The owner of a hotel in Crewe has been hit with a £80,000 fine over its “systematic failure” to comply with fire safety rules.
Hospitality First Two, which owns the Crewe Arms Hotel, on Nantwich Road, pleaded guilty to five breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, at Liverpool Magistrates Court in December.
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) took the company to court after an inspection in December 2015 revealed several breaches.
An immediate prohibition notice was issued at the time, forcing the hotel to close for two and a half months to carry out emergency works.
Inspectors found a lack of smoke detectors, poor maintenance of the alarm system, with some areas of the system not functioning, and inadequate separation of the building between floors, including holes in the floors, which meant fire could spread easily.
"There was an obvious risk of injury to life and limb. Serious identified flaws were either ignored or unactioned over a period of time. This is a systemic failure to comply with the relevant legislation."
Fire escape routes were inadequate and the company’s fire risk assessment was not suitable or sufficient.
Prosecuting on behalf of CFRS, Warren Spencer told the court the failures uncovered by inspectors would have put “guest and employees at risk over a substantial period of time”.
Defending, Elizabeth Dudley-Jones said the hotel had carried out “significant works” after receiving the prohibition notice and had now reopened. District Judge Andrew Shaw fined the company £80,000 and ordered it to pay a victim surcharge of £120 and the prosecution legal costs of £10,000.
He said: “There was an obvious risk of injury to life and limb. Serious identified flaws were either ignored or unactioned over a period of time. This is a systemic failure to comply with the relevant legislation.” CFRS deputy chief fire officer Mark Cashin said: “We hope that this court case will put other companies on notice that we will take action against them if they are found to be below the standards the law requires.”
According to a report in the Crewe Chronicle, from September, a further four counts relating to the safety of staff – the failure to review fire risk assessments, the failure to monitor fire safety measures and the failure to provide adequate fire safety training to staff – were denied by the company at an earlier hearing, and the prosecution for these counts was discontinued.