LIVE music venues should be protected from expensive sound-proofing bills if houses are built nearby, politicians have said.

Scottish Labour insisted new planning legislation should place the responsibility for sound-proofing on developers if the venue was there first.

The so-called “agent of change” principle puts the legal and financial responsibility for sound-proofing on to those who introduce a change to an area.

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Currently, if new housing is built next to an existing venue then the latter has to foot the bill for sound-proofing modifications. Venues insist this can often be so expensive, it forces them to close.

Popular Edinburgh gig spot Studio 24 shut down earlier this year after citing a barrage of noise complaints and council restrictions.

Scottish Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald said an upcoming planning bill would provide an opportunity to protect venues.

He said the principle had already been embraced by London and Wales, adding: “However, the upcoming Scottish planning bill gives Scotland the opportunity to lead the rest of the UK by embedding the principle of ‘agent of change’ in planning law, giving music venues legal protection from the impact of new residential developments.

“Live music is enormously important to Scotland’s cultural life, and live music tourism generated £295 million for the Scottish economy in 2016.

“This is an opportunity to make a common sense change to the law that will make a difference to everyone who has ever attended a live music concert in Scotland.”

Housing minister Kevin Stewart said the Scottish Government would “continue to listen to what people tell us” as the new planning bill – which is aimed at streamlining the current system – was put before Holyrood yesterday.

He added: “I am attracted by the prospect of embedding the agent of change principle into our planning system so that we can protect the established and emerging talent in our music industry.

“Our live music venues should not become financially disadvantaged or have their viability threatened as a result of new development in their vicinity.”

Meanwhile, powers contained within the bill that would allow the Scottish Government to step in and take control of a council’s planning department were condemned as “draconian”.

The new legislation makes provisions for a Government “troubleshooter” to be sent in if local planners are deemed to be underperforming.

Scottish Conservative housing spokesman Graham Simpson said it would run “a coach and horses through any pretence of localism”.

He also hit out at plans to allow central government to retain any cash raised through a proposed infrastructure levy.

He said: “The planning bill contains some positive steps, such as simplified planning zones, which we would support.

“However, we will oppose the proposed infrastructure levy if it enables the Scottish Government to gather those funds, not councils. This is absolutely unacceptable.

“In addition, the draconian power to send in a Scottish Government troubleshooter if a minister decides a council’s planning department isn’t performing is unnecessary.

“The Scottish Government would even be able to take over a planning department. This is a slap in the face for localism.”