CAMBRIDGE City Council has responded to concerns about the temporary motor vehicle barrier across King’s Parade, just north of the junction with Bene’t Street.
Further work has been completed on barrier signage this week and the barrier is due to become operational from 9.30am on Thursday 16 January, along with additional new security measures at the other end of King’s Parade near Great St Mary’s Church, aimed at making King’s Parade a safer space for people, including in the busy summer tourist season when hundreds walk up and down the road.
The temporary barrier, installed by Cambridge City Council assisted by Greater Cambridge Partnership funding, is made up of a three-metre-wide swing gate with pairs of ballasted security barges (large weighted supports) on either side and a 1.2m gap on the King’s College side for cyclists.
The decision to install the temporary barrier follows detailed 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 very similar advice to councils, particularly in tourist cities including Canterbury, Windsor, York and Edinburgh, about high profile locations, given the continued national UK terror threat level, which remains substantial.
The temporary barrier, which is of an approved standard design recommended by the police, will initially be in place for up to 18 months and was installed at the earliest opportunity following consultation and approvals.
Following the installation of the temporary barrier, the council will monitor its impact and will also develop plans for a more permanent solution. It will consult with local people on the options, taking into account both operational issues and its objective of a security arrangement more consistent with the historic surroundings, as well as taking further security advice.
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.
The barrier will be closed between 9.30am and 7pm each day, to increase the security of the many hundreds of people using King’s Parade, particularly in the summer. Vehicle deliveries to and from premises will need to be made outside of these times or from other loading facilities nearby.
As much space as possible has been left for pedestrians and cyclists and to ensure the pre-made temporary barrier functions effectively. The 1.2m width gap for cycles is limited due to the need to prevent vehicles getting through, but is similar to other barriers in the city centre such as the junction of St Andrew’s Street and Sidney Street, and the barrier will be open to accommodate peak cycling times every morning.
Alternative disabled car parking space has been added on Trumpington Street and at the nearby Grand Arcade (which are free to use for the first three hours), where the council’s Shopmobility scheme operates.
Anyone using the existing disabled or loading bays along King’s Parade overnight after 7pm, or early the next morning, will need to leave by 9.30am the next morning to avoid receiving a parking ticket.
An assessment will be made of how well this temporary barrier works over the next 18 months, during which time proposals for a longer-term solution will be developed and consulted upon.
Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge City Council, said: “The UK terror threat level remains substantial and that is why we have taken police advice on the need for appropriate measures to protect people. Our first obligation is to protect the public and to follow the clear and detailed security advice we have been given. It would be irresponsible of us not to do so.
“Installing the above ground national standard barrier was also unavoidable in the time available. We know that some people, including cyclists, may feel inconvenienced, but this is an essential interim solution while we develop and then consult, and review security advice ahead of potential permanent measures.
“We will work closely with businesses, organisations and colleges on King’s Parade and with city residents to ensure that a long-term solution is something that honours its surroundings and that people in Cambridge can therefore be proud of, and in the meantime do all we can to protect the safety of all who live, work or visit here.”
Anyone who witnesses any suspicious behaviour or activity should report it to police, in confidence via www.gov.uk/ACT or 0800 789 321.