An Oxford MP is supporting a change in planning law that could affect music venues following the successful campaign to save Oxford’s iconic Cellar nightclub.
The Planning (Agent of Change) Bill, due to be debated for the first time in the House of Commons yesterday, would require developers to be accountable for the effect of any new schemes on pre-existing businesses such as music venues.
It could mean developers paying for soundproofing at existing music venues to cut the risk of new neighbours complaining about noise.
Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, said: “The Cellar is understandably loved by generations of people in and around Oxford and is a key part of our city’s live music scene.
“As a new MP at the time of the proposed closure, it was really encouraging to see so many people getting involved with the planning and political process for the first time in a bid to save the Cellar.
“But it led me to think that there needs to be a re-think of planning policy to better protect well-loved music venues from future developments.
“That’s why I’ve been working with UK Music and MPs from all parties to propose this change in the law that would require developers to have to try and protect existing small businesses and well-loved grassroots venues like the Cellar.”
More than 13,800 people signed a petition in October to save The Cellar in Frewin Court, off Cornmarket, from being converted into a shop front.
The Cellar’s venue manager Tim Hopkins said: “The support we received from our local MPs was incredible. Layla Moran’s office also rang me to see how they could help.
“We may be a small venue but we hope from all the incredible support we’ve seen, it will help highlight the importance of this bigger problem the UK faces regarding independent music venues being threatened with closure.
“We need to protect our music venues and we fully support this bill.”
The change is being supported by the Music Venue Trust which has been campaigning for the introduction of the Agent of Change into UK Law since 2015.
– Owen Hughes