“Live music venues form part of the cultural lifeblood of our communities and councils want to do everything they can to help protect and maintain them, while balancing this against the needs of neighbours and other residents."
Responding to the results of the UK’s first live music census announced today, which showed that increasing business rates and noise level restrictions are affecting small live music venues, Chair of the LGA’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Committee, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said:
“Live music venues form part of the cultural lifeblood of our communities and councils want to do everything they can to help protect and maintain them, while balancing this against the needs of neighbours and other residents.
“The Government only last month accepted our call, alongside the Music Venue Trust and others, for a strengthening of the planning rules to help protect live venues including pubs, theatres, music and concert halls.
“This much-needed, common sense update will help achieve a fair and balanced solution between the obligations of housing developers and protecting our vital grassroots music scene, as the law needs to recognise and reflect what both our residents and visitors want.
“Increasing demand for housing in town and city centres means councils have a duty to help meet this need while also wanting to safeguard what makes our local areas distinctive and attractive, including live performance venues.
“At the moment someone can knowingly move next door to such a venue and then decide afterwards that the music is a nuisance, in the same way that it is not right for a venue to install a speaker system without consideration for nearby residents.
“The Government’s adoption of the Agent of Change principle means that a person or business responsible for a change in noise conditions will become responsible for managing that change, rather than the burden falling unfairly on already-established venues or long-time residents who were in place before the change was made.”
The LGA supported the passage of the Live Music Act 2012, which made it easier for smaller venues with an alcohol licence, such as pubs, to host live music.
Councils also have the power to offer discretionary rates relief for businesses, including those which contribute to the night time economy such as live music venues.