A court has ordered the closure of four popular clubs operating within Nairobi’s Kilimani area after residents complained about noise pollution and a downgrade of the value of their property.
Justice Loice Komingoi, however, suspended the decision for 30 days, to allow B Concept Ltd, also known as B Club Nairobi, Kiza Restaurant and Lounge, Space Lounge and Grill as well as Explorers Tavern, to pursue an appeal. The Environment and Land Court judge also ordered the revocation of liquor licences issued to the clubs.
In the case, Kilimani Project Foundation, through lawyer Cecil Miller, said residents were aggrieved by the noise from the four nightclubs, which deprived them of sleep.
Besides the noise, he said, revellers litter the area, obstruct vehicles and expose children to immoral and indecent behaviour and that property prices had plummeted, hurting rental incomes. The noise levels from the clubs, according to Mr Miller, clocked between 68 to 84 ab, which is above permitted levels.
The court further heard that the issuance of business permits and liquor licences by the Nairobi County Government for bars within residential areas was a violation of their rights. The lawyer said the clubs should be closed down because they are in contravention of the Environmental Management and Co-ordination (Noise and Excessive Vibration Pollution) regulations.
In response to the suit, the clubs said they had been licensed to carry out their business and had complied with city by-laws.
They told the court that their noise levels were within the recommended limit and in line with the environment watchdog’s standards.
The Nigerian owner of Kiza Lounge, Oumarou Moumouni, was last month deported and is in court fighting his expulsion.
B Club said it has its own parking at Galana Plaza and does not park on an access road as alleged. The club said it had employed parking attendants who help in organising traffic and parking to and from the establishment.
The club said it observes high standards of cleanliness and denied violating any of the residents’ rights.
Other respondents said they had put in place mechanisms to ensure there was a peaceful and environmentally-compliant coexistence with their neighbours.
Explorers Tavern said it does not operate within a residential area but on a commercial zone along Ngong Road and that it does not play loud music as alleged. The club said it has employed over 80 people whose livelihoods would be jeopardised if the orders were granted.
The court heard that the clubs operate within the licensed hours and had discontinued karaoke nights, removed all big speakers and installed those that are acoustic, and the establishments sound-proofed to ensure the noise is within the permitted levels.
The assistant director of Environment at City Hall said there were numerous complaints from different entities and persons over the noise and had convened meetings between residents and club owners to address noise pollution.
“I am persuaded by the petitioner that the residents’ right to a clean and healthy environment has been infringed by the activities of the 1st to 4th respondents,” the judge said in his ruling.
She added that the county government has been reluctant to exercise its mandate as the complaints have not been acted upon.