Two local Banbury businesses convicted of fire safety breaches

Two local Banbury businesses have been convicted of fire safety breaches.

Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 1:15 pm

A local hotel operator appeared in court last Friday March 12, where he was sentenced to nine months in custody, suspended for 12 months, for multiple breaches of fire safety legislation.

No financial penalty was issued, but the hotel was ordered to pay full court costs to the Fire Authority.

Fire Safety Inspectors from Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service attended The Lismore Hotel premises in Oxford Road, Banbury on February 12, 2019 following complaints in respect of the fire safety measures at the hotel.

Two local Banbury businesses have been convicted of fire safety breaches, including a local hotel and Chinese takeaway

The Hotel was operating across three floors and fire safety inspectors observed that there was a lack of fire safety measures in place. A fire safety audit was conducted under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, revealing the premises was not safe to be used as sleeping accommodation and identifying multiple breaches of the fire safety legislation.

Fire Safety Inspecting Officers found that the business owner Mr Paul Smith had failed to ensure there was an adequate risk assessment of fire, failed to adequately maintain an external fire escape stair; failed to protect escape routes; and failed to ensure final exits were available in case of fire.

As a consequence, the Fire Authority ordered the immediate removal of guests on safety grounds by use of a Prohibition Notice so that it could not to be used for sleeping or resting.

Station Manager Chris Wilson said: "We have worked throughout the year with local business owners and employers to help them discharge their duties under the Fire Safety Legislation, and are always willing to assist any business.

"Members of the public should continue to be reassured that legal action will be used only when absolutely necessary, and where serious breaches of fire safety regulations are identified.’

The owner of a second business in town was also recently convicted of fire safety breaches.

Both businesses are now currently fire safety compliant.

The owner of Chinese takeaway - Mr Rice - has been fined and given a suspended prison sentence for multiple breaches of fire-safety legislation which put lives in danger.

Fire Safety Inspecting Officers from Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service found that the business owner, Ms Lili Pan, had failed to ensure there was an adequate risk assessment of fire and sufficient working fire alarms. She also failed to ensure sufficient protected escape routes and fire exits were available in case of fire.

The takeaway restaurant was operating on the ground floor and had several bedrooms above the premises. A fire safety audit was conducted under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, and Inspectors found that the premises were so dangerous that they were left with no alternative than to prohibit the use of the building for sleeping until safety measures were improved.

As a consequence the Fire Authority ordered the immediate removal of tenants on safety grounds by use of a Prohibition Notice so that it could not to be used for sleeping or resting.

An investigation resulted in Mr Rice Ltd and Ms Lili Pan appearing in court last week where the company and Ms Pan were sentenced to four months in custody for each of 20 counts (to run concurrently) suspended for 12 months, and fined £800 and ordered to pay court costs of £400.

Station Manager Chris Wilson, who attended the hearing, said: "The issuing of a prohibition notice restricts the use of any premises providing accommodation that does not meet the accepted standards of fire safety.

"Responsible persons (business owners or employers) have a duty of care to ensure the accommodation they provide is safe and suitable.

"We will advise and give support to any business and are always willing to help make sure they comply with fire safety legislation. The public should continue to be reassured that legal action will be used when necessary, where any serious breaches of fire safety regulations are identified."

Any business person or employee seeking advice can contact their local fire service at [email protected] and asking for Fire Safety Advice for Business.

Station manager Wilson added:"Our advice is free. We're always willing to work with people. We're always willing to try and help people."