A pub may sit vacant for a number of reasons. Change of ownership, redevelopment, or – as more recently discovered – a global pandemic. The risk of premises being vacant for any length of time poses substantial threat from dilapidation, squatters and vandalism, amongst other unfavourable consequences.
For landlords, your property is your biggest asset. So, whatever the reason you find your doors closed, and for however long, it’s important that your premises doesn’t become a target for criminal activity in order for it to retain its value.
Securing the Area at the Earliest Opportunity, Even When Temporarily Vacant
Even temporary closures get noticed, offering the attraction of alcohol left on site, in addition to the lure of any cash tills or other stock supplies. Visual deterrents are key in addition to other security measures, as without these a decision to breach security can be taken easily and acted upon quickly resulting in damage and losses.
Calling Last Orders: From Public Houses to Residential Houses
Sadly, it hasn’t been an uncommon sight in the past two years to see one of our beloved local pubs call last orders for good, after feeling the effects of the COVID pandemic.
As well as attracting interest from opportunists, pubs facing permanent closure also attract interest from developers, with some being sold freehold with vacant possession, and a number requiring the existing lease to come to an end in order for redevelopment to be possible. In situations like this, planning can often take circa three months for consent. Other delays might include securing mortgages or private finance, meaning an extended period of time with the property left empty.
Whether facing temporary or permanent closure, hoarding offers a robust choice for securing the perimeter of a site and is a significant visual deterrent, ensuring that only authorised individuals can gain easy access to a site, and putting off most from trying. It is also easily and rapidly deployable.
Hoarding Key Considerations
The most appropriate hoarding system for your site will depend on several factors:
- The duration required – short or long term
- The amount of re-use required – do you have future uses for the same hoarding system in mind?
- The site’s environmental conditions – is the site likely to be excessively wet, exposed to strong winds or extreme weather?
- Signage requirements, including branding and information for the local community and safety signage if the site is under development
- And finally, the location and access routes of the site
Rising to a Challenge
Access routes and neighbouring buildings are some of the aspects which can present challenges. SafeSite Facilities worked around such challenges when contracted to secure The Wheatsheaf Pub in Worthing for the developer, Lomax Investments. This early 19th century premises, which had lain empty for some years and had become dilapidated, had been sold for development. Upon completion of the development finance facility for the construction, the developer immediately procured timber hoarding to secure the site perimeter. This professional-looking hoarding allows the developer to utilise their brand graphics as well as display any safety signage for by-passers.
Access to this site was severely limited due to the proximity of the neighbouring buildings on Richmond Road, a public library to one side and Worthing Council offices to the other. The narrow footprint available with the footpaths adjacent had to be carefully considered, to allow the required rights of way at this location.
The 2.4m high dug-in timber hoarding used was chosen primarily for site security, but also as it blends so easily with the surroundings. As the redevelopment project progresses, and the works proceed to demolition stage, no debris can escape the hoarding, making it safe as well as secure.
SafeSite Facilities used their extensive experience to supply a bi-fold gate to work within regulations for gated access.
The development of The Wheatsheaf Pub site is ongoing and SafeSite Facilities’ hoarding is due to remain in place during the forthcoming phases. Greig McGarva of SafeSite Facilities comments: “We were aware of the importance of being responsive in an urgent situation. We rose to the challenge and are pleased to be a part of the risk prevention in this project.”
If you have a site you’re looking to protect, the SafeSite Facilities team is happy to share their expertise. Visit www.safesitefacilities.co.uk for more information.