Half of Bristol’s music venues are under threat. Blame developers

On a Sunday night in January 2018, a crowd gathered outside Cabot24, one of many new residential developments in Bristol, and began to scream. For around two hours, they shouted at those inside the building and even let off fireworks, one of which exploded near the face of a resident as she leant out of her window. The cause of the drama? The closure, in November, of music venue the Surrey Vaults.

 After two neighbouring office buildings were converted into flats last year, a series of noise complaints came flooding in from new residents. Unable to afford the tens of thousands of pounds it would cost to soundproof the venue, or the lawyers’ fees to fight for its licence in court, owner Julian Smith shut up shop, leaving former staff and patrons out in the cold.

“It really is devastating,” said Smith at the time “We did absolutely everything we could to keep our neighbours happy.”

It’s a pretty typical case (bar the fireworks) of what happens to music venues when residential developments pop up nearby, and it’s the problem tackled by the Agent of Change principle, which will be incorporated into the National Planning Policy Framework later this year. In the Surrey Vaults’ case, Agent of Change would have made it the responsibility of Cabot24’s developers to pay for soundproofing and to factor the venue into design decisions on things like door placement.

Read the full story at CityMetric

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