The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths has announced she intends to revise Wales’ national planning policy in a move to support live music venues.

The Cabinet Secretary wants an explicit reference to the ‘Agent of Change’ principle within updated national planning policy. Under this principle, if new developments or uses are to be introduced near a pre-existing business, such as a live music venue, it is the developer’s responsibility to ensure solutions to address and mitigate the noise are put forward.

Lesley Griffiths also confirmed Planning Policy Wales will be updated to allow the designation of areas of cultural significance for music within Local Development Plans.

The Cabinet Secretary has decided to update Wales’ national planning policy following a high profile public campaign, based around Womanby Street in Cardiff city centre, home to a number of popular live music venues. The adoption of the ‘Agent of Change’ principle into national planning policy and the designation of areas of cultural significance for music are two of the campaign’s central aims.

Welcoming the news, Paul Gray, Musicians’ Union Regional Organiser Wales and West of England said:

“This is a fantastic result for musicians, live music venues, audiences and the many people who work in the Creative Industries in Wales.”

” The success of the “Save Womanby Street” campaign shows what a well-argued campaign of activism and support can achieve, with musicians, venue owners, MP’s and AM’s and members of the public working together with one common aim – to protect Wales’s valuable grassroots music venues from further threats from development proposals.”

“We are delighted that the Cabinet Secretary has stated that National Planning Policy will be revised to include clear and explicit reference to the “Agent of Change” principle, that it be applied with immediate effect, and that revisions will further allow for the designation of areas of cultural significance for music through development plans.”

“The support of Welsh MPs Jo Stevens, Kevin Brennan, Stephen Doughty and Mick Antoniw AM has been invaluable in pushing this through, and it is heartening that Welsh Government has lead the way in recognising the importance of our musical and cultural hubs”.

Cabinet Secretary for the Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said:

“Live music venues contribute greatly to Wales’ thriving cultural scene and our night time economy. I am aware of the efforts to protect the future viability of these venues, including the “Save Womanby Street” campaign, in Cardiff and I would like to pay tribute to the hard work and commitment of all involved.

“Although the continued vibrancy of areas like Womanby Street depends on the ongoing participation of a number of different parties, including local authorities, the venues themselves and their customers, I have heard the calls to update our national planning policy to protect live music venues.

“I am delighted, therefore, to confirm I have asked my officials to start revising Planning Policy Wales at the earliest opportunity.

“I am sure this news will be music to the ears of Wales’ live music fans and I hope local planning authorities will have the confidence to apply these measures when considering planning applications.”

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