London is famed for its rich culture; history and financial centre, so it is no wonder that the world’s wealthiest want to call it home. As well as containing 4 world heritage sites and dozens of internationally recognised landmarks, the city is also home to some of the most exclusive properties in the world. In 2015, a 45-bedroom Hyde Park mansion was sold for a reported £280m, and properties fetching over £50m are becoming a regular occurrence. This buoyant market shows no signs of slowing down, with leading luxury estate agent Savills predicting that property prices in central London could rise a staggering 26% by the end of 2017.
These properties are often a prime target for thieves, and so protecting these valuable assets and their contents has never been more important. Statistics show that the London Borough of Westminster, for example saw 108 residential burglaries in November 2016, an average of over 3 per day. Studies reveal that only 16% of victims get their precious, sometimes sentimental, belongings back. Whilst home insurance covers the financial loss of a robbery, one in four burglary victims said it had affected their mental health and 30% of children suffered nightmares subsequently.
Securing your prestigious London home
There are many security systems available for homeowners to choose from to ensure that their property remains secure at all times. Visible security cameras can act as an excellent detection device and allow the client to review and monitor the property remotely, as well as offering a visual deterrent to crime. However, CCTV systems do not provide any physical protection against an attack on a property. Security shutter systems, however, offer a visual deterrent and act as a physical barrier to opportunists, as well as providing peace of mind for property owners that no other security system offers.
Planning permission for security shutters
Planning permission is an issue that must be investigated. Clients often ask us whether it is needed, and unfortunately, there’s not a simple ‘yes or no’ answer. For example, if the building is listed, or in a conservation area, planning permission for external security shutters must often investigated as it may alter the external appearance of the residence. As there are 56 conservation areas covering 76% of Westminster, this is a frequent challenge our design teams must tackle. Different councils have different rules when it comes to planning permission for security shutters, so it is best to contact a planning consultant or an architect when considering shutter systems. We are also happy to share our experiences with you.
Similarly, many of the Victorian residential properties in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham are subject to planning constraints when it comes to external alterations. SPD Design Policy 28 of the local council’s Planning Guidance Supplementary Planning Document (July 2013) addresses the issue of security shutters. It states that efforts should be made to minimise any impact and that such features should be planned for and accommodated internally.
Aesthetically unobtrusive shutter systems
Although planning permission is almost always required for the fitting of external shutters, this changes when considering installation of internal shutters. Our Equilux shutter range is based on bespoke roller security shutter mechanics, which can be integrated into the fabric of a building at new build or renovation stages. This ensures a totally concealed solution when the shutters are in the raised position, with no visible box or guides, and when lowered, the shutters are both effective and discreet. For optimum aesthetics, shutters can be finished in materials such as timber or colour coated aluminium to complement the property style and local vernacular.
Remote management of security
We appreciate that a lot of our clients may only reside at their London properties on a part-time basis. Bearing this in mind, we have designed our exclusive LockDown technology to ensure that the security shutters are never left in an insecure state. We also offer the facility for the shutters to be controlled via an independent Building Management System (BMS), which is a computer-based central control system that monitors a property’s mechanical and electrical equipment, such as heating, lighting and security systems. This allows for status indication options providing notification to the owner if a shutter has been left open inadvertently. This is can be managed from a single handheld device or even as an app on a smartphone, ensuring that you remain in constant control of your system no matter where you are.
Take a look at our interactive property map of London to see some of the work we have completed. For more advice on how Equilux can help secure your exclusive London property or for help on any questions you may have on planning permission for shutter systems, please download our free guide. Alternatively, you can speak directly to a specialist on 0845 050 8705 or by completing the form below