The former owner of a Bayswater hotel has been hit with London’s biggest ever fine for an individual for violating fire safety rules. London Fire Brigade said guests’ lives were put in jeopardy due to the shoddy conditions which were discovered inside The Radnor Hotel during an inspection in 2011. It brought charges against then-owner Salim Patel, who was fined £200,000 this week after a successful prosecution. In addition to the six-figure fine, Mr Patel was ordered to pay nearly £30,000 in court costs after pleading guilty to seven offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. He was also handed a four-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, the London Fire Brigade said.
Fire safety officers were stunned when they toured the six-floor, 18-room hotel, on Inverness Terrace, to carry out a routine inspection. They discovered numerous fire safety breaches, including inadequate fire detection systems, blocked emergency exits and inadequate emergency lighting. Fire doors were missing or tied open with extension cords or string, there was evidence the basement store room was used for sleeping, and the owner had not conducted a fire risk assessment.
Mr Patel was given an enforcement notice, which required him to address the safety concerns to make the hotel safer for guests, but follow-up visits found that no action had been taken, the London Fire Brigade said. The hotel continued to operate without a working fire detection system, so court proceedings were launched against the hotelier. When Mr Patel was sentenced Judge Kennedy said the public expected ‘absolute attention’ to fire safety when occupying sleeping accommodation.
The judge told the court that Mr Patel did not provide that protection and, as a business owner, he was where the ‘buck stopped’, the London Fire Brigade said in a statement.