The fire service has issued a warning to businesses across Brighton and Hove and East Sussex about their responsibilities after a winning a court case.
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service prosecuted shopping centre owner Genus UK after it failed to respond to a request for information.
Genus UK, which is based in London and owns the Arndale Centre in Eastbourne, was fined £650 and ordered to pay costs of £2,100 by Eastbourne magistrates yesterday (Tuesday 28 August).
After the case the fire service said: “Business owners across East Sussex are being advised to pay attention to their legal obligations to ensure that their premises are safe from fire and in particular to ensure that they fully co-operate with enforcement officers.”
Genus UK admitted breaking fire safety law.
After a complaint about fire safety issues, a fire safety inspector visited the premises and identified a number of possible breaches of fire legislation.
The fire service then made a formal request asking Genus UK to provide information on how it was complying with specific areas of fire legislation.
Genus UK failed to comply with the request and in doing so committed a criminal offence.
Richard Fowler, the fire service’s head of protection, said: “East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service would like to take this opportunity to remind all owners and occupiers of buildings of their legal responsibility to protect their occupiers and any staff against the risk of fire.
“The public should continue to be reassured that we take any breaches of fire safety very seriously and especially so the duty to provide information when requested, as this is fundamental to enabling inspectors to carry out their statutory functions.
“It is disappointing that Genus UK Ltd failed in their duty to provide information as requested, as this failure has frustrated us in carrying out our duties and has also incurred extra time and effort that we could have used elsewhere.”
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