Live music venues win protection against property developers

Let’s call it a win for rock n roll. The Scottish Government confirmed today that developers building new homes near live music venues across Scotland will be responsible for ensuring residents are not disturbed by noise under new planning guidance.

Scottish housing minister Kevin Stewart said venues “should not have to make high-cost changes or deal with expensive disputes” due to complaints from new housing developments. The move follows a concerted campaign from promoters, venue owners, musicians and members of the public who have lobbied to protect venues like King Tut’s, SWG3, The Barrowlands, O2 Academy and the Sub Club in Glasgow.

A letter is being sent to all planning authorities asking them to ensure decisions reflect this principle from now on. It will be formally included in a new version of the national planning framework which is expected to be adopted in 2020.

Stewart said: “The Scottish Government recognises the significant cultural and economic contribution of our music industry.

“It is only right we do what we can to protect the established and emerging musical talent and that is why we are embedding the agent of change principle in our planning guidance.

“I have asked the chief planner to write to all planning authorities asking them to act now.

“Music venues should not have to make high-cost changes or deal with expensive disputes because of new developments.”


He added: “Developers will be responsible for identifying and solving any potential issues with noise, giving residents of new homes a better quality of life and allowing our music venues to continue to operate.”

Geoff Ellis, DF Concerts CEO, said: “Today’s news that the agent of change principle will be adopted into Scottish planning policy is a huge step in protecting Scotland’s live music scene.

“It removes a crippling threat that loomed over our music venues for too long.”

Survey results released on Friday suggest that Glasgow’s live music scene brings an economic boost to the city of almost £80m a year as well as supporting thousands of jobs. There are almost 250 music venues in Glasgow.