Controversial anti-terrorism barriers installed in York city centre have been removed following the closure of the Christmas market – but will be replaced by permanent measures later this year.
The barriers appeared overnight in November – with the council saying the blocks aimed to make York “the safest it’s ever been” over the festive period.
But some residents expressed surprise at the scale and appearance of the barriers.
Cllr Andy D’Agorne, deputy leader of City of York Council, said earlier this week that the blocks would be removed following the closure of the Christmas market in Parliament Street.
The current security measures are temporary and will be removed following the Christmas Market closure.
There are plans for some short-term measures to protect crowds gathering on New Year’s Eve similar to those used for the Christmas light switch on.
‘No win’ reality
In a report for a council meeting, Cllr D’Agorne said permanent measures are due to be installed in 2020.
He said: “The temporary anti-terror measures protecting the Christmas market have inevitably caused some concern, although visitors largely seem to accept them as being comparable with such measures in other major UK centres.
“In many ways we have to acknowledge the ‘no win’ reality that such measures have been strongly advocated by the security services since October 2018.
“The permanent measures will be installed next year, with a system in place to enable permitted access for emergency services and other authorised services through video and intercom connections.
“We will also work closely with the Minster to look at robust measures that might be incorporated with changes coming forward as part of their neighbourhood plan for the Minster precinct and Duncombe Place.”
Sliding bollards that move aside rather than underground are expected to be installed at Parliament Street, St Sampson’s Square, High Ousegate and Spurriergate, Coney Street, Davygate, Finkle Street, Church Street and Jubbergate.
Permanent “hostile vehicle mitigation measures” would also be installed at the racecourse entrance at the junction of Racecourse Road and Knavesmire Road, under plans agreed by senior councillors in August.
The council says the measures “will have significant costs” – including installation and the need for staff to operate them – and the final budget will be discussed at a future council meeting.
It says: “A sliding bollard system is considered to be the best solution for York.”