'Agent for Change' Bill

David Warburton MP Sponsors New Planning Bill to Protect Music Venues


Parliamentary ‘Agent of Change’ Bill Hailed by UK

Music Industry at Star-studded Launch


11th January, 2018 – David Warburton MP for Somerton and Frome joined a star-studded launch yesterday as the introduction of the Planning (Agent of Change) Bill to the House of Commons was enthusiastically backed by leading names in the UK music industry including Sir Paul McCartney.


The Bill, co-sponsored by David Warburton, demands that before proceeding with any new building scheme, property developers would be required to take account of the impact of the scheme on pre-existing businesses including grass-roots music venues such as Frome’s Cheese and Grain.


The Ten-minute Rule Bill, presented by former Labour MP John Spellar has received cross-party support and will incorporate the agent of change principle within UK planning law.


The launch in Westminster was attended by more than 100 music industry professionals including a host of artists and musicians; singer-songwriter Billy Bragg, veteran artist Sandie Shaw, Pink Floyd founding member Nick Mason, bass guitarist of the Sex Pistols Glen Matlock, singer-songwriter Howard Jones, singer-songwriter and lead singer of The Undertones, Feargal Sharkey and award-winning producer and songwriter Guy Chambers who has written and produced for Robbie Williams, Diana Ross, Tom Jones, Tina Turner, Kylie Minogue, James Blunt, Scissor Sisters, Rufus Wainwright and Mark Ronson.

Ahead of Wednesday’s launch, Sir Paul McCartney pledged his full support of the Bill, declaring, “Without the grassroots clubs, pubs and music venues my career could have been very different. If we don’t support music at this level, then the future of music in general is in danger.”


Introducing the Bill in the House of Commons yesterday, John Spellar MP highlighted Frome’s Cheese and Grain as an example of a grassroots music venue set to benefit from the proposed changes to planning law.


Mr Spellar said, “Another sponsor, the honourable Member for Somerton and Frome (David Warburton), is concerned to protect the rapidly growing Cheese and Grain—a much valued venue in Frome—which shows that this is not just about the inner cities.”


David Warburton MP - a former musician who in addition being co-sponsor of this Bill was recently appointed Chair of the prestigious All-Party Parliamentary Group for Music - commented,


“This Bill is tremendous news for grass-roots music venues such as The Cheese & Grain in Frome. There’s been a 35% decline in grass-roots music venues in the UK over the last decade and UK Music has warned that existing planning laws are often a key factor struggling music venues must contend with.”


He continued, “The Agent of Change Bill is a vital means of protecting the future of our best-loved music venues. All too often planning laws have placed unreasonable demands on small venues, threatening the development of our world-class music industry. I urge the Government to secure its speedy passage into law.”