The Mad House scare event at Westgate Pavilion has been cancelled after the building was suddenly shut down with the serving of a prohibition notice, says marketing manager Lee Williams.
The award-winning event was due to have its launch night tonight (October 25) but the notice is understood to have been served by Kent Fire and Rescue this afternoon. A health and safety notice was also given by a Thanet council inspector.
Mr Williams, who created The Mad House with his family, wife Sonia and kids Charlotte, Jemma and Paige, in 2016 and received a ScareCON award for the attraction, says he is unclear on what grounds the prohibition has been served or what the process is for dealing with it.
He added: “Three days ago I was told there had to be an urgent risk assessment after a complaint and today six or seven people turned up and have shut us down.
“I don’t know why, we had the fire officer in at the end of last year and there were no problems.
“We were due to have the launch night tonight but are now having to tell people it is off and refund the tickets.
“We won an award, made a lot of noise for Margate with the maze and the carnival but now this has shut us down.”
Mr Williams, who is the tenant, said there is a dispute currently ongoing with the new Westgate Pavilion owner – The Westgate Pavilion Local Project – which bought the site from Thanet District Council in June.
Westgate Pavilion Local Project chairman Nicholas Martine said he was unaware a notice had been served although he said concerns had been raised following a surveyor’s report of the building.
A spokesperson for Kent Fire and Rescue Service confirmed a notice had been served due to concerns over the maze construction.
They added: “Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) fire safety officers visited the Westgate Pavilion Scare Maze on 25 October, accompanied by representatives from Thanet District Council, to carry out a fire safety audit. A number of concerns came to light concerning the construction of the maze and use of potentially hazardous or flammable materials. Officers were required to serve a restriction notice on the premises for the following findings:
- Inadequate means of detection and means of giving warning to safeguard relevant persons in the event of fire.
- Inadequate emergency routes and exits to safeguard relevant persons in the event of fire.
“KFRS has a statutory duty to help keep business premises safe and to ensure the safety of our communities. KFRS is also committed, where possible, to helping to keep businesses trading safely. Fire safety officers will continue to work with the responsible persons for this premises and have presented guidance and advice on what measures can be taken to have the notice removed and the business up and running again.”
The Isle of Thanet News has contacted Thanet council for more details.