SOME of Scotland’s most renowned music venues have demanded protection against the threat of closure at the hands of property developers.

King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Sub Club, SWG3, the O2 Academy and the O2 ABC have united to back Agent of Change – a campaign to convince MSPs to introduce a bulwark in planning laws to defend venues from complaints about noise pollution.

When confronted by complaints about loud music, venues can spend vast fortunes in sound proofing which can occasionally force them to close.

The Agent of Change principle has been led by the charity Music Venue Trust, and has now been debated in the UK Parliament, with John Spellar MP introducing a private member’s bill to bring it into UK law.

Among the high profile supporters are the singer Frank Turner as well as Sir Paul McCartney, Chrissie Hynde, Craig David, Sandie Shaw, Ray Davies, Feargal Sharkey and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason.

Now the campaign in Scotland is urging venue owners, gig-goers and music fans to lobby the Local Government Committee of the Scottish Parliament to consider the measure.

Edinburgh in particular has lost a string of medium-sized venues in recent years. One in particular, Studio 24 which was based on Calton Road and closed in May last year, said it had spent “thousands upon thousands in sound proofing and legal fees in order to stay open”.

The nightclub had been plagued by noise complaints in recent years and has faced closure on a number of occasions in the past.

In March, another of the city’s few medium-sized venues, Electric Circus in the Fruitmarket, announced it was closing.

Its demise has been revealed just weeks after the former Picture House on Lothian Road was turned into a Wetherspoon pub.

Addressing the campaign to protect Scotland’s music venues, Mike Grieve, the managing director of Sub Club, in Glasgow, said: “Nightlife is a massive contributor to the cultural wellbeing of our city.

“It’s vital that Glasgow’s creative community is protected from the threat posed by developers, many of whom seem apathetic to the concerns of music and arts venues, some of which may well be forced to close due to inadequate soundproofing in proposed new buildings.

“The ‘agent of change’ principle has been adopted into planning guidance in England and Wales, and has now passed through a 2nd reading in the UK Parliament.

“Scottish planning guidance must be brought into line urgently if we want to avoid losing the venues which create the very conditions which most appeal to visitors to the city in the first place.”

The Agent of Change campaign in Scotland says that “if there is an application to build flats next to a music venue, the developer isn’t responsible for putting measures in place to limit any impact on their development from the existing venue (e.g. soundproofing rooms). “Instead, the venue must work to reduce their impact on the new build (e.g. reducing their noise, closing earlier, etc).

“This often leads to venues receiving complaints and having to put costly measures in place to ensure new residents are happy.

“In more extreme cases, it can lead to venue closure.”

The campaign hopes that with the Agent of Change principle in place, “developers would have to take on these responsibilities and weigh up their impact on both pre-existing and new builds, before going ahead with their plans.”

The campaign in Scotland is so far being led by venues in Glasgow, which is a designed Unesco City of Music.

Music tourism is estimated to be worth around £160 million to the city.

Glasgow is home to three of the four UK venues ranked in Pollstar’s Top 200 Club Venues in the world - King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, O2 Academy Glasgow and O2 ABC Glasgow.

More information on the campaign, and how to write to the Committee, can be found at