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York’s £1.8m HVM latest

In November we featured York’s proposed physical security to protect pedestrians in the ‘footstreets’ of the historic city centre by restricting vehicle access via bollards; as seen in similar-sized tourist hot-spots, such as Bath and Canterbury, which had its 100-plus bollard and intercom scheme activated in the autumn.

York’s latest stage was a January 13 meeting of City of York Council’s executive.

Significantly, a report to the meeting pointed to the Home Office’s proposed “Duty to Protect”, ‘which will have wide reaching implications with regard to the obligations on local councils to respond to counter terrorism advice to protect publicly accessible locations’. The report covered physical Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM). The city already has HVM, only temporary of the sort as seen on some London bridges. Christmas 2021 again saw the deployment of temporary barriers, as advised by counter terror police. Pictured is one of the pre-Christmas barriers. The report noted that the barriers that have been in place over the last year will remain and are staffed (as in photo, at High Petergate, with the Guy Fawkes Inn on the right, St Michael le Belfrey Church on the left), by contract security officers, ‘for which there is an on-going cost’.

The report proposed raising the ‘Hostile Vehicle Measures capital budget’ by £0.5m, to £1,832,000, the estimated cost of the scheme (‘but the market is subject to significant cost increases’, the report added). It’s proposed that York has static bollards – as installed at Parliament Street before the 2019 Christmas market – and sliding bollards at each of the access and egress points. As for how those exempt – such as ambulances – get in, as in Canterbury for example it’s proposed for York that ‘a dedicated CCTV operator will be assigned to the monitoring and operation of the proposed eight access/exit locations during footstreets hours’. They will, roughly, stretch from the city centre side of the two bridges, Lendal and Ouse, to the Minster, the Co-op end of Colliergate, and the city centre end of Piccadilly.

The ‘city centre footstreets’ covered by the bollards, in York as in other historic places, means that access for businesses has to be outside daytime hours busiest for visitors; in York, including a food market. The report noted that like much else, the covid pandemic had ‘paused’ plans for HVM. The report also went into the balance for any scheme, between ‘effective secure boundary against hostile vehicles’, and deciding what is necessary traffic to let in – such as 999 vehicles – and where to set the boundary; which may be the difference between allowing some access to blue badge holders, and not. The report details the proposed exemptions to the traffic restrictions.

The report left open the possibility of further use of temporary barriers beyond this new scheme, for ‘events outside the secure area’. As for when the work may happen, it might not finish until 2023, the report suggested, citing ‘supply chain issues and contractor availability’.

The scheme will mean a need to have CCTV and communications on an existing fibre network. The report stated that around the Minster are no such links, ‘meaning that High Petergate and Goodramgate have no nearby infrastructure in place. This will add CCTV coverage in an area without any as an additional benefit’.

More in the March print edition of Professional Security magazine.


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