When pubs close, they rapidly change from being an asset to a liability warns void property specialist Secure Site UK . Many locations, whether remote rural premises or older town centre sites, will have some open space for parking cars that become attractive places for caravans overnight.
As if that was not sufficient incentive, the buildings themselves are potential sources of rich pickings for scrap and metal of all descriptions: lead piping in very old public houses, galvanised header tanks, lead flashing on roofs, copper pipework, old cast iron radiators and other heating equipment can all be traded for ready cash. Not to mention architectural features for which buyers can be found one way or another.
The risks to public house property are such that owners need to be sure that they are complying with insurers’ increasingly complex requirements for empty pubs and similar premises, warns Secure Site UK.
Secure Site UK offers a one-stop shop service that helps managing agents and brewers to ensure compliance. Many former pubs are large, rambling buildings: landlords will need to do more than just change the locks to secure the premises. All the pipework will need to be drained down in case of freezing weather, not just protect against intruders looking for ‘scrap’ piping.
Other prudent precautions would be removing anything that might burn, which would include wooden shuttering used to board up buildings. Secure Site UK recommends the fitting of steel window screens and doors on the grounds that these cannot be removed without specialist tools. These are a clear indication to would-be intruders that there is a professional approach to the management of the property, which suggests that there will probably be other obstacles to overcome, such as a battery-powered alarm system.
The casual vandal will very soon turn his attention elsewhere if it is clear that there is a credible risk of being caught or it is clear that gaining access will be a serious challenge. After all, more than 7,000 pubs have closed their doors since 2005 and pub closures are running at around 16 a week across the country. If a villain has a choice between a properly-secured premises and a site that offers a flaw in its security, it is clear which property will be compromised first.
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