Real Estate

Commercial landlord given 18-month suspended jail term over property fires

A commercial landlord whose building was damaged by two fires has been handed an 18-month suspended prison sentence, it has been reported.

Wayne Braund, 52, owner of the former Strachan and Henshaw building in Foundry Lane, Bristol (pictured), admitted six fire safety breaches including failing to risk assess for possible asbestos violations and not ensuring fire extinguishers were in place.

Bristol Crown Court heard that it was fortunate no one was harmed during the blaze in the tower block, known locally as The Office, on 31st December 2018 when a number of people were living there.

Just six months later, another fire damaged the building causing significant structural damage.

It had housed more than 40 small and independent businesses, while the adjacent Office tower was infamous for its swinger’s club, cannabis factory, and as a Hells Angels’ haunt for bikers.

Criminal threats

Brendon Moorhouse, defending, said Braund’s life and that of his family had been threatened by criminals, triggering arrests and a criminal investigation.

In February 2020, Braund was the victim of an attempted blackmail by a gang of masked men at his Douglas Road Estate residential development in Kingswood.

His business associate and landlord, Alan Dykes, was later violently assaulted at his Bridge Road Industrial Estate in Kingswood. Dykes had owned the building before selling it to Braund for £1 in April 2018.

Asbestos fine

Braund was also given a six-month suspended sentence for failing to ensure a risk assessment to determine asbestos on the premises of a property on Moravian Road in Kingswood where his company Stairs2U was headquartered.

Prosecutor Sam Jones said Ernest Braund, acting for Braund, had sent false documentation to the HSE purporting to show that an asbestos contractor had been engaged when it had not been. 

Braund admitted the breach and was ordered to pay £50,000 in costs along with a £25,000 fine. Stairs2U was also given a £25,000 fine.

Source
Commercial landlord given 18-month suspended jail term over property fires is written by Nigel Lewis for www.landlordzone.co.uk

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