The property management company FirstPort was fined £360,000 today over the fatal fire at Gibson Court on September 30 2011.
The full sentence is not available at this time.
The following statement has been provided to Campaign against Retirement Leasehold Exploitation/ LKP by FirstPort chief executive Nigel Howell.
“We are sincerely sorry for and deeply regret the fire in Gibson Court in 2011 that had the most tragic of consequences. Our thoughts remain with the family of Mrs. Cockerton through what must have been a very difficult time. Now that the case is concluded, I will be writing to them personally.
“As a company, we have co-operated fully with the investigations, accepted our responsibility and entered guilty pleas.
“We would like to reassure all our residents and their families that FirstPort Retirement is a very different company compared to six years ago.
“We have new owners, a completely new management team and, as the judge has acknowledged, a much-improved approach to safety including policies, procedures and training.
“Again we are sorry for the fire, have applied the lessons, and safety is our number 1 priority.”
Background Information from FirstPort:
The incident took place at a Peverel managed independent retirement living development at Gibson Court, in Woking, Surrey during September of 2011. At the time the company was being run by Bank appointed Administrators following the global financial crisis.
Whilst the legal entity still exists and is being sentenced today, FirstPort Retirement Property Services is a considerably improved company with new owners, a completely new management team who have a dedicated and focussed new approach to health and safety.
This was an isolated incident and whilst today’s management are unable to speak of the detail from the events of almost six years ago, it can assure customers and their relatives that Strong Health & Safety is FirstPort’s number one priority. The company now has a culture driven by its leadership team of keeping people who interact with FirstPort safe. Significant changes have been made in the way in which the company operates health and safety policies, processes and standards.
I would like to pay tribute for the dignified manner the grieving family of Irene Cockerton have conducted themselves over such a stressful period.
In their defence Firstport draw attention to the fact that the fire occurred under a previous management .
Would I be correct that much of this previous management is now in charge of Freemont Property Managers(currently associate members of ARMA?)
Firstport refer to new management. The inquest was critical of Cirrus/Careline.(Appello)
Are any senior managers at the time of the fire still involved with Appello?
Reference is made of the fact that the group was under bank appointed administration at the time of the fire.
Was it not Keith Edgar (now a director of Freemont Property Managers) who said “The administration will have no effect on residents?
According to Nigel Howell “safety is our No 1 priority”
Can Mr Howell confirm that priority comes above debt repayment?
Though fined 360,000 pounds it would be of great interest to know the costs order and to know if any procedural changes have been ordered?
Will Mr Howell confirm that the fine will be met entirely from Firstport funds, that management fees won’t suddenly increase or that there will be a sudden rush on roof repairs?
Was it the new or old management team that sought to cast blame on the Surrey Fire Brigade officers for Irene Cockerton’s death at the inquest?
Since when did leopards change their spots?
Here is a post I have copied from the “About Peverel” site 12th April. Such a sad story. Shameful.
“The aftermath Gibson Court”
So I suppose we have some sort of closure regarding Gibson Court. Our thoughts are with Irene’s family at this time, but I would add this comment. My mother was led out of the blaze by firemen at around midnight, aged 95, on that fateful night. She never really recovered from the trauma, and certainly could not face returning there in late 2013. She died last year after 5 years in two different care homes, without her friends and even denied a glass of sherry twice a day – house rules. The costs were extortionate, in excess of £4000 per month. We remember well how Peverel did not wait for the refurbishment paint to dry before slamming my mother with service charges. When we tried to rent out her apartment (plenty of competition from the other flats at Gibson Court) E&M entered the arena and demanded £2500 plus additional ‘admin’ fees. They told us that if we changed our tenant, there would be the same charges again. On finally selling my mother’s apartment, in came E&M again to demand exit fees. What a way to treat the elderly!
(I have left the original posters name off, TrevorB)
I well remember “Keith’s Blogs” written By Keith Edgar on behalf of Peverel.
More especially I cannot forget his New Year’s article on how he “Had spent a very happy Christmas with his family.”
This was a matter of weeks after the fire at Gibson Court which claimed the life of Irene Cockerton, who had put her trust in Peverel to keep her safe.
Not a mention was made by Mr Edgar about a family left devastated by the preventable death of a loved one. Nor a seconds thought for those without a home that Christmas?
For that Mr Edgar has my utter contempt and revulsion..