Anti-terrorism bollards that have angered traders and disabled residents in York will now be replaced following an immense backlash.
The bollards, known as “hostile vehicle mitigation barriers”, were put up across the city on November 8 and 9 to protect visitors and traders during the busy festive season and St Nicholas’ Fair which starts on November 18.
However, Shambles traders have called the measures “inconsiderate” and “unfair” as it leaves delivery and emergency vehicles unable to get through.
Following the outcry, Make It York, City of York Council and the police reviewed the safety measures and agreed to change them.
An alternative temporary arrangement which will fit across the Shambles’ junction with Pavement and will be put in place.
The current temporary measures will be replaced with a different layout which will improve access for wheelchair users, allow pallet deliveries using an electric trolley system, as well as increase pedestrian flow.
In the longer term the permanent measures, set to be discussed by senior councillors later next week, will provide a better solution, which will respond to the security advice, without impacting on the city’s unique characteristics.
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Ashley Young, Senior Marketing & Communications Manager at Make It York, said: “Following on from the installation of protective security barriers in the Shambles earlier this week, Make It York and City of York Council have reviewed these measures, working closely with Counter Terrorism Advisors from the police and the National Barrier Asset Team.
“The police have confirmed that these measures are necessary to protect the Christmas Markets, residents and visitors in the city at Christmas, however we’re pleased to have reached a workable solution to swap the current measures for a different layout that will improve access for wheelchair users, allow pallet deliveries, and increase pedestrian flows through this location.”
Cllr Andy D’Agorne, Executive Member for Transport said the revised measures will be installed as soon as contractors finish their work at COP26 in Glasgow.
“Particularly during this busy holiday season, it’s the Council’s duty to protect the city and the many residents and visitors who will come to enjoy all that York has to offer,” he said.
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“Permanent safety measures, due to be discussed by the executive soon, will see the busiest parts of our city protected with less intrusive and more attractive counter-terrorism barriers. However, until these are in place we must do all that’s necessary to protect residents and visitors.”
Make It York has written to all affected businesses and will be helping them to facilitate deliveries through the new barriers.
All other barriers across the city will be staffed for emergency access throughout the Christmas market.
Permanent measures developed with Counter Terrorism and police advisers will resolve many of these issues and look so much better than the necessary but ugly temporary arrangements.
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