Changes to the planning system are being implemented from next week, with the aim of protecting theatres, concert halls and live music venues across the UK.
Councils will now need to take the temporary impact of coronavirus into account when considering permission for change of use, redevelopment or demolition of a theatre, concert hall or live venue.
Housing and Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick announced the planning changes on Sunday 12 July. Alongside the £1.57bn grant to arts and cultural institutions announced last week, the changes are designed to reinforce protections for such venues. Further detail is forthcoming in a written ministerial statement.
Jenrick commented: “Our theatres, concert halls and live music performance venues are the envy of the world and are central to our cultural heritage. That’s why we’re investing £1.57 billion to protect Britain’s cultural, arts and heritage institutions, as well as ensuring these buildings aren’t destroyed.
“It is vital they are properly protected by the planning system for both people today to enjoy and future generations.”
Jon Morgan, Director of the Theatres Trust, said: “We welcome the news of revisions to the planning system, which reinforce and increase protections for our treasured theatres and provide reassurance for the communities that use and value them.
“The COVID-19 lockdown has rendered otherwise vibrant theatres vulnerable to permanent closure and we have already seen a number of theatres fall vacant due to the operator going into liquidation.
“These measures will help ensure these vital community assets are protected during the current crisis and can be revived to serve their local communities once again.”