The new anti-terror protection measures being installed in Preston city centre risk meeting the same fate as the infamous “Fishergate bollard”, according to taxi drivers.
Work is being carried out to position the small cube-shaped features along some of the city’s main shopping streets. They are not in response to any specific terror threat, but are designed to deter the kind of vehicle-based attacks on pedestrians witnessed elsewhere in the world.
However, Preston’s taxi drivers are warning that the blocks could prove a problem for those trying to negotiate the city - whether on four wheels or two legs.
“They’re only a foot and a half high and you can’t see them properly from inside a vehicle,” said Pete Tyson, treasurer of the Preston Hackney Carriage Association.
“I’ve already seen a car clip one of them and it really damaged the front wheel. Delivery vehicles parking in between them just won’t be able to spot them in their rear view mirror.
“I’ve even seen people tripping over them - especially when they might be a bit worse for wear late at night.
“They are going to be the Fishergate bollard mark two,” he added, referring to the infamous junction marker at the top of Corporation Street which was regularly flattened by errant drivers - and even spawned its own Twitter account.
The cubes have replaced the more sizeable planters which were installed as a temporary protective measure alongside Fishergate and Church Street in late 2017.
Another of the city’s taxi drivers said that the new features should be colour-coded.
“Why not have them white and navy, the colours of Preston North End - and with the city’s crest on the front?” Stephen Parkinson asked.
“They should also be lit up.”
Pete Tyson also complained that the cubes caused the Church Street taxi rank to “snake” - and block road other road users.
“The council would argue that the point where they jut out is actually pavement - but now we have to park around them.”
Daniel Herbert, highway group manager at Lancashire County Council said: “The blocks have all been placed outside the designated taxi ranks, parking bays and loading bays so should not interfere with the permitted use of those bays. They are located on the pavement, so should not be hit unless a vehicle drives onto it.
"We have lighting along Fishergate and Church Street, which helps people to see these measures. Reflectors on the sides also help their visibility.
"Unfortunately we weren't able to consult on the design and location of these anti-terror measures. We set the locations and designs of the measures based on discussions with Lancashire Police. While this was not in response to any specific threat, we are aware of other incidents across the world involving vehicles deliberately mounting the pavement, and the measures we have put in aim to reduce the likelihood of something taking place here,” Mr. Herbert added.