WORKERS and volunteers have launched a fight to try to save The Talbot Hotel in Stourbridge as it emerged two of its bosses have been jailed over fire safety failings.

Joao Maia E Silva, aged 46, of Chipping Norton, and Shaun Melson, aged 57, of Brackley, Northamptonshire, have been sent to prison for eight months after admitting failing to comply with fire safety requirements where failure risks death or serious injury.

The offences date back to August 8 and 9, 2018, and court documents state the pair failed to take such general fire precautions to ensure the High Street premises were safe and the failings placed people at risk of death or serious harm in the event of a fire.

Silva, a director of Maia Hotels Limited, admitted to seven charges made against him, while Melson, who is believed to have been acting manager, admitted to five.

New Horizons Hotel Ltd, operator of The Talbot Hotel, was also ordered to pay court costs of £9,000 when sentenced at Wolverhampton Crown Court on April 1.

Meanwhile, a group of people who say they have been living and working or helping out at the hotel in recent weeks have launched a campaign to try to save the Grade II listed landmark venue which dates back to the 1630s.

A petition launched on by Ryan Lloyd states: “The Talbot Hotel is not only one of the oldest buildings in Stourbridge, it is home to a passionate crew of volunteers who are attempting to keep the business open. The staff/residents have been working hard to make improvements and create opportunities for those who struggle in daily life.”

Christopher Watson told the News he has been running the hotel for some weeks but he and his colleagues had been told to leave the premises by today (Tuesday April 12) and he was worried about what would happen to everyone.

He said: “We need help so these people aren’t made homeless.”

Mr Watson, known as Kip, said those affected have been doing their utmost to keep the business running in order to preserve the historic hotel and he added: “We’re desperate to save it. We can make this work if they let us.”

Records on Companies House show Maia Hotels Ltd was dissolved following liquidation last Wednesday (April 6) but New Horizons Hotel Ltd remains listed as a live company. It has not been possible, however, to make contact with the firm or its director Linda Maia E Silva.

West Midlands Fire Service and Dudley Council have been contacted for comment.

Councillor Laura Taylor-Childs, the council’s cabinet member for housing, said she would look into the situation and the authority’s deputy chief executive Balvinder Heran said the council had not been made aware of any application to change the use of the Talbot from a hotel – nor had there been any complaints or referrals about a change of use.

She urged anyone at risk of homelessness to call the homelessness prevention service via Dudley Council Plus on 0300 555 2345.