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Paddington hotel found guilty of fire breaches in case brought by London Fire Brigade

Hotel found to be giving importance to its profit than the fire safety
The owners of The Ventuers Hotel
have been fined over £27,000 

Awan Investments Ltd and Malik Mohammed Bashir were found guilty of serious breaches of fire safety legislation following a prosecution brought by the London Fire Brigade.

A company that owned a Paddington hotel has been ordered to pay over £27,000 in fines and costs after being found guilty of serious breaches of fire safety legislation following a prosecution brought by the London Fire Brigade. The chief executive was also fined over £5,000 for his role in the safety breaches.

Awan Investments Ltd and Malik Mohammed Bashir were found guilty of 10 offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The hearing occurred on Tuesday 14 September 2010 at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

The Ventures Hotel on Sussex Gardens, W2 1UL was inspected by fire officers on 2 March 2009 after two members of the public raised concerns following an overnight stay. The officers found a number of fire safety failings including no suitable or sufficient fire risk assessment, blocked emergency exits and wedged open fire doors. As a result of these deficiencies the officers issued an enforcement notice detailing the issues and setting a timeframe for them to be remedied by.

Both defendants pleaded not guilty to the offences. District Judge Snow gave both defendants credit for their previous good character but found them guilty of 10 charges and commented that: “The defendants were not concerned with the safety of staff and guests.” He went further to say that: “The practice was symptomatic of the culture of the organisation to ensure profit and convenience over safety.”

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order places a duty on the 'responsible person' for the premises (the person who controls the premises e.g. a owner /landlord/employer) to carry out a fire risk assessment, take appropriate measures to minimise the risk of fire and implement general fire precautions to protect people in the premises if a fire occurs. The assessment and the fire precautions must be kept under review by the ‘responsible person’.

London Fire Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Regulation, Steve Turek, said: “The general public should feel safe from fire when they are staying at a hotel and the responsible person must make sure their premises comply with the regulations. All premises owners and operators must undertake a fire safety risk assessment.”

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