AHEED SULTAN was set to be sentenced later this year over a ‘string of fire safety flouts’ at the Plaza Beach Hotel in Blackpool.

Blackpool Gazette reported on the prosecution of Mr Sultan, who is the landlord of the hotel – formerly known as the Silver Beach Hotel – with the case begun by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Authority after the site was inspected following a raid by the Gangmaster and Illegal Labour Agency. On the day of the inspection, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service found a family trying to check into the hotel as the fire and rescue service ‘were considering closing it’.

A series of fire safety breaches were identified including ‘allowing fire doors to be wedged open’; a failure to provide ‘adequate alarms and detectors’; a failure to maintain ‘adequate’ fire separation between the basement and ground floor; a failure to make a ‘suitable and sufficient’ fire risk assessment; a failure to remove combustible materials from a means of escape; and a failure to provide ‘adequate fire doors with self-closers on strips and seals on escape routes’.

In turn, the hotel did not have emergency exits provided ‘with emergency lighting of adequate intensity’, while fire alarm and exit door lighting had not been maintained. There were also locks on the rear basement door and front basement emergency doors, meaning they could not ‘be easily and immediately opened’.

Mr Sultan is now suffering from dementia, and is ‘not fit to attend court’, with prosecutor Joe Hart stating that the landlord had admitted the 10 fire safety breaches discovered, including ‘failing to maintain adequate general fire precautions which placed people at risk of death of serious injury in a fire’, and ‘failing to make arrangement for the planning, organisation [and] control of fire safety measures’.

The landlord had run three hotels in Blackpool for a number of years, with Judge Philip Parry stating he had seen a report on Mr Sultan’s decline and would be sentencing him ‘in his absence’ on 13 May.