Protecting music venues

Strengthened planning guidance published.

Developers building new residential buildings near music venues will be responsible for taking appropriate measures to ensure local people are not disturbed by noise.

New guidance on this Agent of Change principle will be included in the new version of the National Planning Framework and local authorities will be asked to implement it immediately. 

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: 

“The Scottish Government recognises the significant cultural and economic contribution of our music industry.  It is only right we do what we can to protect the established and emerging musical talent and that is why we are embedding the Agent of Change principle in our planning guidance.  I have asked the Chief Planner to write to all planning authorities asking them to act now.

“Music venues should not have to make high cost changes or deal with expensive disputes because of new developments.  Developers will be responsible for identifying and solving any potential issues with noise, giving residents of new homes a better quality of life and allowing our music venues to continue to operate.”

Beverley Whitrick, Strategic Director, Music Venue Trust added:

"Music Venue Trust warmly welcomes the announcement from Scottish Government that they plan to embed the Agent of Change principle into their planning system, with explicit reference to music venues to be included in the next National Planning Framework and Scottish Planning Policy.

“Ministers have listened to the case and taken on board the fact that grassroots music venues need protection and recognition for their contribution to our towns and cities. This is an important issue and will certainly help venues, but it is not the only challenge they face. We look forward to working further with Scottish Government to ensure the long-term sustainability of venues across Scotland."


Development and consultation on the next National Planning Framework (NPF4) will begin in 2018, and it is expected to be adopted in 2020. 

A Chief Planner letter has been sent to all planning authorities highlighting existing guidance on noise issues and asking them to ensure decisions reflect the Agent of Change principle.

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