RECENTLY Cllr Simpson Laing informed those complaining about not being allowed into the public gallery at the Guildhall that it was due to a condition of the fire certificate, restricting access.

The Fire Precautions Act 1971 and therefore a Fire Certificate applicable to the Guildhall as a place of work was repealed and replaced by The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Lord Prescott as the minister at the time replaced 134 pieces of fire legislation to comply with European Law, the Fire Precautions Act being one of them, as an enabling Act some sections of which were retained, such as Section 10, “The power to restrict or prevent” a premises from being used due to safety concerns.

The Guildhall requires a suitable and adequate risk assessment, placing a duty of care on management and may include guidance on occupancy restrictions. An occupancy factor is available in most fire-related documents such as the current building regulations.

The occupancy is based on floor area and available units of exit width. Ms Laing is therefore wrong in the information she gives.

I would be happy to give her guidance on occupancy calculation, including information on French Firemen and the Great Suprendo who along with 12 of his dwarfs and several wild animals died in a fire but left a legacy of the formula required.

Keith Isaac, Byron Drive, York.