HILLINGDON fire services have raised public safety concerns following recent vandalism and break-ins at a derelict pub.
The Blue Anchor, in Printing House Lane, Hayes, has sat vacant since 2008, and during that time it had been used by street drinkers and squatters as a safe-house.
After years of persistent problems at the site, the council served a notice on the owners in April, under Section 29 of the Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, proposing to carry out works to secure the building in the interest of public safety. The windows and entrances were subsequently boarded up.
The premises, however, have since been subject to further break-ins, the latest being last Tuesday, and Martin Green, fire safety team leader for Hillingdon and Hounslow, said the property was still vulnerable, despite the recent measures.
"There are so many issues surround ing this building in its current state.
"It is a danger to those living nearby, and you dread to think what might happen should a child get inside. Costs for the owners and the local authorities start to multiply as soon as someone gains entry.
"The floorboards have been prised up which poses a danger for anyone setting foot inside, and in the event of a fire, a decision would have to be made as to whether to put firefighters into a building like that - we wouldn't want to put any officer's life at risk if we were unsure there were people trapped.
"It is an environmental hazard, and aside from putting lives at risk, the potential costs faced should the canal become contaminated can run into the tens of thousands.
"The owners could be liable should anyone be hurt as a result of negligence at the property, so it is important that we properly secure the premises and make it safe for the public."
The site is currently on the market at a list price of £700,000, and Mr Green added that it inevitably will become less marketable the longer it remains unoccupied.
"In an ideal world, I would like to see the pub reopen for business, but the longer it stays exposed, the more damaged the building will become and the less desirable it will be for potential buyers. It is really important that we break this vicious cycle.
"Pubs up and down the country are closing their doors every week, and it is often the case that the longer they are left vacant, the more and more run down they get. It is a widespread issue and it takes up a huge amount of resources."
The agent selling the property declined to comment and the owners failed to return our calls.