The Blantyre City Council (BCC) has warned that it will start confiscating equipment from people found hosting engagements and weddings or operating shebeens in residential areas.
The council has issued the warning today saying it has registered numerous complaints from residents about noise emanating from houses that have been turned into arenas for public ceremonies such as alcohol consumption, weddings, engagements and bridal showers in residential areas.
According to the council, the practice of turning residential areas into events gardens is against the Urban Structure Plan of the City of Blantyre and the Physical Planning Act.
“It is further deplorable that this is happening without getting development permission from the Town Planning Committee to change use of the said premises from residential to commercial.
“The Council, therefore, hereby notifies members of the general public and Blantyre residents in particular, that operating a bottle store, bar, tavern, shebeen or hosting a wedding, engagement and bridal shower and any other public ceremony in residential areas is prohibited.
“The Council has the legal mandate to take action against those providing venues to such events which may include prosecution,” reads part of the statement.
Blantyre City Council has since given 14 days to owners of residential premises that host public ceremonies such as, weddings, engagements, bridal showers and other public functions of a similar nature in residential areas to stop the malpractice.
According to the council, anyone who hosts on their premises public events should apply, within 14 days from the date hereof, for development permission and business premises licence for them to be allowed to carry on such business upon their application being approved.
For those found hosting the events without permits, the council has said it may confiscate from the owners instruments being used to cause the said noise nuisance.
The conficasted items may be used to recover as a civil debt, in any court of competent jurisdiction, from that person or persons, the expenses necessarily incurred by the Council in enforcing this Notice.
The owners of premises could also be prosecuted by the Council under Section 65 of the Public Health Act and Under Section 98 of the Physical Planning Act.