The director and operations manager of a hotel in Hertford has been fined for twice breaching a prohibition notice.
Nick Shipton, working at the Hertford House Hotel, pleaded guilty at Hertford Magistrates Court on 18 July. He was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,346 for breaching the Fire Safety Order on two separate occasions in December last year.
During this time, the hotel had a marquee in place over the patio area to allow for extra dining over the Christmas period. The alleyway from the rear patio area was the designated escape route in case of fire in the hotel. However, a prohibition notice was served on 2 December, to ensure the alleyway was kept clear and secure for public safety. Just over a week later, Hertfordshire fire crews noticed combustible items were being stored in the alleyway and carried out an inspection.
Unsecured wheelie bins lined the alleyway and blocked the exit. These were cleared at the time and the hotel manager was reminded of the notice.
However, on 16 December a duty fire officer visited the premises and again found rubbish and wheelie bins blocking the escape route.
The fire service, said: “We strive to work with businesses and other organisations to create a safe and prosperous community and we ensure our actions are fair and proportionate to the risk involved.
“Where there is a serious and imminent risk we will serve a prohibition notice so as to protect life. Non-compliance with a prohibition notice is an offence and we will take legal action on the person or the company responsible.”