Small venues are the lifeblood of the Australian music scene. But with problematic noise complaints and restrictive lockout laws in Queensland and Sydney, the untimely demise of many of local venues is nothing new to local music fans.
But, it’s by no means an Australian phenomenon. Issues tied to gentrification and high-density property development are threatening inner city cultural hubs throughout the world.
While there’s always a lot of talk surrounding these issues, it looks like UK punters will be receiving a bit of a reprieve. Championed by a network of small venues, new UK legislation is intended to put an end to the recurring problem of residents moving into flats next to venues and complaining about the noise. Coming into effect on April 6th, the country-wide legislation will require local planning authorities to consider noise impacts on new developments located near established music venues.
The laws will also restrict developers from converting office buildings into residential spaces where such spaces are too close to a live venue.
The intended effect is that developers will be forced to work more closely with live music venues. The ultimate end result will be greater protection for cultural spaces.
It seems that the reforms are being well received for those who were lobbying for change. “Obviously this is a huge victory…we are now starting to see real recognition in UK law of how important these venues are as cultural spaces,” Mark Davyd, CEO of not for profit Music Venue Trust, told Vice. But it seems like there’s still some way to go. “There’s still a lot more to do to ensure we continue to protect and secure these venues, and the ultimate aim must be to make sure that artists and audiences in the UK have access to the best music venues in the world,” Davyd reflected.
UK Music estimates that that 40% of London’s music venues have closed in the past decade.
Read more: How Queensland Blew It With Lockout Laws