In the case of University of Pretoria v Roger and Others, the University of Pretoria (“the University”) initiated legal proceedings to address the noise nuisance caused by several pubs close to the University. This case delves into the conflict between land use rights, liquor licenses, and the protection of students’ well-being and academic pursuits, with significant implications for zoning regulations and permissible noise levels.
Discussion of the Facts:
The University alleged that the Jolly Roger and other respondents operated bars and nightclubs on premises situated along Lynnwood Road, known as the “Strip,” directly across from the University campus. This location proximity has led to complaints from nearly 1,000 students residing in four University-owned residences. The complaints center on the incessant noise emanating from the Strip, disturbing students’ ability to study and rest. An environmental noise impact assessment conducted by an acoustics expert confirmed that noise disturbances had occurred at two measuring points on the campus, constituting a severe contravention of the Noise Control Regulations.
The court addressed several key arguments. Firstly, it addressed the “authority” attack by respondents, confirming the Registrar’s authorization to launch the application on behalf of the University. Furthermore, the court acknowledged that the premises were zoned as Business 1, allowing their use as Places of Refreshment, but it rejected the argument that the Town Planning Scheme allowed for a secondary use as Places of Amusement.
The court considered the steps taken by the Jolly Roger to mitigate noise, acknowledging their success in this regard. Consequently, the claim for an interdict in relation to noise nuisance against the Jolly Roger was dismissed. However, the court emphasized that liquor licenses could not supersede Land Use Rights, and thus, the claim for an interdict against the Jolly Roger’s violation of land use rights succeeded.
Additionally, lease agreements contained clauses prohibiting tenants from using the premises for illegal or improper purposes or causing disturbances to adjacent properties. The court ruled that the landowners were entitled to enforce these clauses and granted an order against them.
In summary, the court issued an order interdicting the respondents from conducting any business in violation of the permissible land use rights outlined in the Pretoria Town Planning Scheme. The respondents were also interdicted from creating or allowing anyone to create, a noise nuisance exceeding the noise levels permitted by the Land Use Rights. The seventh respondent was specifically instructed to take all reasonable measures to ensure that the second and third respondents did not cause a noise nuisance. This case underscores the significance of upholding land use regulations while considering the well-being of the University’s students in a densely