Chichester restaurant fined thousands for breaching fire safety laws

Wildwood restaurant in South Street.
Wildwood restaurant in South Street.

A Chichester restaurant has been fined thousands of pounds after being prosecuted for breaching fire safety laws.

The Wildwood restaurant chain plead guilty to four charges under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 following a fire safety inspection last month, after a complaint from a member of the public.

The South Street restaurant was fined £13,452 and ordered to pay £1,962 costs at Worthing Magistrates Court on May 27.

When fire safety officers visited the property a number of serious breaches where found.

They included obstructed fire exits, defective emergency lighting, the absence of a working fire alarm, dangerous electrics and a fire risk assessment that took no account of ongoing building work on the 2nd floor of the property where staff were sleeping.

The situation was so dangerous that a Prohibition Notice was instantly served on the premises, preventing its use as sleeping quarters.

Richard Bradley, business fire safety manager for West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, said: “The property was being refurbished and the building work had overrun.

“The company made the decision to open, even though the fire alarm was not working and there were a number of serious fire safety issues. This is putting people’s lives at risk for the sake of profit and that simply isn’t acceptable.”

He added: “We’d like to remind all businesses that they have a duty to comply with fire safety legislation.

“This prosecution demonstrates how seriously we take our responsibility to protect the public.

“I’m pleased to say that the Wildwood has since put all the required fire safety measures in place.”

Since the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 all businesses are required by law to carry out a fire risk assessment, take appropriate measures to minimise the risk of fire and implement general fire precautions to protect people in the premises if a fire occurs.

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service works closely with the local business community to assist them in complying with the regulations and fire safety officers work across the county offering practical advice.

Fire safety advice for businesses and information on legislation is available on the West Sussex Fire & Rescue website www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire

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