Following a decision by the Executive in February, the council commissioned independent security experts to develop a plan for long-term measures to combat the ongoing threat of ‘vehicle weapon attacks’ like those seen recently in Toronto, London and Nice.
A trial of the measures to reduce the number of vehicles in the city’s main footstreet area will take place before permanent measures are installed in the coming months.
The trial will include ending vehicle access to St Sampson’s Square during foot street hours (10.30am-5pm, seven days a week) by using an experimental traffic regulation order (ETRO).
The current restrictions will also be enforced along Coney Street with the introduction of bollards at the northern end of the street, close to the Mansion House.
After this initial trial, a wider consultation on the city centre will be commissioned by the Council and will provide an opportunity for everyone in the city to share their views on access to the city centre.
Superintendent Lindsey Robson, commander for the York and Selby area, said: “We welcome these latest security measures designed to keep residents and visitors to York as safe as possible.
“The national threat level remains severe and this combined with the shift in methods from complex, coordinated attacks that we’ve seen around the world, to more basic attacks, means that we must do all that we can to protect members of the public.
“Alongside these physical measures there is a lot going on behind the scenes and we continue to work alongside counter terrorism police to prevent, disrupt and deter extremist activity across the country.
“We thank members of the public for their continuing support and although the likelihood of being involved in an attack is low, we urge them to remain vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour or activity to police in confidence or via the counter terrorism website.”
The trial changes are set to be in place by Monday 5 November. After this date the general public, including Blue Badge holders, will no longer be able to access St Sampson’s Square during footstreet hours.
We are writing to all Blue Badge holders in York informing them of these changes and highlighting alternative parking on Blake Street, Lendal, Deangate or Goodramgate.
The only exceptions to the order are the emergency services and other emergency access, which will be controlled by the council during footstreet hours.
These changes are the first phase of safety improvements. There may be further phases introduced to increase safety of the city centre but this will be kept under review.
In the rare event of getting caught up in a weapons attack we urge you to follow the Run, Hide, Tell advice. Run to a place of safety rather than to surrender or negotiate. If there’s nowhere to go then hide and don’t confront. Finally, and only when it is safe to do so, tell the police by calling 999.
For more information about the changes visit www.york.gov.uk/citycentreaccess