Posted on 24/02/2016
The business partner of a Paignton hotel has been ordered to pay £11,500 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to four offences under fire safety legislation.
Peter Wilks, a business partner at the Summerhill Hotel, Braeside Road, Paignton, pleaded guilty to four failures under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in Torquay Magistrates Court on 23 February 2016.
In summing up the Magistrates said: “You have pleaded guilty to these four offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 at the earliest opportunity.
“However, this was a reckless breach that potentially put lives at risk and over a period of eight years. When told to undertake the necessary upgrades you did this and spent over £25,000 in doing so.
“For the four offences you are ordered to pay £1,500 per offence and a victim surcharge of £120 and to pay full costs of £5,430. This is a total of £11,500 to be paid within six months.”
These offences/charges were as follows:
Article 9 – Failure to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which relevant persons are exposed in the event of a fire occurring
Article 13 – Failure to ensure that the premises were, to the extent that it is appropriate, equipped with appropriate fire-fighting equipment and with fire detectors and alarms.
Article 14 – Failure to ensure that emergency routes and exits lead as directly as possible to a place of safety and that in the event of danger, for persons to evacuate the premises as quickly and as safely as possible.
Additionally, that emergency doors must not be so locked or fastened that they cannot be easily and immediately opened by any person who may require to use them in an emergency,
and that emergency routes and exits were indicated by signs;
and that emergency routes and exits requiring illumination were provided with emergency lighting of adequate intensity in the case of failure of their normal lighting.
Article 17 – Failure to ensure that where necessary the premises and any facilities, equipment and devices provided in respect of the premises, were subject to a suitable system of maintenance and are maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.
On 2 June 2015, Fire Protection Officers attended the Summerhill because concerns had been raised following an earlier basic fire safety check at the premises.
The officers found the following serious deficiencies at the premises:
• Areas of the hotel did not have any automatic fire detection and warning system fitted, including 11 bedrooms.
• A number of fire doors on the bedrooms were below the acceptable standard.
• The doors to the hotel’s kitchens and the boiler room were not to the appropriate standard for fire doors.
• The fire escape route from the rear of the hotel was not signed, did not have emergency lighting provided and did not lead to a place of safety, one route being to a dead end.
• The fire-fighting equipment had not been serviced by an approved contractor for 15 years and the fire extinguishers needed to be replaced.
• The fire alarm system that was installed in part of the building and the emergency lighting that was provided was not being maintained by competent companies or contractors.
• A fire alarm company attended at the premises in 2007 to assess the fire detection and warning system. They found it to be well below the standard for hotels, being to BS5839 Part 1. The hotel was informed what was needed but they never upgraded it.