21 January 2020
Following reports that a Stratford hotel and its owner have been ordered to pay £45,000 for “serious and systemic” fire safety failures which “put staff and guests at risk”, Deborah Heather Director of Quality in Tourism questions when will safety be given the priority it deserves?
The 16-bedroom Baytree Hotel in east London is owned by Act Grange. The company and its sole director Falgun Patel, were sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on Monday 13 January after pleading guilty to five breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Patel faces six months’ imprisonment if he fails to pay the fine.
When London Fire Brigade (LFB) fire safety officers visited the property for a routine audit, they found serious fire safety deficiencies. There was no fire risk assessment in place, no smoke detection devices, numerous fire doors tied open and some with missing or broken fire door closers. They also discovered that a first-floor emergency exit route was blocked, almost its entire length, with large amounts of rubbish. The gate at the end of the route was locked and could not be opened by staff.
Following the visit, an enforcement notice was served on Patel and he was interviewed under caution in relation to the deficiencies. LFB then took the prosecution forward to court.
Deborah says “As a hotel owner, you have a duty of care; to your staff but also to your paying guests. The consumer assumes that if they are paying to stay somewhere that they will be safe and secure. Sadly, this is not always the case.”
Quality in Tourism recently carried out an independent survey of consumers which showed that 67% don’t check that a property has smoke detectors but 89% believe that they should be mandatory. The survey also found that 83% of consumers believed that there should be mandatory regulation for hotels, B&Bs, holiday cottages, sharing economy rentals and serviced apartments.
Deborah continues “It is really important for not just hotel owners, but any accommodation provider to understand the responsibilities that come with providing services to guests. That’s why we have developed our Safe, Clean & LegalTM accreditation to help enforce the legal standards for the industry and to ensure that businesses have the correct checks in place to meet at least the minimum of standards.”Find out more about how you can reassure your guests by becoming Safe, Clean & LegalTM here