As well as the Green initiative discussed in part 1, the aim of the project was also to utilise local, regional and UK companies, the propriety solar equipment was procured from within the UK, then a regional specialist company contracted for the turnkey installation, from solid floors, fitting of all piping, electrics and solar panel through to commissioning, with local builders and suppliers supporting the rest of the project. “Using local supply chain is very important to us” advises Yeti “with circa. £150,000 being spent on the refurbishment, it helps to fuel the local economy – every bit helps. Quality is key to ensure longevity of the refurbishment."
Yeti admits to have made mistakes early in the project due to the need to get the new roof on before winter set in, we started using contractors without checking their previous work – this was not a good methodology and put us back a bit, whilst we changed contractors. Yeti advises it’s so important to get the right people on the job and behind the project from the off, we should have spent more time vetting contractors from the off, as the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the false sweetness of a promised good job, which never materialises. You unfortunately need to constantly insist to contractors that quality is not an optional extra, its a pre-requisite – you’ll only get the level of quality that you demand advised Yeti. Early in the project corners were blatantly being cut, by contractors without any recognition or recourse of such, when this happens the best solution is to change your contractor. We now have some professional builders with checked successful track records and accreditations to complete the rest of the refurbishment from roof and rotten trusses to floors, doors and wiring. In addition, we are looking at using different type of solar panels (Solar Photovoltaic) to harness solar gains to convert into electrical energy and maybe even a wind powered generator, if planning would be granted. This natural energy can be harnessed to power The Hogfathers electricity needs – not cost effective commercially as such, as the capital outlay is significant and investment may never get returned, but to harness the planets natural abundant green resources make it all worthwhile Frank Taylor The Hogfathers Operations Manager commented.
In fact if you look at the project as a whole, as The Old Church had not been maintained for many years, everything there was either so dilapidated or bodged, the best method was to completely gut the interior and strip the outside and refurbish around the brick shell – which was the buildings only real redeeming feature. Yeti added “I doubt that we would have taken on such a venture with out the backing of Sefton Planning; specifically Phil Hardwicke who was from the outset, particularly supportive as we were turning the Church ruins into an asset for the area. Yeti’s thanks also goes to Eddy Taylor and Julie McManus from Sefton Urban Regeneration and a big thanks to Colin Hickey of Sefton Investment, who has worked tirelessly with The Hogfather staff." Yeti adds, "We’ll not only provide additional employment for local people, but also extend the potential to increase The Hogfathers present client base that visit from within and outside the North West, we’ve also regular motorcyclists from around Europe along with other tourist who were in the area from as far away as America, Canada, New Zealand and Australia popping in to purchase The Hogfathers own branded casual and biker clothing, in addition to sales around the world via website ecommerce." On that note, Frank commented, he’d also like to thank Pat and his staff at The George public house, across the road from The Old Church for refuelling his staff and builders energy with their wonderful home cooked food and of course the odd after work refreshments, whist we debriefed with our builders. We are also discussing a range of Motorcycle events through the year with Pat, with the aim to raise the profile of The George, which although is already a key meeting point for a number of motorcyclists, has potential to supports travellers needs as they visit The Hogfather, added Frank.