Councillor Adam Hug, Leader of the Labour Group, has called on the Government Minister responsible for the Health and Safety Executive to review the decision not to take action against the owners of the Carlton Tavern for their irresponsible and reckless demolition of the pub in April.
Justin Tomlinson MP,
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Disabled People,
Department for Work and Pensions,
Dear Justin Tomlinson MP,
I am writing to you as the Minister with responsibility for Health and Safety, regarding the unlawful demolition of the Carlton Tavern in Westminster on 8th April 2015. The pub was partially knocked down without planning permission and with no health and safety measures in place. Demolition of the pub posed a real risk to those in neighbouring properties as well as potentially to those on site and passing by.
Following the incident I wrote to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regarding whether they would be taking action against those who ordered and carried out this dangerous demolition. I was responded to by the Principle Inspector of Health and Safety Sarah Claker. She informed me that following the incident an inspector visited the site and met with Westminster officials together with the contractor and a representative of the Client. The inspector subsequently wrote to both duty holders outlining their responsibilities and served an Improvement Notice requiring provision of welfare facilities on site, which was complied with. However she stated that this would be as far as HSE would be taking the case and it did not propose taking any action against either duty holder. She explained that HSE felt it was doubtful they would be able to obtain sufficient evidence to meet the evidential test of the Code for Crown Prosecutor.
I am very disappointed by the decision of the HSE to not prosecute those responsible for this unlawful and dangerous demolition. There is a wealth of evidence including video footage of the demolition and witness testimony which would be able to categorically prove the dangers caused by the duty holders, and I believe it is irresponsible for HSE to not take action against them.
A prosecution would not only reflect the harm that could have been caused by their actions but also help reduce the risk that these same owners and contractors, as well as others in the area, do the same in future with other pubs and properties. By letting the duty holders get away with their blatant disregard for Health and Safety Laws, HSE are encouraging these actions to happen again.
I would kindly ask that you review the decision taken by the HSE not to prosecute the owners and contractors of the Carlton Tavern and take action as appropriate. I look forward to your response.
Councillor Adam Hug
Leader of the Opposition