The Local Government Association has backed a cross-party campaign which would see a person or business responsible for a change in noise conditions being held responsible for managing that change.
The proposal is outlined in a Private Members’ Bill being brought forward by John Spellar MP. The Bill has attracted cross-party backing from the All Party Parliamentary Group for Music.
Under the proposed legislation, the builder of an apartment block built near an established live music venue would, for example, have to pay for soundproofing that apartment block.
A live venue opening in a residential area would meanwhile be responsible for the costs of soundproofing the venue, the LGA said.
In addition, anybody who chooses to move next door to a music venue would be assessed as having made that decision understanding there is going to be some music noise.
A music venue which buys a new public address system would also be expected to carry out tests to ensure its noise emissions do not increase.
The LGA said: “As it stands, the law states that somebody can move next door to a live music venue and ask for it to be quieter or restricted, regardless of how long it has existed or if there is any previous history of the same noise being a nuisance. The costs then have to be borne by the venue.”
Cllr 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.”
The Government has previously indicated that it would support the Bill and look at what has been put forward.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has also adopted the Agent of Change principle in the draft London Plan, which the LGA said should be rolled out nationally.