Punch Taverns has been landed with a bill of more than £27,000 after one of its London pubs fell foul of fire safety legislation.
The London Fire Brigade found "serious" breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 at the Milestone pub in Mile End, east London in 2008, including no emergency plan, a lack of fire-fighting equipment and no fire risk assessment.
The tenant was issued with an enforcement notice to fix the problems but the work was not complete when officers returned on 14 November. The tenant has since left the pub, leaving Punch with the bill.
The company was fined £8,500 and ordered to pay more than £18,500 in costs in what was thought to be its first ever breach of the regulations.
A spokesperson for the company said: "Punch Taverns has an excellent safety record across its estate and remains committed to ensuring that all of our pub businesses are safe and fully compliant.
"Our BIIBAS-accredited Code of Practice clearly outlines our commitments and we play an active role in ensuring that our licensees understand their own obligations regarding operating safe, legal and compliant businesses.
"Punch Taverns were only fined a total of £8,500 for these offences which arose in 2008 and the judge commented on Punch's excellent safety record and highlighted that the company's current compliance systems are ‘impressive'. It is regrettable on this occasion that the fire safety works, which our partner had previously agreed to undertake but failed to deliver, meant that the works which were already in progress, missed the deadline for completion of works by just two days."
By Neil Gerrard
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