A hotel in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, has had its licence temporarily suspended following allegations of child sexual exploitation and under-age drinking.
Drug use, under-age drinking, health and hygiene problems and abuse of fire regulations have also been reported at the 50-bedroom Clayton Lodge hotel, previously known as the Great National hotel.
A report compiled Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, in conjunction with Staffordshire Police and Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service, has resulted in the council's licensing sub-committee taking the decision to suspend the hotel's licence for three months.
Police, who had earlier been called to the hotel to investigate four cases of child sexual exploitation, found staff were "generally young, unprofessional and poorly trained" and had allowed older men to check in with young girls without being challenged.
Numerous criminal incidents, including a fight involving 50 young people attending an 18th birthday party, between April 2016 and January 2017, resulted in further calls to the police.
Meanwhile, visits from the fire service in November and December 2016 recorded a number of serious breaches, including missing fire extinguishers, fire alarm faults, a lack of fire doors and furniture stored in a fire escape.
The council's environmental health officers also discovered numerous breaches of health and hygiene standards including a "filthy" kitchen, "generally poor" standards in rooms, faulty wiring, untested electrical equipment, and unhygienic food handling.
The council has ordered that the hotel's premises licence be modified to include the following conditions:
• The replacement of the premises supervisor who was considered to not be "a fit and proper person".
• The repair of the hotel's CCTV system.
• All-inclusive party nights or events containing irresponsible drinks promotions to be banned.
• All staff to be trained on how to handle incidents of child sexual exploitation.
• The reception area to be staffed at all times, particularly during the evening.
• All gaming machines to be banned.
• All recommendations raised by the fire authority to be addressed.
• Details of hotel guests, including names, addresses and ages, to be logged and supplied on request to the police or local authority for intelligence and/or investigation of any criminal offence.
Lobna Hossni told The Caterer that she had been appointed to manage the hotel in April to improve standards. "The suspension of the property's licence was justified. A number of staff who were previously at the hotel have left and we are now in the process of ensuring that the hotel will have complied with the council's order by the end of the three month period.
"Training of all the staff is now underway and the necessary paperwork is being put in place."
Clayton Lodge is leased to Nul Stoke Ltd and operated by BHG Trading Ltd.
Zaman Zishan, operations director of BHG Trading said that that the company is looking to bring Clayton Lodge "back to standards and possibly franchise the hotel with a brand".
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