Chester hotel director prosecuted for serious fire safety breaches

The owner of a Chester hotel has been ordered to pay a total of £67,000 for breaking fire safety laws.

Ashok Ummat, Director of Mollington Banastre Hotel & Spa, appeared in Chester Crown Court on Thursday, 16 November 2023, charged with three counts of serious breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO).

Warren Spencer, prosecuting, told the court that Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service inspecting officers found serious deficiencies and breaches of the FSO during the initial audit inspection on 28 June 2018.

These deficiencies included:

  • inadequate means of escape from the first and second floors

  • inadequate fire resistant 'compartmentation' to prevent the spread of smoke and fire

  • poor electrical maintenance

  • insufficient fire risk assessment

  • no record of an emergency plan

  • insufficient emergency lighting on the external means of escape from the first floor

  • deficient fire doors

  • insufficient records for fire alarm maintenance.

An action plan was agreed between the inspecting officers and Ashok Ummat on 24 July 2018 with a completion date of 1 April 2019 ultimately agreed to rectify the deficiencies.

After further inspection on 2 April 2019, inspecting officers served Mr Ummat with a prohibition notice under Article 31 of the FSO, prohibiting the use of several rooms for hotel accommodation. An enforcement notice was then issued on 5 April 2019 issuing a schedule of works to make the effected rooms safe before allowing people to stay.

Area Manager Steve McCormick, Head of Prevention and Protection at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service said:

"Fire safety is an essential part of good business management and Mr Ummat showed little regard for the safety of the guests at the Mollington Banastre Hotel & Spa. This was apparent by the fact that he failed to take our advice and follow the agreed action plan to make the premises safer.
"We always aim to help and support any business to operate safely, however this case shows that we will take action when fire safety responsibilities are not taken seriously."

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service has a dedicated protection and business safety team that offers advice and support to businesses to enable them to operate safely. To find out more visit Fire Protection