Famous Cambridge street section to be closed to traffic to counter terror threat
A section of Cambridge’s most famous street is to be closed to traffic for a trial period of up to 18 months in a bid to tighten security and prevent a terrorist attack.
Part of King’s Parade is set to be secured by a temporary barrier after Cambridge City Council rubber-stamped the proposals.
The council made the move following advice from the police counter terrorism unit (CTU), hosted by Bedfordshire Constabulary on behalf of the Eastern region forces.
Its investigation had identified a number of existing vulnerabilities to a potential attack.
The main area of concern for the CTU was the length of King’s Parade, situated in the heart of the university area, and the fact that large numbers of the public congregate at the corner of the parade with Bene’t Street and Trumpington Street due to the presence of the Corpus Clock.
Police believe a physical barrier north of Bene’t Street would help resist penetration by a vehicle approaching at speed.
According to the police, the threat, although not specific to King’s Parade, is nationally very real and officers are encouraging local authorities to take action in areas where large crowds gather.
Cllr Richard Robertson, executive councillor for finance and resources at the city council, said: “We will provide funding for a temporary barrier and associated installation and signage works, to close King’s Parade during an experimental period. £35,000 will be allocated from the reserves and the remaining 50 per cent will be met by the Greater Cambridge Partnership.”
Pedestrian activity and density along King’s Parade, particularly during the peak visitor summer months is on a comparable level with many streets in London and similar tourist hot-spots such as Windsor, Oxford, York and Edinburgh.
While many of these cities have taken proactive steps to combat the threat of terrorism and other potential causes of harm, Cambridge has not followed suit, although number plate recognition cameras do provide limited protection in
Annual visitors to Cambridge have now exceed eight million people, which prompted the council to ask the police to assess the vehicular borne threat to the city.
In June 2017, a controlled explosion on a suitcase was carried out in King's Parade. The contents turned out not to be suspicious.