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Fire safety checks at all Brussels venues after damning Cirque Royal report

11:28 12/09/2017

Brussels mayor Philippe Close has ordered an inspection of all theatres and concert halls in the city centre after a damning report into fire safety at the Cirque Royal.

Mohamed Ouriaghli, the city alderman in charge of public properties, told a Brussels city council meeting that the concert venue was in a dangerous state - and accused the Botanique not-for-profit association, which lost the concession to run the venue on 30 June, of poor upkeep of the building.

A report by building inspectors Vinçotte, handed to Brussels-City council last week, says a series of urgent adaptations are needed to make the venue conform with fire safety regulations.

The report lists a range of problems, including incomplete fire partitioning walls, an absence of fire doors, inaccessible exits, incorrect signposting of evacuation routes, smoke extractors that do not meet safety norms and a lack of maintenance or periodic inspection of gas installations, ventilation and fire protection equipment.

The city has set aside €3.6 million for the necessary works, which will be recouped over time with a levy on ticket prices.

Brussels-City council has been in a long-running dispute with Botanique over the management of the Cirque Royal. The city's decision to award the management contract to Brussels Expo was blocked by the Council of State in August after Botanique and Antwerp's Sportpaleis complained of a conflict of interest.