Stanton: Workers found living in offices

ENVIRONMENTAL health officers have served a prohibition notice on bosses of a mushroom factory after it emerged dozens of workers were living in the firm’s offices.

Suffolk Mushrooms opened at the beginning of the year on the site of a former mushroom farm in Stanton. near Bury St Edmunds.

The firm was supported with a �300,000 grant from the East of England Development Agency grant which at the time told how 60 new jobs would be generated.

However, St Edmundsbury Borough Council has now served the company with a prohibition notice after its officers discovered a former office building was being “used to house staff”.

The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the EADT, has been issued under the Housing Act and relates to the office at the mushroom farm in Shepherd Grove Industrial Estate in Stanton.

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The hazards cited in the order include the risk of fire, santitation, food safety, crowding and excess cold.

The order said: “The building is a former office building now used to house staff working at Suffolk Mushrooms Ltd.

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“The building has poor thermal insulation. The former offices are now used as bedrooms. Forty three occupants are accommodated within 10 bedrooms, with occupancy rates varying between one and 12 persons; there is no communal sitting area.

“Forty-three occupants share one shower, two hand basins and three WCs. Two of the WCs are in the shower and not available when the shower is in use.

“There is no fully protected fire escape route in case of fire. There is no fire detection system to the individual rooms in the main building or extensions and fire extinguishers are not maintained.”

When the EADT contacted Suffolk Mushrooms nobody was available for comment.

A spokeswoman for the council said, however, that she understood the workers living in the office were being moved out as required by the order.

The company has until January 31 next year to cease using the site as a dwelling.

It is understood copies of the order have been translated into different languages and placed inside the offices of Suffolk Mushrooms for the workforce to read.

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