Introduce a deed of easement protecting Motion from new developments surrounding the venue
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Recently industrial land was acquired close to Motion with the view to turn into this residential property. Several sites have already applied for planning permission. Venues and clubs across the country have come under threat in these situations, with new residents moving in and complaining about noise, including other challenges that come with the nighttime economy such as getting people to and from the venue. Our nightlife is precious and in short supply for many reasons and how we preserve this is very challenging. Our venue, which plays a pivotal part in helping to shape UK club culture, brings through some of the world’s best Bands and DJs to the city, as well as offering a platform for local artists.
One story that comes to mind is a Bristol DJ called Eats Everything who now tours the world playing to hundreds of thousands of people a year. We know Eats as Dan, and we're proud to call him a friend. In 2011 he broadcasted his essential mix live from our venue. It was a stark success for Bristol and the venue. These memories and stories are the cornerstones of our culture.
The main focus of resolving the issue of residents and Motion living together has been the planning principal called ‘the agent of change’. There have been many meetings with both the local council and the developers themselves regarding this.
Agent of change puts the emphasis on the developer to adjust their buildings or proposals and to work around us as we were established in the location over a decade ago. In principle, this is fantastic but the question that still loomed What if someone still complains? Do we have to adjust our operation? Do we have adhere to more stringent noise levels? Who will foot the overall bill? And how will that affect our business as a whole?
These are all questions we have asked ourselves and have subsequently looked into.
After reviewing similar cases in the UK, we have come to the conclusion that the Agent of Change is not robust enough for us to simply accept. We require a legal mechanism that ensures the current noise levels we operate at are able to continue lawfully. The only legal mechanism that would secure the clubs future is a ‘Deed of Easement.’ We have suggested that the numerous property developers around the venue could sign a Deed of Easement, however thus far this fallen on deaf ears and we have been ignored.
We totally agree that the Agent of Change is great in both principle and theory and have confidence that it would be carried out diligently. Ensuring everything is carried out, such as acoustically sealed windows and partly covered winter gardens in place of open balconies. However, this would not guarantee the current noise levels would be able to continue legally as they are.
Our main focus currently is achieving this. Looking at other cases such as Ministry of Sound, The Stables in Milton Keynes and the George Tavern in London. All these venues had similar issues resulting in a deed of easement being agreed upon, which in turn has allowed these venues to continue operating unaffected. In the case of The Stables, Councillors voted unanimously to place a Deed of Easement in the planning conditions relating to their case. Certainly, if we worked out a solution with everyone involved this would safeguard the venue and also future residents.
By having a Deed of Easement in place at the development sites around Motion, future residents will know in advance about any inconvenience they might experience from being located close to a cultural hub and music venue.
The argument from the developers is that such an agreement would devalue their land, but as in the case with Ministry of Sound, this was not an issue.
Motion works in our city for many reasons. Last year saw over 300,000 customers from across the country attend and enjoy live music events at the venue, supported by over 100 staff members, who work hard to make sure each of our customers goes away with a memorable experience. Motion's success should also be credited to the local licensing authority and the Police. Their approach to working with us, alongside us and together means we can continue to operate. More recently city planning and the Mayors office has been working with us, and their approach has been positive. Nicola Beech and the Mayor Marvin Rees , have been very supportive and forward thinking. Our hope is that in turn the developers can adopt the same approach with developments around the venue and work with us on the only feasible solution.
We wish to let everyone know that we intend to use the planning system to move forward. We will work strenuously until these measures are in place. If you want to support us, you can do so by signing and sharing the petition below which requests that a deed of easement is introduced to protect Motion from new developers surrounding the venue.
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