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Anti-terror barrier in King’s Parade is a ‘danger to cyclists’, British Cycling ride leader tells Cambridge city councillors

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The anti-terror barrier on King’s Parade will undergo further council scrutiny after petitioners told the authority the structure is “dangerous” for cyclists.

The King’s Parade barrier. Picture: Keith Heppell
The King’s Parade barrier. Picture: Keith Heppell

While executive councillors at the city council defended the decision to install the temporary barrier, they also provided an indication of what a permanent solution might look like at a meeting this month.

The Labour councillors said an underground solution with rising bollards and an expanded pedestrianised zone beyond the current barrier are likely in the longer term.

The debate over the anti-terror barrier was heard at a full session of Cambridge City Council before the meeting was abandoned owing to a protest by Extinction Rebellion.

The council voted unanimously to return the plans to a scrutiny committee following a call from the Liberal Democrat opposition.

Cycling instructor and British Cycling ride leader, Nancy Minshull-Beech, spoke against the barrier in a public question to the council.

Roxanne De Beaux, from Camcycle, tries to negotiate the new King’s Parade barrier. Picture: Keith Heppell
Roxanne De Beaux, from Camcycle, tries to negotiate the new King’s Parade barrier. Picture: Keith Heppell

She said any single-lane cycle track should be 1.5m wide – the gap between the barrier is 1.16m. Nancy added that as bikes pass both ways, it should be considered a two-way cycle track, which should be 2.5m wide.

She said: “Of the 1.16 metres there, 48 centimetres of it is cobbles, a drainage grill and a raised kerb, so 48 centimetres can’t be used at all. The other part of that barrier has big fat nuts that stick out.”

“I think it’s dangerous,” she added.

She asked if a risk assessment had been done and questioned “if the risks to cyclists is now greater than other perceived risks for which this barrier was put in place.”

More than 1,250 people signed a petition calling on the council to review and replace the anti-terror barrier.

Petitioner Alan Levy told the council the there was no objection, in principle, to closing off the King’s Parade to traffic, but said the barrier was “ugly” and “brutish” and made cycling accidents “inevitable”.

The anti-terror barrier in King’s Parade
The anti-terror barrier in King’s Parade

The city’s executive councillor for finance and resources, Richard Robertson, said: “We are committed to reviewing both the need for it and the design. Any permanent barrier would probably be based on rising bollards, and we certainly aim to have two gaps for cyclists to pass through, one in each direction.”

He said other cities, such as York, Canterbury, Windsor and Edinburgh, had installed anti-terror barriers.

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