St Mary's Gate, Arundel

St Mary's Gate, Arundel

Client: St Mary's Gate Inn
Type of works: installation of Q-Grip® slip-resistant York decking and Q-Deck Plus® strength-rated timber balustrade system.

Located high up in Arundel, West Sussex, St Mary's Gate Inn (a Hall & Woodhouse tenancy) is opposite the cathedral and castle. The rear terrace of St Mary's Gate Inn had seen better days and maintenance was presenting an increasing challenge to the tenants Terry and Helen Bedford. 

The existing outdoor areas of the pub were poorly defined, the existing concrete being very uneven; a low-level wall splitting the existing main area proved more of a trip hazard that an attractive feature; and the gravelled areas were messy and difficult to look after.

Q-Grip® York slip-resistant decking was used in all the high footfall areas and walkways to assist sure footing. The use of slip-resistant decking was strongly recommended for this type of application, as the Health and Safety executive advises that owners of decks in commercial situations have a duty to assess any risks to the public before installation.

Tenant Helen Bedford says: “Having experienced timber decking at home we are aware that if not properly maintained it can become slippery in the rain and we cannot risk this in a commercial situation. We realise the timber surface of the slip resistant decking will still need maintaining  but having the in-built rough strips provides us with the reassurance that our guests, who often spill beer, and staff are less likely to slip when using the outside areas”.

The main area was divided into two decks, albeit split level, requiring a short flight of steps and balustrading. Importantly, the steps were also constructed using the same Q-Grip® York slip-resistant decking, which continues as a walkway for guests, between the dining tables, through the centre of the main outdoor area. Either side of the walkway standard Q-Deck® York decking was used. The difference in height between the decks on this site is only roughly 350mm, but customers would congregate in numbers next to it and therefore it was the ideal site to trial the company's new strength-rated timber balustrade system.

The wooden, lattice covered, timber pergola (super privacy Windsor lattice) with its high-level wooden bar offers a new space for clients to stand. It also provides a solution to the smoking ban with a space where guests can stand to drink and smoke a cigarette, comfortably accommodating 6 people. It provides a very pleasant and effective area in which guest can smoke but the tenants note that they are taking a firm line with guests when it comes to the correct disposal of cigarette litter.

Another important feature of this deck project is the inclusion of access for wheelchair users. Previously wheelchair users could only make use of the internal areas of the pub, but with the inclusion of a ramp made from the Q-Grip® Canterbury slip-resistant decking, a previously unused area of the garden has been made available.

“Being able to offer a nice outside deck area for wheelchair users is another huge benefit not only for passing guests but most importantly for those wanting to stay overnight,” says Helen Bedford. “We will actively promote the use of this new outdoor facility to wheelchair users,” she adds.

“We appreciate we will still have to clean the decking periodically and that litter, particularly cigarette butts' will have to be kept on top of, but compared to before the areas will be so much easier to keep clean and looking good. The lack of gravel will minimise the amount of dust being walked into the bedrooms, which was a problem in the past.”

The use of a smooth, slip resistant deckboard was deliberate so that everyday sweeping was easier compared to that of grooved decking, where dirt tends to get trapped.

The deck has increased the profit potential of the pub by maximising the usable outdoor area and bringing redundant space back into use. There has been an increase in the number of outside tables from 7 to 11, providing an increase from 28 covers to potentially 44. Although, “during busy times guest numbers could now be doubled in comfort,” states Terry Bedford.

“The increased space means we can maximise takings on our busy times and look to attract bigger parties of people, whether it be wedding receptions or themed events such as barbecues or music nights. The new outdoor room, as we now call it, has even got us seriously considering an application for a wedding licence” comments Terry Bedford, “and this could contribute significantly to the turnover of the pub”. Helen comments that "the outside areas are transformed, we now have a new room outdoors."

All Q-Deck® products supplied were Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) certified, standard for all Q-Deck® products, and are supplied with a 15 year warranty underwritten by Hoppings' treatment supplier Arch Timber Protection.

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Hoppings Softwood Products

Hoppings Softwood Products

Manufacturers of high quality softwood products, Hoppings Softwood Products are an independently owned softwood timber importer. Hoppings has two branches, one in Epping Essex (HQ) and one in Lingfield Surrey.
Hoppings employs 65 full time...
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