In July 2015, Business Fire Safety Officers from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) conducted inspections at 58 and 60 Chepstow Road, Newport. Both premises, owned by Mr. Marshall, are three storey houses converted into self contained flats. The inspections identified inadequate fire safety provisions at both premises which resulted in a Prohibition Notice being issued under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 to number 58 which prevented sleeping on the second floor. Additionally, an Enforcement Notice was served on 60 Chepstow Road, detailing the necessary remedial work required to make the premises safe.
In an attempt to identify the responsible person, an investigation was undertaken by officers of SWFRS’ compliance team where Mr. Lewis Marshall was identified as the owner of both the premises. Through continued, but unsuccessful requests for information to clarify the responsible person, SWFRA had no option but to pursue the matter through the courts.
Mr Marshall was subsequently summoned to attend Cwmbran Magistrates Court on 22nd July 2016. Mr. Justin Davies, of Hugh James, Cardiff, acting on behalf of South Wales Fire and Rescue Authority laid out the case against the defendant. Mr. Marshall failed to attend court on this date and was found guilty, in his absence, of seven offences under Article 32 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
Mr. Marshall was fined £1,000 in respect of each offence and ordered to pay full costs to the Fire Authority of £6,009.07 He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £100.
This fine could have been avoided if Mr Marshall had simply responded with the required information to South Wales Fire and Rescue Service. The investigation into the fire safety contraventions is still ongoing.
Owen Jayne, Group Manager within the Business Fire Safety Department for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said, “Our role is to enforce fire safety legislation in premises that fall within the scope of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and ensure that these premises are safe. We do this by working with businesses and landlords across South Wales to support them to protect their business from risk. In this instance, we went out of our way to seek out basic information to enable us to follow legal protocols.
“The court viewed this matter to be so serious they imposed the maximum fine possible. As you can see in this case, the fines and costs received are solely attributed to the failure to provide information. This is a clear message to landlords and members of the business community that they need to respond to formal requests made by the Fire and Rescue Service.”
For more information about the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, its impact on your business and how SWFRS’ Business Fire Safety department can work with your business, visit www.southwales-fire.gov.uk
Tel: 01443 232000 Fax: 01443 232165
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