New UK Financial Planning Laws Will Not Risk The Destruction Of Grassroots Music Venues

At the end of June, a financial planning announcement by PM Boris Johnson which would allow vacant buildings to be demolished for housing alarmed many: but Music Venue Trust has confirmed it will not affect grassroots music venues.

At this rate, it is rather pointless to elaborate on the major blows dealt to the music industry due to pandemic: if one is reading this piece, we already know the severely upsetting consequences that COVID-19 has placed upon every aspect of the industry. 

At the end of June, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the government’s economic recovery plan in response to the battered economy. Titled “Project Speed” the new UK planning laws would allow developers to demolish and rebuild vacant and defunct commercial buildings into houses without any planning laws.

This could be absolutely detrimental to music venues that are trying to stay alive but do not have the financial means.

The Music Venue Trust, who aim to protect grassroots venues and the livelihoods of those working in the music industry, were deeply alarmed by this development urging for clarification as to whether this will put grassroots music venues at risk of being demolished entirely.

While it continues to feel as though bad news is the norm and following the economic recovery plans announced by Johnson: last week we all collectively sighed with relief as the UK government announced they would finally be providing emergency aid of over 1.5 billion pounds to the UK Arts and Culture sectors.

This news was refreshingly positive for the Arts and Culture sector, as those who work within the industry are being aided in an extremely substantial manner – the emergency relief of lost livelihoods and the overall financial protection of the Arts and Culture industry as a whole is certainly good news (as much as is possible).

Referring previously to PM Johnson’s decision regarding “Project Speed”, it was announced on July 12th by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick that local councils need to consider the temporary impact the pandemic has had on music venues before going ahead with any type of redevelopment or demolition (or change, such as turning the venues into houses or being bought out by shops) stating: 

Our theatres, concert halls and live music performance venues are the envy of the world and are central to our cultural heritage. That’s why we’re investing £1.57 billion to protect Britain’s cultural, arts and heritage institutions, as well as ensuring these buildings aren’t destroyed. It is vital they are properly protected by the planning system for both people today to enjoy and future generations.

Communities Secretary
Robert Jenrick

After seeking urgent clarification, Music Venue Trust has confirmed that grassroots music venues will not be affected by these planning developments, with the government policy remaining in place until December 31st.

Feature Image: Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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