Appeal made for Holyrood to help protect Aberdeen music venues

Nicola Johnston, Aberdeen’s night-time economy manager, said grass root music venues should be allowed to flourish.

An Aberdeen city centre business organisation has urged the Scottish Government to adopt new legislation to help protect live music venues.

The Agent of Change principle, which sets out safeguards for live music venues when nearby industrial or commercial premises are redeveloped into residential properties, will be discussed at Holyrood.

Under the proposed principle, if a music venue is in place before the residential premises, the owners of the residential property would be responsible for paying for soundproofing.

Similarly, if a music venue opens in an existing residential area, the venue is responsible for the cost of the work.

Nicola Johnston, Aberdeen Inspired’s evening and night time economy manager, has written to the Local Government and Communities Committee at Holyrood to argue the Agent of Change principle be adopted in Scotland’s planning law as it has been in England and Wales.

She said: “Aberdeen is undergoing an economic and cultural transformation, adopting the agent of change will allow our grass root music venues to flourish as our city grows and develops.

“A city’s night time economy is a vital component in the success and attractiveness of a city.

“It generates employment, attracts tourists, and provides residents with cultural experience and entertainment.”

Miss Johnston said a number of Aberdeen venues including Krakatoa, Cellar 35, Coopers Bar, the Gilcomston, Underdog and Downstairs, have all been affected by what the organisation believes is an “imbalance”.

She added: “Should the Scottish Government adopt the agent of change, our live music venues will be protected, and a much-needed balance struck between sensibly managing noise while appreciating and respecting the nature of the business’s activity and providing a comfortable living environment.”

In October, Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald joined forces with campaigner Craig Adams, of the bar and music venue Krakatoa on Aberdeen’s Trinity Quay, to push for a change in the legislation.

Mr Adams, a founding member of the workers co-operative that runs Krakatoa, has had to spend £300,000 on soundproofing at the venue, in order to avoid closure.

Minister for Local Government and Housing Kevin Stewart said: “I am attracted by the prospect of embedding the agent of change principle into our planning system so that we can protect the established and emerging talent in our music industry.

“I am currently considering the best way to achieve this within our overall package of reforms.”

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