SAFETY and access improvements on King’s Parade are set to be discussed by councillors at the Cambridge Joint Area Committee next Tuesday (5 March).
Cambridge City Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and Cambridgeshire Police are working together to put in place measures that will further improve pedestrian access and public safety on the prestigious, globally renowned part of Cambridge city centre.
The move comes as police forces across the UK offer advice to councils on steps they can take in the face of a continued national UK terror threat level, which is currently severe.
There is no specific threat identified to Cambridge but the partners are taking a cautious approach following a police assessment of King’s Parade, at the request of the city council, following earlier discussions.
Councillors at the committee, comprising of members of the city and county councils, will consider a report that recommends a two phase approach to making King’s Parade, with its high number of visitors, a more pedestrian-friendly area.
Subject to approval by councillors, phase one will trial the installation of a temporary barrier across King’s Parade at the junction with Bene’t Street, by Corpus Christi College clock.
Trialling a temporary barrier will enable the partners to assess its operation before proposals for a permanent safety measure are put out to public consultation as part of the second phase.
There are a number of disabled car parking spaces which will become unusable during the trial period but alternative disabled car parking is available at the nearby Grand Arcade, where the Shopmobilty scheme operates.
During the trial period, the council will monitor use of the Grand Arcade disabled parking to ensure that enough spaces are available. The design of phase two, including alternative locations for disabled parking, will be considered during the trial phase.
Meanwhile, the council is working with Greater Cambridge Partnership and partners on a wider review of the city centre called Making Space for People that includes options for other improvements to the public realm and pedestrianisation.
This will lead to the creation of a new Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) to help guide improvements that put people first when identifying future opportunities to improve public spaces such as King’s Parade, and movement flows into and around the city.
Jason Ablewhite, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire, said: “There is no specific threat to Cambridge at this time and I want to reassure people on that point.
“However, the UK terror threat level remains at severe and police forces around the country are taking steps to review high profile locations with public safety in mind.
“King’s Parade is obviously an internationally recognised location and, just like other similar locations elsewhere in the country, we are looking at what we can do to make the public as safe as we can.”
Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge City Council, said: “King’s Parade is one of the many highlights of Cambridge and is our busiest single destination, attracting visitors in great numbers every year.
“We want people to have the most enjoyable experience possible when they visit the city centre and that includes making it easy to get around and as safe as it can be.
“That’s why we are working with our partners on these improvements which will make for a far more relaxed, safer, vehicle-free experience for people walking along King’s Parade.
“Once the first trial phase is over we will consult on proposals for a permanent solution so that local businesses, residents and others all have the chance to have their say.”
The council is contacting premises owners on King’s Parade, Cambridge University colleges and businesses to inform them of the proposals and to make arrangements for further discussion.