The Music Venue Trust has been lobbying on an important issue affecting live music since the beginning of the year. Long-established music venues are being forced to close when noise abatement notices are issued by residents of newly-built premises nearby. It is a repeat of what could have happened to the Bulls Head in Barnes in 2005 – until Youngs Brewery decided to spend the money on soundproofing, with the result that the Bulls Head survived.
There is a new PETITION lobbying Culture Secretary Sajid Javid to adopt the Agent of Change principle, namely that “if a music venue is in place before the residential building, the residential building would be responsible for paying for soundproofing. Likewise, if a new music venue opens in a residential area, the venue are responsible for the cost.”
A previous petition by the Music Venue Trust got to 15,000 signatures, at which point it became eligible to receive a response from a DEFRA civil servant, whose response was a cop-out: the government “needs to strike a balance”.
He should read some better prose, like Lord Denning’s timeless judgement in the case of Miller v Jackson  QB 966:
In summertime village cricket is the delight of everyone. Nearly every village has its own cricket field where the young men play and the old men watch. In the village of Lintz in County Durham they have their own ground, where they have played these last 70 years. They tend it well. The wicket area is well rolled and mown. The outfield is kept short. It has a good club house for the players and seats for the onlookers. The village team play there on Saturdays and Sundays. They belong to a league, competing with the neighbouring villages. On other evenings after work they practise while the light lasts. Yet now after these 70 years a judge of the High Court has ordered that they must not play there any more. He has issued an injunction to stop them. He has done it at the instance of a newcomer who is no lover of cricket. This newcomer has built, or has had built for him, a house on the edge of the cricket ground which four years ago was a field where cattle grazed. The animals did not mind the cricket. But now this adjoining field has been turned into a housing estate. The newcomer bought one of the houses on the edge of the cricket ground. No doubt the open space was a selling point. Now he complains that when a batsman hits a six the ball has been known to land in his garden or on or near his house. His wife has got so upset about it that they always go out at week-ends. They do not go into the garden when cricket is being played. They say that this is intolerable. So they asked the judge to stop the cricket being played. And the judge, much against his will, has felt that he must order the cricket to be stopped: with the consequence, I suppose, that the Lintz Cricket Club will disappear. The cricket ground will be turned to some other use. I expect for more houses or a factory. The young men will turn to other things instead of cricket. The whole village will be much the poorer. And all this because of a newcomer who has just bought a house there next to the cricket ground.
Here are some venues we have found mentioned in connection with the current lobbying. Some of them have already closed, others allegedly under threat. Please add to this list:
– A petition to save Night & Day in Manchester has nearly 75,000 signatures. – Blind Tiger in Brighton
– Freebutt in Brighton
– the 200 Club in Newport, Gwent,
– Le Pub in Newport,