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Travelodge fined for fire safety breaches at Horley hotel
12:29pm Friday 21st September 2012 in Local News
Hotel chain Travelodge have been fined £13,000 and forced to pay costs after admitting breaching fire safety laws at their hotel in Horley.
The chain was prosecuted by West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service for the breaches at its six-storey hotel in Povey Cross Road.
The court heard fire safety officers had issued the hotel with a Prohibition Notice, preventing anyone from staying at the hotel, immediately on finding the safety breaches.
Travelodge was fined £13,000 and forced to pay £6,500 costs at Haywards Heath Magistrates Court, West Sussex, after being found guilty of seven charges under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) order 2005. Court proceedings were initiated by the fire service after fire crews were called to put out a blaze on the ground floor of the hotel in September 2011. When fire safety officers went to the hotel, which was being refurbished at the time of the fire, they were so concerned by the inadequacy of the fire safety measures there that they immediately served the hotel with a Prohibition Notice.
The officers found there was an inadequate fire alarm system, inadequate fire safety training for staff, a failure to review their fire risk assessment, no planning, organisation, control and monitoring of fire prevention and protection measures, and a failure to properly maintain fire safety equipment, as well as obstruction of escape routes and blocked fire exits.
Andy Tonks, protection group manager for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Fortunately, due to the professionalism of our crews at the time of the incident, the fire was brought under control quickly and nobody was hurt. “However, under different circumstances, the consequences could have been life-threatening.” He said: "Protecting the public will always be our top priority and while we would much rather offer advice to the businesses to help them comply with fire safety law, where serious breaches are putting people's lives at risk we will certainly seek to prosecute."
The hotel has since reopened and all the required fire safety measures are in place. Since the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, all businesses are required by law to have completed a fire risk assessment, including having a person responsible for reviewing fire safety procedures to minimise risk, and to organise training for staff. Bob Burgess, West Sussex County Council deputy cabinet member for public protection, said: "We would like to remind all businesses that they have a duty to comply with fire safety legislation and I hope this case will show just how seriously we take our responsibilities to protect the lives of members of the public. “Fire safety advice for businesses and information on legislation is available on the West Sussex Fire and Rescue website: www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire."