MSP welcomes Agent of Change success

27 September 2018

North East Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald has welcomed the Local Government Committee’s first vote in support of the principle of Agent of Change, which will give live music venues more protection against new developments in their neighbourhoods.

Following today’s meeting of the Local Government Committee, at which members voted to back the first of Lewis Macdonald’s amendments introducing Agent of Change and the designation of culturally significant zones, Lewis Macdonald said:

“This is very welcome news for music venues across Scotland, many of whom are facing an uncertain future because of the proliferation of city centre developments.

“Including the Agent of Change principle in law is a common sense approach, and allows councils to refuse planning application if they feel that the operation of an existing live music venue would be adversely affected by a new development, or to impose planning conditions on the developer to ensure that their building is adequately sound-proofed.

“The Committee has clearly decided the best way forward is to endorse these proposed changes at this stage, and to do any necessary tweaking when the Bill is considered by Parliament as a whole at Stage Three, rather than to wait for Government Ministers to bring forward further amendments of their own.

“This support means that Scotland is taking the lead on protecting live music venues, and moving ahead of England and Wales by including Agent of Change in planning law, and not relying on planning policy alone.

“This has been a long campaign, but thanks to support from Music Venue Trust, UK Music, and music venue owners and music lovers from across Scotland, we are making real progress on protecting Scotland’s live music heritage.”

Craig Adams, of Aberdeen live music venue Krakatoa, added:

“Today’s vote, represents a step change in Scotland’s approach to protecting grassroots music venues.

"The delineation of culturally significant zones in particular, has always been a key component to addressing this problem.

“What Lewis and his team have achieved in support of live music is absolutely phenomenal.

"I’d also like to thank Aberdeen City Council, who wrote to the Scottish Government regarding this issue a couple of years back, helping to trigger the subsequent initiative.”