Statement on ‘Project Speed’

Dear Prime Minister

Today you have announced the intention to ‘Build Build Build’. The announcement of Project Speed includes the statement that planning rules would be changed by September, to allow:

  • Developers to “demolish and rebuild” vacant and redundant residential and commercial buildings if they are rebuilt as homes.
  • A wider range of commercial buildings to be switched to housing without a planning application.
  • Property owners to build “additional space above their properties”, via a “fast track approval process”.

This statement contains echoes of the Permitted Development Right which, as you will be aware, closed hundreds of venues before the government acted to exempt them in 2018. The decision to exempt them was taken after a long campaign supported by, among others, you, in your role as Mayor of London. You were a leading voice on the need for the adoption of the Agent of Change to prevent the closure of Grassroots Music Venues.

The sector needs urgent clarification from your government that they do not intend to change the National Planning Policy Framework and intend to leave the protections for grassroots music venues in place. Without that clarification, the statement released today will have a direct negative impact upon discussions taking place right now between Grassroots Music Venue landlords and tenants.

Both landlords and tenants need complete clarity from the government that Grassroots Music Venues will continue to be protected assets within the planning framework, and that it will not be possible to simply let the businesses occupying them fail and immediately see them converted to residential spaces.

We ask you to please issue that clarification as a matter of urgency.