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Music deregulation: Your emails

01 December 11 16:25
The Dublin Castle pub in Camden, London

Earlier this year the government unveiled plans for a wholesale deregulation of entertainment licensing in the UK. The news was welcomed by live music promoters but there are fears it will cause a nuisance to neighbours.

In September, plans to scrap much of the Licensing Act 2003 and deregulate live music venues in England and Wales were unveiled by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, and the consultation process ends on Saturday.

BBC News readers have been sharing their views.

The musicians

I am a musician and find it more and more difficult to play in pubs due to licensing restrictions and the fear landlords have that their alcohol licence might be taken away if they apply for a music one. In a pub you are not going to get 5,000 people. So let's have the common sense back and allow landlords and people organising small events to be able to do so - instead of destroying our culture allow it to flourish. Roddy McKenzie, Norwich

I'm a musician in a gigging pub band and I think a change to the current licensing laws would be a massive benefit to publicans and musicians alike. Currently there are numerous bands and live acts trying to play at a limited number of venues. With the changes proposed, theoretically we could play in a wider range of venues and to a wider audience. I appreciate the concerns of some - common sense would need to be applied to noise levels, audience figures and a time when least disturbance could be made. Gary Fisher, Portsmouth

As the lead singer of a band, I've got a lot of experience of putting on shows, and frankly the paperwork is ridiculous. De-regulating does bring risk, but the up-side clearly outweighs the down. Having removed the right to smoke, governments past and present have been largely responsible for the contraction of the sector - a sector which is a major part of our heritage in the UK, and a major source of new talent to the UK music industry. There will always be miserable residents, but as long as common sense is applied it'll work. Brad Wills, Reading

The audience

I was in France recently and noticed how healthy the live music scene was at a grassroots level. Now French bureaucracy is legendary, but people are not scared to cause a minor nuisance in the name of many people having fun. Neighbours who live near a venue, should be in that venue - their local - and supporting it. There is such thing as society, and we need to be more sociable - music being played casually in public is a big part of our musical traditions in this country. Or shall we limit people's musical experiences to unhealthy TV talent shows? E Murphy, London

What is really needed is the regulation of amplified music. Very few neighbours are ever likely to be annoyed by a singer with an acoustic guitar, a pianist or accordionist. The real problem is when amplifiers are used without common sense or consideration - licence the amplifiers, not the musicians. As it stands, a live and unamplified performer is considered a potential nuisance, but recorded noise can be played at any volume! Stephen du Toit, London

The residents

I live next door to a public house which is in a residential area. The pub currently has a music license but it frequently exceeds the restrictions of that license. Currently we can recourse to the local council to pull it back within the limits. This proposal would seem to indicate this will no longer be possible. Surely it is unacceptable to permit live music out doors in a residential area after 23:00? David Wilson, Wokingham

I live in Bristol about 200 metres along a residential road from a street full of bars and restaurants. In particular there is a huge one just opposite our road and it has been quite a fight over the years to get it to obey the rules on its license, particularly in the summer when it likes to open all its doors and windows. Hard work for us residents and the council, but at least we had recourse to the license; without that it would be a nightmare. We already have rowdy students to deal with. We need more regulation of noise, not less. Beth Richmond, Bristol

We live in the middle of Swansea a couple of hundred yards from the city centre. In the summer, particularly, we can clearly hear loud music from clubs and particularly from one pub/restaurant which has live music inside but has the windows and doors open to the street. It isn't the playing of the music that is the issue; it is the extent to which it impinges on neighbours - which in this case means anyone within a range of 200 to 300 yards inside with the windows and doors closed! I guess issues of sound proofing ought to enter into the discussion. John Atkinson, Swansea

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