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A Paignton hotel owner has been given a suspended prison sentence after “hair-raising” fire safety defects were found within the premises. David Schofield, owner of the Park Hotel on the Esplanade in Paignton, was sentenced to six months imprisonment, suspended for two years, at Exeter Crown Court on 25 June. He had previously pleaded guilty to seven offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. In summing up prior to sentencing, Judge Wassell said: “I need to send a very serious message to hotel owners. The failures at this hotel were a potential tragedy in waiting. The number of defects was just hair-raising. “To receive complaints from guests, some heard a fire alarm some did not, that 28 fire doors had failed to close properly, that 10 were not even fire doors. Furthermore, there were dangerous electrics, that there were elderly people staying at the hotel and exit doors were wedged shut. There were a catalogue of dangerous findings at the hotel and the fire service was quite right in closing it down. “Anyone running a hotel in this dangerous condition needs to know the seriousness with which these matters are taken and with that only a custodial sentence will do. In terms of failings it is difficult to imagine one worse. “I would like to compliment the fire service on the case that they have brought, the evidence and how the case was put forward.” The offences related to failures of the fire safety standards at the Park Hotel in 2014, including: • Not having an adequate working fire alarm system • A large number of the fire doors in the premises not meeting the required standard • Large amounts of flammable materials stored throughout the hotel • Breaks in the fire separation between areas in the premises • Poor planning in case of an emergency • Inadequate means of escape in case of fire and poor standards of maintenance. Station Manager Glen Wells, Fire Protection Officer for Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, said: “I have inspected hundreds of hotels over the last 29 years and the Park Hotel in Paignton has to be among one of the worst for the sheer number of things that were wrong regarding fire safety matters at the premises. “Had there been a fire there the residents and staff would have been at very serious risk of death or injury as a result of the poor fire safety standards.” Station Manager Wells added: “Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service is committed to ensuring that hotels and guest houses in both counties meet the required standards of the fire safety legislation, and people that use them are quickly made aware of any fire and can safely evacuate. “Where premises fail to meet these standards and those failures place people at risk of death or serious injury in the event of a fire then the Service will take necessary action against the people responsible.” Schofield had stated at a previous hearing that the offences were not deliberate and that he did his best regarding the hotel. Judge Wassell added that, had Schofield not had good character and no previous convictions, he would have been sentenced to 16 months in prison. Schofield was also ordered to pay the full costs of £9,274.



27 NOVEMBER 2018 FIRE RISK ASSESSMENT The owner of a hotel has been given a prison sentence and ordered to pay £20,000 in costs for an array of fire safety breaches at his Nottingham hotel. Mahmood Hussain pleaded guilty at Nottingham Crown Court to five offences relating to his premises, A1 Hotel in Sherwood, Nottingham. Passing sentence, Judge MacAdam said that Mr Hussain has shown a wilful disregard for fire safety laws and continued to profit whilst placing hotel residents at risk. The judge went on to say that an immediate custodial sentence was necessary as, "The message must go out - fire kills," and because Mr Hussain had been given, "so many warnings on so many occasions." The breaches covered the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and included failure to comply with an enforcement notice at his site. Other offences Mr Hussain was charged with included failure to undertake a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment, failure to provide and maintain adequate escape routes from the hotel, failure to make appropriate fire safety arrangements, and the failure to routinely maintain the fire alarm and emergency lighting systems. Andy Kelly, head of fire protection for Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "We welcome and support the comments of Judge MacAdam. "Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service does and will always seek to work with and support business owners to make sure that they keep their premises, guests and employees safe. "However, staff, members of the public and visitors using premises within Nottingham and Nottinghamshire should feel reassured that they can do so safely. "We hope that sentences such as these confirm to the public that we do take fire safety matters very seriously and that we are committed to creating safer communities for us all to enjoy."



Two landlords have been ordered to pay more than £30,000 for breaching fire safety and over-occupancy licence conditions at their House of Multiple Occupation. Barnet council officers discovered that the home in Golders Green, north London, had no fire alarm or emergency lighting systems during a routine inspection. They found that six people were living at the address, which was only licenced to house five people. Landlords Mark Goldsmith and lian Hatuka were prosecuted by the council. They were found guilty of failing without reasonable excuse to comply with their licence conditions and were ordered to pay £15,420 each, including the council’s costs. Councillor Gabriel Rozenberg, chairman of the council’s housing committee, says: “All too often landlords think that their legal obligations are met when they submit their HMO licence application. However, all licences have conditions that landlords are legally obliged to comply with to ensure the safety of their tenants. I am delighted that the courts support our approach to driving up housing standards for tenants.”