MEASURES to help make King’s Parade a safer space for people are set to get under way.
Cambridge City Council, the Greater Cambridge Partnership and Cambridgeshire Constabulary are working together to put in place safety measures for the world-renowned street in central Cambridge.
The first phase of these measures will see the installation of a temporary motor vehicle barrier across King’s Parade, just north of the junction with Bene’t Street, close to the Corpus clock.
The temporary barrier will be a three-metre-wide swing gate with pairs of ballasted security barges (large weighted supports) on either side and a gap on the King’s College side for cyclists. Additional barges will be provided on both pathways, in line with security recommendations.
During periods that it is in operation, the barrier will prevent motor vehicles from accessing King’s Parade, although access will remain for pedestrians, cyclists, emergency services and for special events.
It will be closed between 9.30am and 7pm each day and vehicle deliveries to and from premises will need to be made outside of these times or from other loading facilities nearby.
Bollards, waste bins and other street furniture will be relocated where necessary. Additional slowing measures, including narrowing of the road, will be put in place on the Trumpington Street approach to King’s Parade.
The partners will assess how well this temporary barrier works before proposals for a permanent barrier or closure arrangement are developed, if this is felt to be appropriate.
Cambridge City Joint Area Committee (a joint committee of Cambridgeshire County Council and Cambridge City Council) supported the principle of installing a barrier on 5 March of this year.
Since then, the city council has developed the operational detail of the scheme and carried out a survey of businesses to better understand the implications of the barrier for them.
Temporary and Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders to enable the improvements were determined by Cambridgeshire County Council earlier this month and the barrier is set to become operational on 13 January (2020).
The decision to install the temporary barrier follows police advice that recommended steps be taken to protect the large numbers of pedestrians who use King’s Parade throughout the year.
Police forces across the country are offering similar advice to councils about high profile locations, given the continued national UK terror threat level, which is currently substantial.
The city council wrote to King’s Parade businesses, premises owners, Cambridge University and its nearby colleges amongst others in spring, setting out the reasons for the measures, which are expected to start in early January and last for 18 months.
Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge City Council, said: “As most people would agree, Cambridge is a special place, but sadly, in a time when the UK terror threat level is substantial, the benefits of its global profile are not without risks.
“The tragic loss of innocent lives in the London Bridge attacks serves as a further reminder of the need to take appropriate measures to protect people.
“We have recognised this and that is why we sought police advice about King’s Parade, which is our busiest single visitor destination.
“Now that we have received that advice we must act on it in a proportionate way to do all we can to minimise the risks to public safety and help people to move around the city centre as easily as possible.
“We understand that some of the businesses on King’s Parade will feel inconvenienced, but this is a temporary solution and we will continue to discuss the scheme and any potential permanent measures with them.”
Cllr Herbert added: “An added benefit of the temporary barrier will be that city residents and thousands of visitors attracted to King's Parade will have a more relaxed space to wander beside King's College, particularly at busy times.”
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Glasgow, from the eastern region’s Counter Terrorism Policing unit, said: “We regularly review opportunities to increase the protection of our citizens, and this includes increased physical measures to keep the public safe.
“Similar barriers have been installed elsewhere in the country, and temporarily at crowded places, to protect locations and events as an additional safety measure.
“The national threat level has been lowered to substantial, and there is no intelligence to suggest a threat to Cambridge. We continue to urge the public across the eastern region to remain vigilant. If you see or hear something suspicious, trust your instincts and act.
“Please report any suspicious behaviour or activity to police, in confidence via www.gov.uk/ACT or 0800 789 321.”
Disabled car parking space on King’s Parade, for up to 10 cars, will become inaccessible at times the barrier is closed but alternative parking spaces will be created on Trumpington Street. Disabled car parking is also available at the nearby Grand Arcade, where the council’s Shopmobility scheme operates.
The council will continue to monitor the effects of the scheme, including its impact on businesses, blue badge holders and cyclists.
A report on the progress of the temporary arrangement and any plans for a permanent installation will be presented to councillors before any decisions are taken.