Changes to planning system to safeguard UK’s cultural heritage

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In a bid to protect theatres, concert halls and live music performance venues, changes to the UK’s planning system have been announced

Communities secretary, Robert Jenrick has recently announced that the new changes to the planning system will take effect next week.

The changes will save cultural institutions across England from being redeveloped or demolished.

The buildings that are being protected cannot be easily replaced. They are an intrinsic part of the UK’s cultural heritage, which is why the government has said that temporary social distancing restrictions should not be an excuse for them to be permanently lost.

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 music performance venue.

Along with the £1.57bn investment to protect Britain’s cultural, arts and heritage sector, the changes will provide extra security to businesses as they make plans to re-open their premises when is it safe to do so, and in the meantime continue to share their talent and passion for the arts outdoors and virtually.

‘The envy of the world’

Housing secretary, Robert Jenrick, said: “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 £1.57bn to protect the UK’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, added: “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.”

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