Coming into it, we knew the upcoming London Plan would be good for music venues based on statements from London’s new night czar, Amy Lamé, about her work in the past year. But this was a surprise. London mayor Sadiq Khan, in the newly released London Plan, indicated that he intended to introduce an “agent of change principle.”
What that means is that, if passed, the new rule would require developers near music venues to bear the costs of soundproofing their buildings against the noise that music venues generate. This has been a point of contention for some time between venues and developers. Even when venues prevail in the legal disputes, it often leads to large legal bills that venues may not necessarily be able to bear financially, forcing them to close or move anyways.
This development is so far the strongest commitment to Khan’s stated intentions to protect music venues and London’s nighttime cultural capital that he stated at the beginning of his tenure as mayor. London is looking to stem the bleed in the number of music venues and festivals taking place in the city that has seen them lose almost half of its nightclubs, a third of its grassroots music venues since 2007. Many of the losses have been due to financial difficulty.
The announcement comes on the heels of other positive developments for London’s nighttime economy, like the repeal of the Form 696 requirement that was derided as discriminatory, and the impending commencement of 24-hour service on the London Overground. Both are expected to be boons for nightlife in London as well.
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