Make ‘Agent Of Change’ Legal Obligation For Developers

UKHospitality is calling for a legal strengthening of the ‘agent of change’ principle, to make it mandatory for developers to mitigate any noise issues from existing hospitality businesses.

In its response to Government proposals to make it easier to change the use of hotels and other accommodation buildings to residential premises, UKHospitality has highlighted that current requirements for developers building close to hospitality businesses lack teeth. This can result in tensions between residents in new developments and pre-existing venues.

UKHospitality has also said that:
• Proposals to ease change of use requirements must not risk viable accommodation businesses placed under threat of conversion.
• It supports proposals that hotel businesses converted into residential properties cannot be used for short-term letting purposes.
• Before any conversion to residential properties, there must be assessments made to determine that the loss of such businesses do not lead to significant negative impacts on the local economy.

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said:
“It is entirely reasonable for the Government to explore new ways of increasing the nation’s housing stock but this simply must not come at the expense of viable hospitality businesses or in a way that increases tensions between local businesses and residents.

“The ‘agent of change’ principle is absolutely crucial in this regard and we wholeheartedly support its intentions. Developers must be responsible for mitigating any noise issues that may arise from pre-existing hospitality businesses. They cannot simply ignore the issue and dump it on the doorsteps of local businesses.

“However, the principle needs to be enshrined in legislation to force developers to take notice and put in place appropriate provisions. The current requirements are simply inadequate and will continue to lead to issues.

“It was fantastic to see so many peers support this in a recent debate on the Levelling Up Bill in the House of Lords and I would urge the Government to work with us to make the required changes to ‘agent of change’, to the benefit of both businesses and residents.”