Noise complaints against venues in the UK are on the rise. As more and more people are crammed into city centres, music hot spots which have operated for years without issue are now under fire. Some of these new residents put a premium on peace and quiet and so have no qualms with interrupting the trade of live venues and clubs, many of which are small independent businesses struggling to survive. As it stands the law is on their side.
After witnessing how powerless some of these venues are at defending themselves from one-sided noise abatement laws, a select few have decided to take action. Enter The Music Venue Trust.
Aims and associates
Formed in January 2014, The Music Venue Trust’s mission is to protect small independent venues as integral parts of music culture. They believe that spaces programming niche bookings and intimate shows, as well as serving the critically important purpose of being a proving ground for smaller acts, ought to be protected. Every act has to start somewhere.
For these reasons the Trust provides a much needed support network for concerned venue owners, hoping to fulfil the timeless adage ‘United we stand, divided we fall’. As its following grows, happily it seems localised music culture might still have a future.
The Music Venue Trust: Phase two
In May 2014 the Music Venue Trust launched its second official campaign against the one-sided nature of UK noise abatement laws. They identified the problem that as more and more commercial buildings include residential units (the costs prove low for property developers) a larger number of people live in close proximity to cultural hotspots, leading to a rise in noise complaints. Court action and significant fines can quickly follow, often causing serious problems for venue owners who struggle as it is to keep afloat.
The Trust’s answer is to promote a neighbourly culture where venues are actively engaged with local communities in trying to resolve noise issues or anti-social behaviour through direct communication. They also stress the importance of it being a reciprocal process, where neighbours appreciate that they have located themselves near public community spaces. They refer to it as the ‘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?’
If a solution is not achievable the Trust believes the existing law should be adjusted to offer greater security to music venues, especially those that have operated for years without complaint.
Already the recent campaign to review noise abatement laws has exceeded its initial target of 10,000 signatures. Activists have now set their sights on the all-important target of 100,000 names required to make the petition recognisable in the House of Commons.
Hopefully the Music Venue Trust’s appeal for a common sense approach both in practice and in law will prevent unnecessary conflict.
View and sign the petition here: