Balcony collapse firm hit with £50k fine

The collapsed balconly at flats in Newby Place, Mereside, Blackpool.
The collapsed balconly at flats in Newby Place, Mereside, Blackpool.
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A Blackpool company has been fined £50,000 after a terrifying balcony collapse which left residents trapped inside a block of flats.

A court was told how one man had to literally jump “to save his life” following the collapse in May 2012 - and a judge said it was “remarkable” that no one had been killed.

Blackpool Coastal Housing Ltd, of Abingdon Street - set up by Blackpool Council - had been committed to Preston Crown Court for sentencing for failing to carry out maintenance on some of the properties on Newby Place and Clifton Street, in the resort.

Judge Stuart Baker described it as an “accident waiting to happen” and the court heard that over a five year period Blackpool Coastal Housing had received numerous warnings that there was a risk.

Kevin McLoughlin, defending, said the company was mortified, dismayed and angered by the turn of events.

The company accepted it had made mistakes. One person had been dismissed and another resigned.

The not-for-profit company, set up in 2007, took over responsibility for more than 5,000 properties.

Passing sentence, Judge Baker said: “It is indeed remarkable, it is extremely fortunate this incident did not result in death or serious injury.

“The state of affairs could properly be described as an accident waiting to happen. It is one which could have been foreseen and should have been prevented.”

He added there had been a failure by two senior personnel - a director and a manager - to co-operate fully with the investigation by disclosing all relevant material at the appropriate time.

BCH was fined £50,000 with added costs of £27,821.25.

See The Gazette on Saturday for the full story - including reaction from residents who were in the flats at the time.