Preston to get permanent new anti-terrorist safety features from next week

An artist's impression of the new anti-terrorist safety measures in Preston city centre
An artist's impression of the new anti-terrorist safety measures in Preston city centre
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Permanent new anti-terrorist safety features will be installed in Preston city centre's main shopping area next week.

Granite blocks - which people can also sit on - will be placed by Lancashire County Council at key positions along Fishergate and Church Street, from the Minster to the junction with Corporation Street.

The work will start from Monday.

The county council plans have been agreed following discussions with Lancashire Police to reduce the risk of a serious incident.

This will reduce the space for vehicles to mount the pavement, similar to measures used elsewhere in the UK and other countries to deter terrorist incidents.

However this is not in response to any specific threat.

The measures will complement and enhance the ongoing security programme in the city.

These new features will replace the large wooden planters, which were put in as a temporary measure while permanent options were agreed.

Reflective sections on the blocks will help their visibility.

The temporary planters were installed before Christmas 2017, while permanent plans were put in place.

The planters will be offered to local communities around the county, to brighten up local areas.

The blocks have been designed by a specialist company to reduce vehicle access onto the pavement along Fishergate and Church Street, while matching in with the overall street design and integrating with existing security features.

Measures will also be added outside the Guild Hall, as part of other improvement work.

Similar safety measures have been put in place in the UK and elsewhere in the world, to deter terrorist incidents.

Organisations representing people with visual impairments have been made aware of these proposals.

Lancashire Police and Preston City Council have been consulted as part of developing the plans.

County councillor Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "Thousands of people come into Preston every day and we have a responsibility to make sure that they can have a safe and enjoyable experience.

"We've taken the time to come up with the design of these safety measures, which places these measures at specific points along the pavement to reduce the chance of an incident involving a vehicle taking place.

"We're bringing in these safety measures based on discussions with the police, but it's important for people to know that this not due to any specific threat. We're replacing our planters, which were always temporary.

"It's important that any measures are proportionate, and that we can still carry on with our normal daily lives."

Chief inspector Steve Sansbury, from Lancashire Police, who is responsible for local policing in Preston, said: “Whilst these enhanced safety measures are not in response to any specific threat towards our communities in Preston, it is only right and proper that local agencies continually work together to review the measures that are in place, and where appropriate take sensible steps to ensure that the public utilising the city centre, for both business and pleasure, are as safe as possible.”

Councillor Robert Boswell, cabinet member for environment at Preston City Council, said: “The public realm improvements to Fishergate and Church Street over recent years have vastly enhanced the environment for visitors to Preston.

“They will further improve pedestrian safety for those enjoying the shopping offer and night time economy, or for those just passing through the area.

"I am pleased that the materials to be used will be sympathetic to those used previously and that a balanced and proportionate approach is being taken to where the new features will be installed.”