A music industry pressure group have called on the government to change noise laws that they say pose a threat to the future of live venues.
They believe noise abatement legislation in England and Wales has led to a nightmare scenario where, technically, a complaint about noise from one neighbour could lead to an abatement order being imposed upon a pub or club, leading it to shut down.
The move comes after a spate of small venues found themselves at risk of closure, including The Fleece in Bristol, which is currently fighting against plans for a nearby office block to be turned into flats.
Now the Music Venue Trust have launched a petition asking the Secretary of State for the Environment to review current noise laws – and they point out it’s not only pubs and clubs at risk.
They say: “Recent press stories have highlighted the huge threat posed to live music by developers, with town centre venues facing noise abatement notices from brand new flats and new occupiers.
“The Music Venue Trust believe that venues should be good neighbours. But we believe that being a good neighbour is a reciprocal process, and that people who choose to live near to community spaces are accepting the responsibility to behave as a good neighbour to their adjoining music venue, church or community space.
“We believe this is a common sense approach. if you hate sport, why move next to a football pitch? If you hate music, why move next to a live music venue?”
The group believe that current laws “unintentionally provided rights to new tenants or developers to limit and control noise” and “these rights are being misused to attempt to prevent local communities from being able to enjoy the normal, established and historic use of these spaces.”
The HM Government e-petition will accept signatures until August 28. All petitions are reviewed by government department but those signed by 100,000 or more are guaranteed a closer inspection.