fire safety breach at Haslington Hall - pic by Lozzark under creative commons

A businessman and owner of a 14th century South Cheshire wedding venue has been jailed for 20 months for breaching serious fire safety rules.

Mohammed Isaq, 56, of Davenport Hall, Hale Barns, pleaded guilty to nine charges which relate to his Haslington Hall venue near Crewe.

The charges included failure to comply with the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005, failure to comply with an enforcement notice and failure to comply with a prohibition notice.

His company, Haslington Hall Ltd, where he was the major shareholder, also admitted the same breaches.

The charges relate to his failure to take general fire precautions to ensure the safety of employees and the public, placing them at risk of death and serious injury in case of fire, failure to review fire risk assessments following a decision to use the second floor of the main hall as sleeping accommodation, inadequate fire detectors, alarms, firefighting equipment, escape routes, signage for emergency routes and exits, and a lack of fire safety training for staff.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service visited the Grade One listed building in 2012 and issued enforcement notices in an attempt to get the venue up to standard, but the work done to rectify the issues was inadequate.

In 2014, the service visited a structure in the grounds of Haslington Hall known as “The Big Marquee” and found serious breaches in fire safety.

The service issued a prohibition notice – which means companies should immediately stop using the venue – which was ignored by Isaq on at least three occasions when firefighters visited the venue and weddings were taking place.

Chester Crown Court heard that Isaq had a previous conviction for fire safety breaches when in January 2012 he was fined and ordered to pay court costs totalling £23,815 to Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service for nine serious breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, also at Haslington Hall.

The honorary Recorder of Chester, Judge Roger Dutton, told Isaq that the breaches were “flagrant” and put the public at risk.

He said: “These are very serious breaches. After all should a disaster happen it is the fire service who have to put the lives of their employees at risk to save lives of the public.

“A more flagrant breach of the legislation there cannot be in my view.

“You simply ignored many of the important aspects of the enforcement notices and completely ignored two prohibition notices – there to ensure the public is not placed at risk.”

Lee Shears, head of protection and organisational performance at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “There should never be lives put at risk in any premises and legislation is there to protect anyone using a venue such as this.

“Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service aims to help and support all businesses to operate safely, however we will take action when owners and managers choose not to treat fire safety as a vital legitimate business requirement.”

Haslington Hall is a Grade One listed building which used to be used as a luxury venue for weddings.

It is built partly in timber framing and is described as being built in 1545.

The building was badly damaged by a fire in April this year.

(Pic courtesy of Lozzark under creative commons licence)

One Comment

  1. Good. How stupid must these people be to ignore multiple enforcement notices.

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