This week, Managing Partner and real estate expert Richard Spector looks at new proposals which could even out the playing field between live music venues and property developers.
Last week, the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents 370 councils across England and Wales, backed a campaign which would give music venues protection from “outdated noise restrictions”.
Under current laws, anyone who takes up residence near a live music venue can ask for it to be quieter or restricted, regardless of who was there first. The costs of restricting the noise must be absorbed by the venue.
However, the proposed law, outlined in the Planning (Agent of Change) Bill, states it will be the “person or business responsible for a change in noise conditions who will be held responsible for managing that change”.
In practice, this means the developer of a residential block built near an established live music venue will be burdened with the responsibility of ensuring the residential block is suitably soundproofed. Likewise, a music venue opening in a residential area would be responsible for ensuring noise levels are restricted.
Richard Spector, who regularly advises on property development and lending, said the change may shake up the city landscape. He suggests that the proposal may impact on a lender’s desire to invest in a development based on its proximity to live music venues.
Councillor Gerald Vernon Jackson, Chair of the LGA’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said: “Our live music venues are part of the cultural lifeblood of communities, but sadly the increase in demand for housing in town centres is bringing some residents into conflict with them.
“It cannot be right that 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. Instead this proposal provides a common-sense solution which strikes a balance between the obligations of developers and protecting the vital live music scene in our towns and cities across the country.
“This Bill offers a much-needed update which has already drawn widespread support across the political spectrum, and we look forward to seeing its progress through Parliament.”
In November last year, London Mayor Sadiq Khan confirmed that the Agent of Change principle would be included in The London Plan 2018.
About Richard Spector: Managing Partner Richard specialises in property transactions and commercial litigation. Richard has acted in a number of high-profile cases and was heavily involved in the litigation that arose from the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Richard has been involved in a number of cross-border litigation cases and recently acted successfully for the Claimants in Harlequin Property (SVG) Ltd & Anr v Wilkins Kennedy, listed in the Lawyer’s top 20 cases of 2016.
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