Culture Counts
The Collective Voice of Scotland's Cultural Sector



Protecting music venues: Strengthened planning guidance published.

The Scottish Government has published strengthened planning guidance which protects music venues.


The Agent of Change principle is simple; it makes the person responsible for the change responsible for managing the impact of the change. Those building a new apartment block near to an established live music venue would be responsible for building to a standard that meets noise requirements.

Many cultural sector organisations, including Culture Counts, lobbied to include the principle in planning policy. Most recently we submitted a submission to the consultation on Planning Bill Scotland.


"The Scottish Government recognises the significant cultural and economic contribution of our music industry."  Housing Minister Kevin Stewart


The Scottish Government have announced that the Agent Change Principle will be in the new version of the National Planning Framework. With local authorities being 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.


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This has been seen as a 'landmark victory' for the music industry as reported in Music Week. Development and consultation on the next National Planning Framework (NPF4) will begin in 2018, and it is expected to be adopted in 2020. If you wish to keep up to date with parliament and policy news affecting arts, screen heritage and creative industries, sign up to Culture Counts Monthly

NewsAndy Robertson