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Sadiq Khan unveils pro-culture plan for London

The mayor of London Sadiq Khan has presented the draft London Plan – the Mayor’s overall planning strategy for the capital. The document sets out plans to protect and grow the city’s culture and creative industries through a range of bold measures.

The strategy considers support for new creative enterprise zones and cultural quarters, as well as moves to protect artist studio space and introduce the agent of change principle.

For the events industry, the introduction of ‘agent of change’ principle means developers would have to take account of the impact of any new scheme on pre-existing businesses like music venues before going with their plans.

For example, the developer of new flats takes responsibility for soundproofing to avoid the risk of new neighbours complaining about noise from a music venue.

Commenting on the announcement, UK Music CEO, Michael Dugher, said: “London is a global music city. Music tourism alone generates over £1 billion for the capital and attracts over 3.5 million people every year to gigs and festivals.

“Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Night Czar Amy Lame are to be congratulated for recognising that beyond its success the sustainability of music and the night time economy face real challenges which need to be supported by planning decisions.

“We encourage all Londoners to have their say on the London Plan and critical proposals to protect music venues.”

Culture drives tourism

According to the London Mayor, culture generates £42bn for London’s economy annually and employs one in six people. It also plays a wider social role, bringing communities together and giving the city its distinctive character.

Despite this contribution to London’s success as a world city, the creative industries are struggling to grow and thrive as a result of London’s competitive land market.

Over the past decade, London has lost 25 per cent of its pubs, 40 per cent of its music venues, 50 per cent of its nightclubs and 58 per cent of its LGBT+ venues. It is also predicted to lose 30 per cent of affordable creative workspace in the coming years.

The mayor has already committed to carrying out annual audits of pubs, grassroots music and LGBT+ venues alongside a range of measures that aim to stem the flow of closure of venues across the capital.

The draft London Plan is open to consultation and will come into effect in autumn 2019.