A bed and breakfast (B&B) in north Suffolk will close in October over what the owner has called “obtrusive and excessive” fire safety requirements.

Lesley Henniker-Major has been running Thornham Hall, at Thornham Magna near Eye, as a B&B for many years, but a recent fire safety inspection found a number of deficiencies.

She has hit out what she described as "high-handed bureaucracy" from Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service.

But the fire service said it takes safety "extremely seriously" as it aims to protect members of the public.

The report, following the inspection of the property on May 21, highlighted “no evidence of portable appliance testing”, that “a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment had not been completed”, and said fire exit routes were not clearly marked.

East Anglian Daily Times:

Lady Henniker-Major, a past chairman of Suffolk County Council and former Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate, said such changes would be expensive to implement and called the alterations unreasonable for a small B&B with just three rooms.

She said: “It’s just astonishing that such high-handed bureaucracy can impose conditions that mean I can’t offer Thornham Hall as a B&B anymore.

"I just find it incomprehensible that they expect you to turn a private home into a hotel. I state very clearly in all my publicity that I am not a hotel.

“I don’t want emergency lighting and signs everywhere - it’s a family home.”

The 20th century property, which has been awarded five stars by the AA, is also the family home of the famous Henniker family.

Lady Henniker-Major added: "This was a recent fire inspection that has resulted in the fire authority imposing onerous and expensive recommendations which I feel to be obtrusive and excessive.

"As a result I feel I have no alternative but to close Thornham Hall as a B&B venue."

A spokesperson for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said: “A thorough inspection was carried out on this property which identified a number of issues that required action by the proprietor.

“This inspection was conducted under the requirements and guidance of the Fire Safety Order, which governs fire safety in qualifying buildings in England and Wales.

“Suffolk Fire and Rescue takes this duty extremely seriously and will always offer advice to property owners, and take appropriate action whenever required, to ensure the safety of the public.”