Developers take note: you’re now the agent of change


Soundproof your development and sales-proof your marketing

It was read without fanfare. There were no bands playing, and no drumroll. But it is likely to have an impact on property developers, especially those creating new homes by converting historic buildings in town and city centres. In case you missed it, the Agent of Change Bill is passing through Parliament, with government backing.

In this article, we’ll summarise what this new law could mean for property developers.

What is the Agent of Change Bill?

The proposed Agent of Change law moves the onus for noise impact management of existing venues from the venue to the developer. It’s designed to stop night venues closing because of noise issues caused to residents of buildings that have changed use.

In London, for example, it is estimated that as many as a third of music venues and pubs have closed over the last few years, and many of these closures have been caused because of noise issues (as well as increased rents and property development). Famous venues that have closed include the Marquee Club, The London Astoria, the 12 Bar Club, and Madame Jojo’s.

The problem for music venues is that, well, they are noisy. This is OK while they are set in the middle of industrial areas of warehouses. But as planning rules have been relaxed, many of these buildings have been repurposed. Instead of being situated in the middle of empty spaces at night, existing night venues have found themselves surrounded by residential buildings – and a raft of complaints.

What does the new law mean?

In a nutshell, the Agent of Change Law will protect existing venues from complaints against them made by new residents.

Venues have always been held responsible for controlling the noise they emit. Should the new Agent of Change Law come into force, the responsibility for noise control will pass to the developer. New residents will have no recourse to complain about the noise coming from the existing venue, and property developers will have to let prospective buyers know about noise levels in advance.

What might developers need to do?

Apart from making prospective buyers aware of the decibel levels they may be subjected to at night, it may be that developers will now be held responsible for noise control. That could increase costs of development, though, even then, soundproofing measures may not be sufficient. Vibrations from heavy bass music are difficult to negate.

As a developer, you’ll need to identify the noise issues that may exist and act to soundproof buildings that you are converting to residential. You’ll be expected to tackle the issue of noise before it becomes an issue. This should help to maintain a selling point of your development while ensuring residents are happy in their new homes. Knowing who to sell them to, and how, is where Castlereach comes in.

Call the Castlereach team on 0207 923 5680, and discover how we reach the property investors that invest in London and the UK’s major towns and cities.

Live with passion

Brett Alegre-Wood

About the Author

Brett has over 20 years experience in all facets of property, he owns various companies centred around property and is the driving force behind the education and training at Castlereach. His companies have sold over £850 million in UK and London property and he manages over 1200 properties through his estate agency chain. Today he shares his time between UK, Australia and Singapore. He is married to Arlene and together they have 4 kids. Brett holds both the Level 3 Property Mark Qualifications for Property Sales and Property Lettings and Management.