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Lowestoft premises must obey regulations

PUBLISHED: 15:57 19 April 2008 | UPDATED: 20:11 05 July 2010

MORE than 20 premises in Suffolk have been issued with enforcement notices so far this year to force them to obey tougher fire safety controls.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service is carrying out inspections throughout the county to enforce the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

MORE than 20 premises in Suffolk have been issued with enforcement notices so far this year to force them to obey tougher fire safety controls.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service is carrying out inspections throughout the county to enforce the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

In the first four months of the year, a string of pubs, hotels, restaurants, take-away premises and shops have been issued with enforcement notices.

They include buildings in Lowestoft, Bury St Edmunds, Leiston, Ipswich, Mildenhall, Felixstowe, Woodbridge, Dunwich and Aldeburgh.

The seriousness of the offences varies considerably and owners can appeal against the legal notices. Failure to remedy the deficiencies highlighted by fire safety inspectors can result in court action.

The new powers came into force in October 2006 and last year there were 56 enforcement notices issued.

Kevin Burton, senior fire safety officer at Suffolk Fire Service, said: “When you stay at a B&B or a hotel you are putting the life and safety of yourself and your family in someone else's hands.

“Our inspecting officers are front line firefighters and have all experienced the horrors of fire and its consequences. In this matter we will not discuss the individual case but I can say we have provided a large amount of help and support to ensure that Mr Brereton can meet the fire safety standards, required by law, to ensure that his guests have an enjoyable and safe stay when they come to Suffolk.”

The Bed and Breakfast Association has warned that different councils and fire services have different interpretations about the new laws. It said that many owners are finding the financial cost of complying with the laws is disproportionate to their turnover and income; the changes required would compromise the building's character and in some cases the precautions required are designed for large commercial premises.

“As a consequence, many B&Bs are closing or contemplating closure rather than complying,” it said.

“Any wave of B&B closures would have an extremely negative effect on tourism.”

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