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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Agent of Change petition update



One week after launching the petition we are delighted to say that more than 10,000 people have already signed. We need to demonstrate much more support so please read Frank's message and then do as he asks!
"Thanks everyone for all the support for this campaign so far. Ten years ago today I played my first show at a small venue in London, 93 Feet East, and since then I've played 1,614 shows in hundreds of venues (which makes me feel pretty old). Please ask your friends and family to support this petition and let's get a small but essential change to UK Law that will give the next person trying to do what I did the same opportunity."
Change.Org/SaveMusicVenues

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Frank Turner Launches Petition to Protect UK's Live Music Venues

Frank Turner Delivers Strongly Worded Letter and Video Demanding Culture Secretary Sajid Javid Adopt the Agent of Change Principle



Acclaimed musician Frank Turner has today launched a new campaign to protect the future of the UK's live music venues. A passionate supporter of small independent venues, Frank has written to Culture Secretary Sajid Javid, calling on him to adopt the Agent of Change principle into UK law to halt the escalating threats to dedicated live music clubs and other community activities. To focus attention on this issue Frank is calling on music fans across the country to sign his petition demanding that the government act: http://qr.net/changenow

In a carefully considered and direct plea for action, Frank tells Sajid Javid:
"You, as the Culture Secretary, are genuinely facing a meltdown in the British live music circuit. Music venues are fighting off noise complaints, abatement notices and planning applications; 12 venues are already under threat, an avalanche will follow if we don't take action. These venues are where I grew up, where I learned about rock’n’roll music, where I saw all my favourite bands. The venues where I played my first shows and some of my most recent, the home of the music scene that has given me my career, my passion and my life. 

And yet a solution is simple, and it's called the Agent of Change principle. We demand that you work with the Music Venue Trust and the UK's incredible network of live music venues. 

Let's act together, right now, to adopt and enforce Agent of Change".

The Music Venue Trust has been campaigning to protect and secure the UK live music network since January. Beverley Whitrick of the Trust explains, "The Agent of Change Principle is not complicated or controversial, it's simple common sense: The person or business responsible for the change is responsible for managing the impact of the change. This means that an apartment block to be built near an established live music venue would have to pay for soundproofing, while a live music venue opening in a residential area would be responsible for the costs. A resident who moves next door to a music venue would, in law, be assessed as having made that decision understanding that there's going to be some music noise, and a music venue that buys a new PA would be expected to carry out tests to make sure its noise emissions don't increase." 

The petition is a collaboration between Frank Turner and Music Venue Trust, and is supported by Musicians' Union, Music Industries Association, UK Music and many other music industry bodies. 

Horace Trubridge of the MU said: 
"The MU urges Government to adopt the ‘Agent of Change’ principle, it is vital to the long term survival of live music venues across the country that the law is changed. The current situation where these valuable cultural centres are vulnerable to closure simply because of an adjacent building being converted to accommodation is unacceptable. The MU encourages the public to support this campaign and urges Government to take action to protect live music venues." 

Paul McManus of MIA said: 
“The Music Industries Association (MIA) is in total support of the campaign to implement Agent of Change legislation. Music venues, especially smaller ones, are the lifeblood of musical communities and as the UK musical instrument trade body we welcome the Music Venue Trust initiative and offer all possible help.” 

UK Music CEO Jo Dipple said: 
“Grassroots live music is the foundation for our music industry. This foundation is supported by small and iconic venues throughout our towns and cities. The Government has a strong record on entertainment deregulation, yet potential benefits are challenged by worrying developments caused by planning laws. The Government should introduce the agent of change principle into UK law. This would be a proportionate and common sense approach and would be welcomed by the UK music industry.”

READ Frank's letter in full or watch the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qurj0pcVnMo

SIGN the petition at this link: http://qr.net/changenow 

LEARN about Agent of Change http://musicvenuetrust.blogspot.com.es/2014/09/what-is-agent-of-change-and-why-is-it.html

What is 'Agent of Change'... and why is it important?

The Agent of Change Principle is not complicated or controversial, it's simple common sense: Agent of Change says that the person or business responsible for the change is responsible for managing the impact of the change.

This means that an apartment block to be built near an established live music venue would have to pay for soundproofing, while a live music venue opening in a residential area would be responsible for the costs. A resident who moves next door to a music venue would, in law, be assessed as having made that decision understanding that there's going to be some music noise, and a music venue that buys a new PA would be expected to carry out tests to make sure its noise emissions don't increase.

At the moment, UK law says that whoever is making a nuisance is always responsible for that nuisance. How long it has existed, whether there were any historic instances of the same noise being a nuisance, if somebody moved right next door to the noise and decided it was a nuisance, these are all, unbelievably, currently irrelevant to British law. If a noise exists, you can deliberately move next to it and demand it be turned off and UK law will support you. You can build balsa wood huts next door to a music venue and simply wait for your residents to complain and the venue will have to pay all the costs to reduce their noise.

Music venues are in the frontline of the impact of our current laws, with an avalanche of cases potentially closing down music across the UK. But these are not the only community activities under attack. Complaints have been made against church bells, a new development next to a speedway race track where the residents don't like the sound of the bikes, the brand new build next to a farm where the sheep are now, according to British law, too loud and a nuisance. Community activities and cultural activities across the UK are under threat - music venues are just the first affected.

Agent of Change has been trialled and tested in Australia and it works; better planning, better developments, people thinking about what exists where they want to live and how they will live with it, music venues and others thinking more about their neighbours.

It's our music, let's all work together to bring Agent of Change to the UK.


SIGN the petition here: http://qr.net/changenow

Watch Frank Turner


Frank Turner's letter to Culture Secretary Sajid Javid MP

Thursday 11 September 2014

Dear Mr Javid

This is a call for you, the Culture Secretary, to act urgently to protect live music and other community activities in the UK. We want you to adopt the Agent of Change principle into UK law.

Since 2010, your government has changed the planning laws in a number of ways to achieve the aim of generating economic growth and addressing the housing shortage. Specifically, you have made amendments that permit changes of use to residential use without requiring planning permission. Offices, car parks and disused buildings across the country can be converted to residences. And right next door to those offices and car parks are the UK's music venues - a vital network that is the cornerstone of the UK music industry.

These venues are where I grew up, where I learned about rock’n’roll music, where I saw all my favourite bands. The venues where I played my first shows and some of my most recent, the home of the music scene that has given me my career, my passion and my life. 


They are there on purpose, many of them, because they chose those locations deliberately so that the music wouldn't ever be a 'nuisance'. The developers have no legal obligation to soundproof these new residences; at the moment UK law says the business or person making the noise is making the nuisance, and they must manage it. Good councils across the country are trying to put conditions on the new builds, but developers have deep pockets. Faced with a mountain of litigation, many councils will have no option other than to permit the developments to proceed and let the venues deal with the consequences.

Across the country we are already seeing the results. Music venues are fighting off noise complaints, abatement notices and planning applications; 12 venues are already under threat, an avalanche will follow if we don't take action. You, as the Culture Secretary, are genuinely facing a meltdown in the British live music circuit. And it won't end with music venues.

Church bells, Sports grounds, Pubs, Arts Centres, Theatres, any place that makes a noise is under threat.

And yet a solution is simple, and it's called the Agent of Change principle.

Under the Agent of Change principle, an apartment block to be built near an established live music venue would have to pay for soundproofing, while a live music venue opening in a residential area would be responsible for the costs. A resident who moves next door to a music venue would, in law, be assessed as having made that decision understanding that there's going to be some music noise, and a music venue that buys a new PA would be
expected to carry out tests to make sure its noise emissions don't increase. Agent of Change says the person or business responsible for the change is responsible for managing the impact of the change.

Agent of Change is so obvious and common sense that most people are amazed it isn't already part of UK law. In Australia it's already being adopted, and the outcome is improved planning; venues working alongside their communities to manage their noise when it changes, developers making better residences that are fit for purpose.

Everyone's a winner.

We demand that you work with the Music Venue Trust and the UK's incredible network of live music venues.

The Musician's Union, The Music Industries Association, UK Music all support it.

Let's act together, right now, to adopt and enforce Agent of Change.

Sincerely

Frank Turner
Musician

Online Petition: http://qr.net/changenow

Thursday, August 7, 2014



We have already had so much positive feedback about our campaign logo that we wanted to share more information. Use of the logo and slogan has generously been granted to us by SLAM (Save Live Australia's Music Ltd) and forms part of their incredibly successful campaign to protect live music venues in Australia. It was designed by Frank Trobbiani. Thank you to all involved in SLAM (Save Live Australia's Music) for their support.

Monday, August 4, 2014

AN OPEN LETTER TO LIZ TRUSS (DEFRA), SAJID JAVID (DCMS) and ERIC PICKLES (DCLG)


Many thanks for the DEFRA response to the Music Venue Trust petition calling for a Review of Noise Abatement Legislation (see: http://qr.net/sign). Your reply is interesting, but it does not provide an adequate answer to the problems and challenges we have raised on behalf of live music venues and other community spaces in the UK. At the same time, it has helped to clarify the issues, and move our campaign on to address three specific things you need to do to protect live music in the UK:

1. Cut Red Tape. 

Your reply highlights that the laws around noise nuisance are complex, overlapping, and arise from multiple laws, legislation and precedents dating back as far as the 1800s. You say you are opposed to red tape, so we invite you to cut it. Because it's quite clear that nobody involved understands it and law that is open to significant interpretation to meet one aim or another is not good law. People are writing to us saying all noise, however loud, is permitted until 11pm. Others say no noise is permissible at any time. Work across your departments to create one, clear, unequivocal and easily understood document that relates to noise emanating from live performances, sports, and community activity.

2. Establish national criteria, guidelines and advice for Environmental Health Officers. 

A lot of the DEFRA response depends upon local interpretation of unclear national legislation, placing an unfair and unreasonable demand on local EHOs. We believe in local negotiations, and are delighted with the outcome of the recent challenges faced by The Fleece in Bristol, but your response creates "Schrödinger Venues" - great music venues who might or might not be making a noise, we won't find out until someone decides they don't like it. We need to stop considering the philosophical question "does a small venue make a noise if there is no-one around to hear it?" and answer the question "what is the appropriate level of noise in this zone?". The decision in Bristol is fantastic and shows how some venues can work with their local councils and EHOs to get good development, but it's not a legal precedent and we shouldn't be leaving these things to chance. You say you want to see well-managed, well-run, thriving live music spaces. How can any business make provision for, or try to act within, a completely unknown quantity? Is 35dB at 20 metres too much or isn't it? What about 40dB, or 60dB? And what about 2 metres, or 200 metres? Your response specifically conflates music with noise and noise with nuisance. We say live music and noise coming from other community activities is not a nuisance, it is the heart and soul of local communities. Create a proper national framework for noise emanating from live performances, sports, and community activity that can be referenced by Enivironmental Health Officers and establish a good practice guide.

3. Adopt the Agent of Change Principle.

The DEFRA response states, and it has been stated extensively elsewhere, that it is a long established principle of UK law that it does not matter if someone moves next to a noise, the noise maker still has the responsibility to adapt the noise to suit whatever new conditions the new occupier feels they want. We, and thousands of other people, say this is fundamentally against common sense. If I move to a fishing village, can I stop the fishing because I don't like the smell? If I move next to a football ground, can I stop the games because I don't like cheering or crowds? The DEFRA response references precedents in UK law dating back 200 years. We've come quite a long way in the last 200 years, and there's a few more of us living right next to each other. There is a principle you can adopt called Agent of Change; this states that responsibility to adapt the conditions of the noise falls on the person who changes the existing conditions. It's already been adopted in various guises in Australia, affecting planning, development and noise complaints positively across the board. The principle is simple: If a venue increases its noise, it should make changes to adapt it. If a developer wants to build next to a music venue, they must build to adapt to the noise. If a new occupier moves into a zone where there is an accepted level of noise, they should make changes to adapt it. If DEFRA don't adopt the Agent of Change principle, every venue, every sports ground, every cinema, restaurant, theatre, race track, church, and community space in the country faces bills running into thousands of pounds trying to fight developments or meet an ever evolving demand from new occupiers to modify and adapt their noise. Venues will close without an Agent of Change principle. Adopt the Agent of Change principle Secretaries of State, you can act now to save live music venues in the UK. 

Good noise management requires good legislation. Cut Red Tape.


Good local councils and EHOs need national support to make good and balanced decisions. Establish national criteria, guidelines and advice about noise.


Good town centre development means good facilities and good residential space for all, not a continual battle between local music communities and developers who want to make a fast buck. Adopt the Agent of Change Principle.


We intend to continue to fight for the right of local communities to be able to enjoy great live music venues. We urge you to take action to do the same. We call upon music fans across the UK to unite behind our existing petition - please sign now and force MPs to debate this issue:


http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/65582


Sincerely

Mark Davyd, Sybil Bell, Chris Prosser, Jeremy Mills, Beverley Whitrick, Jason Dormon
Music Venue Trust

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

SIGN the petition at this link: http://qr.net/sign
TWEET, POST, PLUS and PIN the petition across your social media using #SaveLiveVenuesUK and the link http://qr.net/sign
 

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About

The Music Venue Trust was formed in January 2014 to protect and preserve the UK small music venue circuit.