An Oxford MP who fought to save an iconic city centre nightclub is “delighted” parliament has backed a change in planning law to help protect music venues.
The change announced on Thursday last week requires developers to take account of any new schemes on pre-existing businesses such as music venues before proceeding with their plans.
Housing Secretary Sajid Javid, said that he has “always thought it unfair that the burden is on long-standing music venues” and was pleased to “have an opportunity to right this wrong”.
Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, supported the introduction of the ‘agent of change’ principle into the planning process after raising the case of Oxford’s underground club The Cellar.
She said: “I am delighted that the Government have agreed to this change in the law that will give extra protections to much-loved music venues from threats from future developments.
“It follows a long, cross-party campaign in Parliament and huge support from bodies like UK Music and the Music Venue Trust.
“I’ll be doing all I can in Parliament to see what more we can do to offer protections for grassroots music venues in the planning system.”
Ms Moran agreed to co-sponsor legislation in the House of Commons on the issue earlier this month after being contacted by scores of residents worried about the threatened closure of The Cellar last year.
“In our case, the Cellar was under threat from being turned into storage or shopping space rather than new housing, so I want to see flexibility in these new planning rules to make sure all music venues have proper protection in our planning law,” she said.
The Cellar’s venue manager Tim Hopkins told this paper earlier this month that the support he received from local MPs was “incredible” and “we fully support this bill”.
– Owen Hughes