Support call for Liverpool music venues

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Clara Cullen of Music Venue Trust answers questions from the audience. Pic © Ash Rowe JMU Journalism

Clara Cullen of Music Venue Trust answers questions from the audience. Pic © Ash Rowe JMU Journalism

A charity claims there is more that Liverpool City Council could be doing to help local music venues to protect them from complaints.

The Music Venue Trust says it aims to “protect, secure and improve grassroots music venues” and one of its members, Clara Cullen, spoke at the first panel hosted by new, Liverpool-based discussion platform, Friday Vision, on Thursday.

Among the other panellists were Paul Farrell of Environmental Health in the Liverpool City Council and Ioan Roberts, one of the founders of the Baltic Triangle venue 24 Kitchen Street.

Mr Roberts and his team at 24 Kitchen Street have struggled back and forth with multiple property developers over the last three years over the club’s noise levels.

In October, Liverpool City Council announced its support for the Agent of Change principle, a policy recommendation that offers some protection to music venues regarding residential complaints.

Mr Roberts said: “I’ve tried to resist going public with our concerns and our problems because it becomes like a binary thing, like it’s us against the council, and it’s not really like that, it’s more complicated.”

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Ms Cullen proposed the introduction of a legal document known as a deed of easement. She said: “Residents have to sign it when they move into the new flats, basically saying they’re aware that a music venue is operating near them. It gives the music venue a right to exist and continue its operations.

“Music Venue Trust is going to write a public letter to Liverpool Council suggesting this recommendation to try and resolve this case. It’s been going on for three years, it can’t go on for another three years. We have measures in place which Liverpool Council could be using right now.”

Paul Farrell, from the Environmental Health section of Liverpool City Council, said: “We’re well versed with dealing with developers. We do have this dialogue back and to with the developers and we don’t just roll over and say ‘okay you can do what you want’.”

He added: “We’re just trying to do the job of being a regulator and assessing in an impartial way. We have, and we will continue to look at these in an impartial manner, but I do think this Agent of Change has certainly raised the profile, if nothing else. People probably didn’t realise what their rights were.”

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