Fire safety flouting businessman jailed

A Cheshire wedding venue owner who repeatedly flouted fire safety rules has been jailed.

Visiting Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service firefighters found ‘flagrant’ disregard of fire regulations at the 16th-century, Grade One-listed Haslington Hall.

Failings

The court heard the owner failed to:

·         take general fire precautions – putting staff and guests at risk

·         review fire risk assessments after deciding to use the second floor as sleeping accommodation

Firefighters also found inadequate fire detectors, alarms, firefighting equipment, escape routes, signage for emergency routes and exits, and a lack of staff fire safety training.

Fire chiefs first issued enforcement notices in 2012 in an attempt to get the venue up to standard. But the work done was inadequate.

In 2014 fire services found serious fire safety breaches at a marquee in the Hall’s grounds. A prohibition notice was issued immediately stopping its use. However, the notice was ignored on at least three occasions when visiting firefighters found weddings taking place.

Guilty plea

Mohammed Isaq pleaded guilty to failing to comply with:

·         enforcement and prohibition notices

·         the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005

He was jailed for 20 months. His company, Haslington Hall Ltd, admitted the same breaches.

Previous conviction

The court heard Isaq had a prior conviction for breaching fire safety when in 2012 he was fined and ordered to pay costs totalling £23,815 for several serious breaches of the 2005 Fire Safety Order at Haslington Hall.

The judge told Isaq ‘A more flagrant breach of the legislation there cannot be in my view. You simply ignored many of the important aspects of the enforcement notices and completely ignored two prohibition notices’.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service said ‘There should never be lives put at risk in any premises and legislation is there to protect anyone using a venue such as this’.

It added ‘We will take action when owners and managers choose not to treat fire safety as a vital legitimate business requirement’.