CHANGE OF USE

City residents decry liquor stores turned discos and pubs

Want government to revoke licenses of 34 establishments in Kileleshwa, Lavington and Kilimani

In Summary
  • "Outside the licensed clubs, there are other small liquor stores which play music as discos or clubs yet they are not licensed as clubs,” Kanyiha said.
  • She said despite the area having schools and residential houses, the establishments fail to consult residents when seeking a change of use.
Revelers at a night club in Mombasa,
CHALNGE OF USE: Revelers at a night club in Mombasa,
Image: FILE

Kileleshwa, Lavington and Kilimani residents have raised alarm over mushrooming of small liquor stores turned discos and pubs.

They say the stalls start as liqour stores but end up being converted into clubs despite not being licensed for such activities.

Kilimani Project Foundation executive director Wanjiru Kanyiha on Monday said entertainment joints in Dagoretti North are operating contrary to national laws and policy guidelines.

She said despite the area having schools and residential houses, the establishments fail to consult residents when seeking a change of use.

“The clubs are operating beyond operating hours and engaging in excessive noise hence becoming a public nuisance.

"Outside the licensed clubs, there are other small liquor stores which play music as discos or clubs yet they are not licensed as clubs,” Kanyiha said.

The foundation pointed out 34 such establishments, which they want the Nairobi government to revoke their operating licences for violation of regulations on operating hours as well as engaging in excessive noise.

It also wants licences of clubs notorious for contravening regulations as contained in the Nairobi City County Alcoholic Drinks Control Act, 2014 revoked.

Kanyiha said licences of the establishments are often issued by the subcounty Liquor Licensing Board without involvement of stakeholders, only for residents to see a club operating in their area.

KPF said Nema should also undertake noise violation inspections and take appropriate action according to provisions of the Environment Management and Co-ordination Regulations 2009.

They said the authority should withdraw licenses from clubs that continue to operate after the prescribed hours and above the prescribed noise levels.

Kanyiha said Nema should withdraw the licenses until proper stakeholder consultation is done.

“The operators need to adhere to set processes and procedures such as soundproofing their premises and addressing other violations,” she said.

In 2019, City Hall carried out census of all liquor selling establishment in the capital following complaints of the growing number of the joints.

The county liqour board said Nairobi had 30,000 establishments.

With 2,000 bars in the Nairobi Central Business District, only 736 had been licensed by City Hall.

When the liqour board came into office in 2014, there were 7,200 licensed bars. 

Two years later in 2016, the board said the bars were 12,500, with a big number located in informal settlements lacking licenses.

(Edited by Bilha Makokha)

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