Wallingford restaurant fined for series of fire safety breaches

The owner of a Tandoori restaurant and takeaway in Wallingford has been fined for multiple breaches of fire-safety legislation that put lives in danger. The case was heard at High Wycombe Magistrates court.

Fire safety inspectors from Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service visited the premises in May 2019, where they found that the business owner, Mr Zaman, had failed to ensure there was an adequate risk assessment of fire; and failed to protect escape routes in case of fire. There were also insufficient working fire alarms.

The restaurant was operating on the ground floor and had several bedrooms above the premise over two upper floors. Following a complaint that fire safety measures were insufficient, a fire safety audit was conducted under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, and inspectors found that the premises were so dangerous that they were left with no alternative but to prohibit the use of the building for sleeping until safety measures were improved. As a consequence, they ordered the immediate removal of tenants on safety grounds by use of a prohibition notice so that it could not to be used for sleeping or resting.

An investigation resulted in Mr Zaman appearing in court (1 April 2021) where the business owner was found guilty of four charges under the fire safety legislation and fined for two of those charges a total of £1,640 with costs of £1,000. The low level of fine reflected Mr Zaman’s current financial situation.

Chris Wilson, from Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service, who attended the premises on the date of the inspection, said: “We are finding an increasing number of restaurants and takeaways with sleeping accommodation above, where no fire safety measures have been implemented. Business owners have a legal duty to put fire safety measures in place.”

Issuing of a prohibition notice restricts the use of any premises providing accommodation that does not meet the accepted standards of fire safety. Responsible persons – business owners or employers – must accept that they have a duty of care to ensure the accommodation they provide is safe and suitable.

Any business person or employee can seek fire safety advice by emailing fire.service@oxfordshire.gov.uk

Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service’s vision is to work every day to save and improve the lives of people across the county. For more information, visit www.365alive.co.uk