We call on the National Assembly for Wales to take steps to protect live music venues in Wales. In particular, we ask that the Assembly introduces the ‘agent of change’ principle to make it the responsibility of the developers of any new premises, commercial or residential, to find solutions to noise from nearby pre-existing business. We further call on the National Assembly to legislate so that it is possible for local authorities to recognise an area of ‘cultural significance for music’ within the planning framework.
The ‘agent of change’ principle has been adopted in England and protects existing live music venues by stipulating that the person or business responsible for the change is also responsible for managing the impact of that change. That means if housing or a hotel, for example, are built next to a live music venue it is the developer’s responsibility to mitigate the noise, rather than the existing live music venue. Without the ‘agent of change’ principle in Wales, there are threats to live music venues from new developments, as can be seen through the proposed building of a new hotel on Womanby Street in Cardiff. In addition, the Mayor of London is currently proposing to recognise parts of London as ‘an area of cultural significance for music’. We believe this should be an option for local authorities in Wales, particularly for places like Womanby Street, where so many famous Welsh musicians have started their career.