WISBECH: Rose and Crown hoteliers slammed for having 'little or no regard' for public safety

Story by: TOM JACKSON HOTELIERS Jonathan Davies and Jacqueline Noot were slammed for having little or no regard for public safety at the historic Rose and Crown Hotel, at a review of the premises licence. Councillor Michael Humphrey, chairman of the th


HOTELIERS Jonathan Davies and Jacqueline Noot were slammed for having "little or no regard" for public safety at the historic Rose and Crown Hotel, at a review of the premises' licence.

Councillor Michael Humphrey, chairman of the three-man panel, said following the six-hour hearing at Exchange Tower, Wisbech: "Our concern is that Mr Davies and Miss Noot are driven by financial return with little or no regard to public safety and the prevention of crime and disorder."

The review came after a prohibition notice was served by the fire service, because of insufficient fire exits from the Trumpet Hall.

The conditions added to the premises licence included:

• The opening device fitted to the double 'fire exit' doors in the Trumpet Hall must be repaired.

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• A programme launched to replace some of the doors inside the hotel that do not meet fire resistance standards.

• A sufficient number of stewards on-site to implement any emergency evacuation of the hotel.

• No drinks served to customers at Tidnams Tipple Inn in glass containers, unless they are at a private function.

• No customers to be admitted or readmitted after 12.30am into Tidnams.

• Licensed activities at Tidnams allowed from 10am-2am.

• Comprehensive CCTV installed on-site.

• At least two security guards on each entrance to the hotel for functions after midnight.

The Tidnams Tipple Inn is part of the hotel complex, and the Trumpet Hall is the largest of the hotel's function rooms.

After the decision, Mr Davies said: "I wish I did have a financial motive, especially in this deprived town financial gain is hard to find.

"I'm disappointed, but it's what I expected."

Andy Dunlop, fire safety manager for the fire service, had described Mr Davies and Miss Noot's leadership as a "catalogue of failure", when ensuring fire precautions were adhered to.

He said: "Despite repeated deficiencies, enforcement and latterly the issue of a prohibition notice the management still fail to display a regard for the safety of the public that they invite into or charge to enter the premises."

Wisbech Sergeant Rachel Patterson highlighted anti-social behaviour problems at the hotel, with eight violent incidents in the last 22 months.

Inspector Robin Sissons also highlighted a rise in violent incidents since the launch of Passion nights in October.

In response to the claims, Mr Davies said the fire service quoted standards from the 2006 Building Regulations, and failed to supply information applicable to heritage buildings such as the 400-year-old Rose and Crown.

He said: "The change in legislation meant I am now responsible for fire safety standards, but it is a nonsense that the standards applied through the old fire certificates have been completely ditched.

"Clearly the change of responsibility from the fire service to us has not materially altered the safety of a building that has not had a fire in 400 years, and a hall that has not had a fire in 100 years."

Mr Davies also said Passion nights are unlikely to continue after Christmas.

In summing up, Cllr Humphrey added there were "inadequate attempts" by Mr Davies and Miss Noot to recognise the responsibilities that they are charged with as premises licence holders.

He said: "Several attempts have been made by Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, Cambridgeshire Constabulary and the Licensing Authority to provide advice and support to Mr Davies and Miss Noot to address the issues of concern, all of which have been met with contempt and an unwillingness to fully cooperate.

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