The anti-terrorist barriers have been approved to remain by the council.Sophie Huskisson

On Tuesday (22/06), Cambridge City Councillors voted in favour of making restrictions to traffic on King’s Parade permanent, while the design of current anti-terrorism barriers is set to be reviewed in the next six months. 

While it was originally implemented as a temporary measure until July 2021, councillors endorsed making the counter-terrorism measure permanent. As part of the review process, though, they will look into making the barrier easier to navigate for cyclists. The current barrier consists of three-meter-wide swing gates, and includes a 1.2 meter gap for cyclists on the King’s College side.

The £70,000 barrier was installed in 2018, following a recommendation by the Counter Terrorism Security Advisors. It is designed to resist vehicle impact, in the advent of an attack similar to the 2017 London Bridge attack or the 2016 Nice attack.

King’s Parade is one of Cambridge’s busiest streets and the police were reportedly worried groups of tourists in front of the Corpus clock could serve as potential targets. 

Since its installation, the design of the barrier has drawn some criticisms. In 2020, a student involved in a collision with a tourist after they stood in front of the barrier’s cycle path said she believed ‘the practicalities of the barrier have clearly not been thought out.’ The same year, Liberal Democrat councillor Amanda Taylor said she was “sad the threat of terrorism is pushing us to uglify one of the most beautiful parts of the city”.  A petition to remove the barrier collected over 1,000 signatures

However, Councillor Lewis Herbert declared that the Council’s priority was security. He called the gap for cyclists “adequate but limited by the need to ensure no vehicle can get through.” He called for the longer-term design to “improve the flow and aim for two-way cycling at all times.”


Mountain View

Council endorses permanent counter-terrorism barrier on King’s Parade

The Cambridgeshire County Council’s highways committee stated it was “voting on closing the access to King’s parade and not the design of the gate.” Council officer Sonia Hansen agreed the current barrier could be improved: “the design of the gate and the gaps for the cyclists is something that can be looked at. The city council is intending to do a permanent design. The current gates are a temporary measure whilst a permanent solution is designed”.