Petition Launches To Protect Small Clubs & Music Venues


Singer/songwriter Frank Turner has launched a petition calling for the UK to implement 'Agent of Change' laws to help protect small venues from unscrupulous property developers. Currently there's no law in the UK to protect the rights of a venue if a developer decides to build a load of flats next door – when new residents move in and complain to the council about the noise the venue/ club/ whatever is making, regardless of how long that venue may have been there, and how important it might be to the wider community – the venue is then liable to either pay for soundproofing in the effected homes, or simply stop making noise. Obviously the overheads in running a small club/ venue are already daunting, without having to face the extra cost of substantial structural work caused by an unwelcome new neighbour. The problem has been accelerated by a change in law that has made it easier for developers to turn office blocks into residential properties, a change that was intended to rejuvinate empty urban areas- areas traditionally chosen by venues precisely because there are no residents around to piss off.

Many places in East London are already seeing the adverse effect of this change, with aspirational city types buying up converted office/ warehouse properties in 'edgy' Dalston, then spending their evenings moaning to the police about the noise made by the clubs that made them consider moving their in the first place. Let's get real: these pricks need to be slapped down. Turner's petition is suggesting a perfectly reasonable law – one that is active in a number of countries. Essentially an 'Agent Of Change' law recognises the original use of various properties in an area. If a developer decides to turn an abandoned factory next door to a club into a bunch of luxury flats, then the same developer is also responsible for providing adequate sound proofing. Conversely, if some joker opens up a club in the middle of a suburban lane, they will be responsible for making sure that their noise doesn't mess up the lives of their neighbours. 

The petition has quickly reached 25,000 votes, and unlike many online campaigns, it's the kind of thing that might actually have some sort of impact – you can read more – and maybe even sign it – over here