Plans still being drawn up for anti-terror bollards in Waterside, Stratford
NEW bollards are still being planned for Waterside aimed at protecting the public from a terrorist attack.
While no date for the work has been agreed – the scheme is still at the design stage – Warwickshire County Council confirmed yesterday (Wednesday) that the anti-terror measures will go ahead.
The scheme has been talked about for a number of years and once included a one-way system for Sheep Street, but that was eventually scrapped.
The bollards are seen as necessary to protect Stratford’s tourists and residents – ever since the London Bridge attack in 2017, in which terrorists drove a van into pedestrians, popular visitor attractions across the country have had to introduce ‘hostile vehicle mitigation’ measures such as bollards, planters and concrete barriers.
Henley Street already has bollards in place at either end of the pedestrianised area, providing protection around Shakespeare’s Birthplace.
Waterside and the area around the theatre are next in line.
Cllr Andy Crump, portfolio holder for community safety, said: “Warwickshire County Council is working with various partners including Stratford District Council and the RSC on the installation of protection bollards along the kerb line at Waterside in Stratford.
“The area attracts a large number of people, especially in the summer months, which has identified a need for measures to protect the public from vehicles. Detailed design of the scheme is not complete, and as such the type and size of bollards along with costs has not been finalised.
“Our aim is to design a scheme which is in keeping with the look and feel of the Waterside area, which also considers safety for residents and the wider community.”
The threat of a terrorist attack in the UK is rated as substantial.
This level, lone radicalised terrorists plotting an attack and the counter measures needed to protect the public were discussed during a police community walkabout in Stratford on Friday (4th March) which included businesses and a counter terrorism security advisor from Warwickshire Police.
Both Waterside and Henley Street were included in the walk, with the latter rated as one of the safest streets in town because of measures already in place.
Veroslava England, counter terrorism security adviser for Warwickshire Police, said: “The threat to the UK from terrorism is substantial, which means an attack is likely.
“That reflects the threat posed by all forms of terrorism, irrespective of ideology and includes Islamist, Northern Ireland, left-wing and right-wing terrorism.
“The threat continues to be driven by inspired self-initiated terrorists or small cells looking to conduct low-complexity attacks using low-sophistication methodologies.
“There is no current, available intelligence to suggest that the terrorism threat to Stratford is higher than anywhere else in the country.
“We encourage the public to be alert and not alarmed and to report any suspicious behaviour to the police.”
Stratford councillors Cllr Kate Rolfe (Lib Dem, Tiddington) and Cllr Jenny Fradgley (Lib Dem, Stratford West) were also on the walk.
Cllr Rolfe said: “We have had several meetings on anti-terror measures for two or three years now, which is the responsibility of the county council.
“I welcome anything that would protect the public on Waterside and in Stratford from attack. It’s possible some sort of hostile vehicle mitigation could be in place before the summer.”
After Friday’s community walk Cllr Tim Sinclair (Con, Stratford North) said: “Once we’ve agreed about security on the Bancroft we need to get the resources and make it a high priority for the community.”
Other major tourist attractions such as Cambridge, York and Chester have introduced security measures in their city centres.
Some of these have proved unpopular with retailers because of the impact on trade, while some barriers have been described as ugly and intrusive.
Cambridge city councillors last year voted in favour of making traffic restrictions on King’s Parade in permanent - a £70,000 barrier was installed in 2018 after the London Bridge attack.
And York’s £1.8million anti-terrorism scheme is set to become permanent after further developments in January while Chester has opted for bollards that be raised and lowered.