BOLLARDS designed to protect York city centre from terrorist attacks look set to be installed this year.

Counter-terror experts have said the measures need to be brought in to stop ‘vehicle as weapon attacks’.

The city’s temporary security barriers, which have been in place since the 2021 Christmas market, drew criticism for being unattractive and obstructive. They will be replaced by a mixture of fixed and sliding bollards, which will allow access to certain types of vehicles at certain times.

A report to the city council’s executive states: “It is proposed that the council’s CCTV and security contractor will be trained to operate the system to ensure that legitimate access is maintained whilst preventing, as far as possible, unauthorised vehicle access into the protected area. 

“An important part of this role will be to ensure that emergency services access is available without delay.”

The project is predicted to cost around £1.8 million, with £500,000 coming from unallocated highways funding.

Senior councillors will decide whether to rubber-stamp the plans next Thursday.

The sliding bollards are proposed at the junctions of: Piccadilly, Coppergate and High Ousegate;  Nessgate, High Ousegate and Low Ousegate; Lendal and Museum Street; Blake Street and Duncombe Place; High Petergate and Duncombe Place; Goodramgate and Deangate; Colliergate and St Saviourgate; and Shambles and Pavement.

York Press: A map of the proposed sites

The locations have been selected to minimise the impact on nearby businesses, maintain pedestrian access and provide safe spaces for waiting vehicles, the council said.

The move comes after the council’s executive removed the exemption which allowed blue badge holders to park within the city’s footstreets in November.

York Press:

Labour spokesperson for transport, Rachel Melly, said: “The issue is not about whether or not bollards should be installed, but about how the council ensures those affected by their installation can still gain independent access to every part of the city centre.

“Disabled blue badge holders are deemed non-essential users by Lib Dem-Green ruling councillors, even after hearing the personal accounts from some of the many people who can no longer visit their city centre.  

“It also feels completely wrong given the poor state of roads across York to see highways budgets plundered to pay for these discriminatory measures.”

Council deputy leader and executive member for transport, Andy D’Agorne, said: “With the national threat level currently severe, our duty and priority has to be the safety of everyone in York. Acting on police and counter-terrorism expert advice to ensure appropriate measures are in place to protect residents and visitors in the city centre is therefore essential.

York Press:

“These permanent measures will be far less intrusive than the temporary measures we have had to use in recent years. We need to strike the correct balance between providing an appropriate level of security, enabling emergency access and general access outside of the footstreet hours, while also respecting York’s heritage.”