Blackpool hotel boss put holidaymakers' 'lives at risk'

Wiring problems at The CornhillWiring problems at The Cornhill
Wiring problems at The Cornhill
Customers and staff at a Blackpool hotel were put in serious danger when its owner flouted health and safety rules.

Conditions at the Cornhill Hotel, on the Prom, were so bad many customers walked out within minutes of checking in.

And a fire officer said conditions at the hotel put anyone staying there at risk of suffering serious injury or even death.

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Owner, 46-year-old Alan Diamond, pleaded guilty to two offences under the Health and Safety legislation at Blackpool magistrates court.

The Cornhill HotelThe Cornhill Hotel
The Cornhill Hotel

He admitted failing to ensure the health,safety and welfare of his employees and guests.

Sharon Davies, prosecuting on behalf of Blackpool Council, said Diamond’s seafront hotel will remain closed until inspections by the local authority and fire service are carried out.

The court heard Diamond failed to produce reports that the hotel’s electrical system was safe.

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He also failed to react to a legal notice requiring the hotel to have portable equipment such as kettles properly safety tested.

A broken plug socketA broken plug socket
A broken plug socket

He also failed to manage risks of staff and guests who may have been at risk from Legionnaire’s Disease from the hotel’s water system and did not react to a prohibition notice about asbestos at the hotel. He did not respond to further prohibition notices about unsafe windows which would not prevent people falling from them.

There were further legal notice served on him about having the hotel lift safety checked; having cracked windows replaced and replacing cracked and damaged tiling replaced.

Sue Mugford, defending, said her client had been taken ill at the time of the offences and had brought in a company to run the hotel. She said: “He has taken back control of the hotel and wants to re open. He is currently refurbishing the hotel.”

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The court heard Diamond allowed the hotel to remain open to guests despite the fire and health and safety prohibitions served on him last year.

The former publican and coach driver bought the Cornhill in 2013 and a probation report on him said he had remained open to get money to pay for repairs but he had been ripped off by cowboy tradesmen.

Diamond was placed on a one-year community order and must do 140 hours unpaid work for the community and £761 costs.

Chairman of the bench Jean Adam told him:”You put the public at a very real risk of harm. This is a serious matter.”

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In January, the hotel was stripped of its entertainment and alcohol licence after councillors heard there had been ‘blatant disregard’ shown for public safety.

Management at the Cornhill Hotel continued to take bookings despite being ordered by the fire brigade to close the premises.

A statement by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service fire safety officer Stephen Simm said: “The issues were so serious that I felt the property would put anyone staying on the premises at risk of death or serious injury.”

These included a faulty fire alarm system and inflammable materials near exits.

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A council licensing panel revoked the licence after also hearing the police had received 38 calls to attend incidents at the hotel during 2018.

The infringements came to light after Blackpool Council received a number of complaints from guests who had stayed at the hotel.

Ten improvement notices had been issued by town hall health and safety officers in 2018, but only one had been complied with.

In its decision notice following the hearing, the panel said Mr Diamond “demonstrated a complete disregard for the authorities by continuing to trade and failing to undertake the works.”

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He had also “shown a blatant disregard for the licensing objectives and the authorities attempting to ensure public safety”.

Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “The conditions discovered at the Cornhill Hotel were shocking and completely unacceptable.

“The owner repeatedly failed to respond to a number of prohibition notices and did not rectify staggering health and safety hazards.

“There is no excuse for businesses not to comply with health and safety regulations and put their customers and employees at risk of injury or even worse.

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“Such flagrant disregard for people’s well-being will not be tolerated and we will actively pursue those who think that they are beyond the law.

“Blackpool Council has one of the most robust enforcement teams in the country and our efforts to protect the public and employees from potential harm will always be of the highest priority.”