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Boring people now not allowed to move next door to clubs and complain

Mandatory noise-proofing from property developers will mean that anyone who still complains is just a dick

The music industry is hailing a “seismic victory” after the government has promised to protect longstanding music venues from property developers (and in turn, boring residents who like to get our best venues shut down).

The Agent Of Change will mean that clubs and other venues will be protected from noise complaints as property developers will have to “identify and solve any sound problems” at new properties – through the use of proper soundproofing and other methods.

“Music venues play a vital role in our communities, bringing people together and contributing to the local economy and supporting the country’s grassroots music culture,” said Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

“I have always thought it unfair that the burden is on long-standing music venues to solve noise issues when property developers choose to build nearby.

“That’s why I consulted on this in February last year as part of the housing white paper. I am pleased to finally have an opportunity to right this wrong and also give more peace of mind to new residents moving into local properties.”

Cities all over the UK have been hit with venue closures in recent years, in part thanks to ongoing disputes over noise control.

Research in 2015 asked 150 local authorities in England and Wales (43 per cent of the total) about noise complaints. It found that there were 10,442 noise complaints relating to premises such as pubs and clubs in the year preceding.

Even though there have been reported closures in Leeds, Leicester, Bristol, Dudley and Sheffield thanks to noise complaints, in London, the problem has been particularly acute thanks to the density of city living, gentrification, the callousness of property developers and various licensing laws.

According to the BBC, up to 50 per cent of nightclubs shut down between 2011 and 2016, and 43 per cent of music venues closed between 2007 and 2015.

Notable venues that have closed in recent years include Passing Clouds, Public Life, Dance Tunnel and The Coronet.

After the closure of Passing Clouds in 2016, the events manager of the venue wrote in a piece for The Independent that “complaints from neighbours in a newly developed block, and were offered no protection despite the length of our residency and undeniably positive impact we have had on local culture, economy, tourism and business”.

There have been some successes. The Bussey Building in south east London was ‘saved’ in 2015 after a community-led campaign to prevent property developers who wanted to build some luxury flats in front of it was successful. Locals said the building would have made noise complaints “inevitable”. 

The Ministry Of Sound also came under threat from property developers Englewood Ltd, in 2014 who were building a housing block nearby but managed to reach an agreement.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan noted that “when it comes to protecting venues such as pubs, clubs, grassroots music venues and LGBT+ spaces from nearby new developments, Agent of Change means Londoners can continue to enjoy the capital’s nightlife while local residents can get a good night’s sleep”.