent of Change: 2018 update

agent of change

30 July 2018: Changes to planning guidance to include Agent of Change

Further to our article on Agent of Change in February 2018, the National Planning Policy Framework has now been issued and includes provisions relating to the ‘Agent of Change principal.

The guidance means that planning policies and decisions should ensure new developments can be integrated effectively with existing businesses and facilities such as places of worship, pubs, music venues and sports clubs. Therefore, where the operation of an existing business might have a significant effect on a new development, the Developer should be required to provide suitable mitigation before the development is completed.  Developers of new residential accommodation in the vicinity of licensed premises will need to use suitable mitigation to ensure the pub is able to carry on as it did before.

It is now important for all operators of licensed premises to keep a close eye on planning applications near to them and to then seek advice.

If you require more information on this topic, please contact a member of our Alcohol & Entertainment Licensing team on 01332 340 211.


07 February 2018: The Government has announced plans to adopt Agent of Change into the national planning policy framework.

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.

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.

There is now a 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, please contact a member of our Alcohol & Entertainment Licensing team on 01332 340 211.

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