This planning principle stipulates that the ”agent of change” is responsible for dealing with changed conditions. In an increasing number of cases, that ”agent” is a new neighbour or developer moving in next to one of Melbourne’s 460 live music venues, and because of that move, a venue that was once compliant with noise levels and liquor licensing regulations is suddenly non-compliant through no fault of its own.
Under the principle, that agent is responsible for installing soundproofing or any other measures to improve the area’s amenity.
Conversely, if a venue starts hosting live music in a residential area, it is considered the agent, and is responsible for ensuring noise levels are below legal limits when measured at the nearest residence. This problem has been brewing for more than a decade. In 2003, then arts minister Mary Delahunty established a live music taskforce and, standing on the steps of Fitzroy’s Rainbow Hotel, publicly endorsed its recommendations, including one to adopt the agent of change principle.
However, that government did not go far enough, only adopting it in a practice guide companion to Victorian planning provisions. A few months ago, Music Victoria, the main body for contemporary music, made a submission to a planning policy committee to amend the State Planning Policy Framework to recognise the community value of cultural activities, as well as the need for shared responsibility of the control of music coming from existing venues and to formally adopt the agent of change principle as recognised planning policy.
The submission argues that these would be positive changes for the Victorian planning system, and for the Victorian community, as it provides clarity for not just live music venues but residents, developers and planning decision makers, to make better decisions.
A subsequent submission will be made by Music Victoria to recognise the agent of change in next year’s review by Department of Environment and Primary Industries of noise controls
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/comment/battle-of-the-bands-20131130-2yij4.html#ixzz2n9sqMElT