Planning Law (Protection for Live Music Venues)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 6th December 2017.

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Photo of Lewis Macdonald Lewis Macdonald Labour

3. To ask the Scottish Government how it will ensure that planning law provides adequate protection for live music venues. (S5O-01556)

Photo of Kevin Stewart Kevin Stewart Scottish National Party

I am committed to exploring the agent of change principle and how it could be embedded into our planning system so that we can protect the established and emerging talent in our music industry. We are currently exploring some options and will continue to engage closely with our stakeholders, including the music industry, in developing the best proposals. I will be happy to lodge amendments to the Planning (Scotland) Bill if I conclude that that is the right approach.

Photo of Lewis Macdonald Lewis Macdonald Labour

I welcome the minister’s willingness to explore and engage with the agent of change principle. He has previously made the point that live music venues can be unfairly jeopardised in ways that the agent of change principle does not entirely prevent. He will know that that is why the Welsh Government is planning to give local councils the power to designate areas of cultural significance for music to provide an additional level of protection in particular areas. When the minister is exploring those matters, will he consider introducing such a power for Scottish local authorities?

Photo of Kevin Stewart Kevin Stewart Scottish National Party

I applaud Mr Macdonald for constructively engaging on the issue, as have other members, including Tom Arthur and Fiona Hyslop—the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs—who has a close interest in the matter.

I fully intend to meet representatives of the Musicians’ Union shortly, and I will continue to liaise with the cabinet secretary for culture to see whether there are any other issues that we need to think about in dealing with the situation. I assure Mr Macdonald that I will look at what the Welsh Government is undertaking and will have a conversation with the cabinet secretary for culture. Mr Macdonald can be assured that I will continue to keep him appraised of what we are doing in that regard.

Photo of Rachael Hamilton Rachael Hamilton Conservative

I bring the minister’s attention to the course of action that has been taken by the United Kingdom Government, which ensures that noise impacts must be properly factored in by planning authorities in cases where developers attempt to turn offices into residential accommodation, which I feel is appropriate. Will the Scottish Government follow suit and show support for live music venues, as the UK Government does?

Photo of Kevin Stewart Kevin Stewart Scottish National Party

I am unaware of any proposals by the UK Government to introduce the agent for change principle. As I outlined in my answer to Mr Macdonald, I am aware of the moves that the Welsh Government is trying to undertake. I am also aware that Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, is looking at that for the next London plan, and I am aware that the state of Victoria, in Australia, has already changed its planning policy. I am unaware of any UK Government proposals in that regard, but I will look to see what it is up to in that area of business.