New date for city centre security bollards system switch on

Bollards in The Friars
How the bollards in The Friars will look when the system goes live

The bollards system designed to stop a vehicle-based terrorist attack in Canterbury city centre will be activated on Monday 23 November.

The bollards system designed to stop a vehicle-based terrorist attack in Canterbury city centre will be activated on Monday 23 November.

When the system goes live, the overwhelming majority of drivers will be permanently refused access to city centre streets and deliveries to residents living in and businesses trading within the pedestrianised zone will only be allowed between 4pm and 10.30am each day.

Canterbury City Council Chief Executive Colin Carmichael said: “While nationally the government has increased the terrorism threat level to severe suggesting an attack somewhere in the UK is highly likely, there is no specific intelligence to say Canterbury is at immediate risk.

“This very complicated project has always been about taking expert police advice to keep everyone in the city centre as safe as we possibly can.

“While the bollards will be switched on during this lockdown, there is still the possibility of some traffic disruption as people get used to how the system operates and the fact rules, that have been in force in some form for 40 years, are about to be enforced more effectively than ever before. 

“Because businesses and residents are still having to cope with the pandemic, we are sticking to our decision to have a phased launch so we can fix unforeseen problems as we go and will have people on the ground to help drivers during key periods.

“The system will be switched on at different locations and at different times of the day and night in order to assess its effects on traffic in and around the city centre and who is sticking to the rules.

“However, when the new start date arrives businesses and the public will need to abide by the restrictions from the very beginning.”

The bollards were due to be switched on at the end of October but the start date had to be pushed back because of a number of technical issues.

Mr Carmichael said: “Installing the very latest technology in a medieval city such as ours was always going to pose unforeseeable and unique challenges and there may be more to come.

“We apologise for the delay and any inconvenience it may have caused.”

Apply for access to the city centre.

How the system will work

Access to the city will only be allowed via the intercom at one of the automated bollards sites. This will apply 24 hours a day.

Our control room staff will respond to the intercom and have the final say on who can gain access. At the exit points, the bollards will lower automatically to allow vehicles to leave.

Unless you fall into one of the categories in the lists below, you will not be able to enter the city in a vehicle at any time. 

The pedestrian zone operates 24 hours a day but some restrictions are lifted between 10.30am and 4pm every day.

It is worth noting these rules have always been in place but have not been vigorously enforced.

Between 4pm and 10.30am, those with access include:

  • Deliveries to businesses and residents and collection of trade waste
  • Blue Badge holders
  • Royal Mail vehicles collecting from the post office and letterboxes
  • Roadworks and utilities contractors

Delivery drivers will be able to unload in Iron Bar Lane and trolley goods to their destination.

Those with 24-hour access include:

  • Registered residents and businesses with private off-street parking
  • Emergency services
  • Medical practitioners such as GPs, nurses and midwives attending a patient
  • Main vehicles associated with weddings and funerals
  • Armoured security vehicles
  • People living in the pedestrian zone who have registered as Blue Badge holders via the council website. This includes drivers collecting or dropping off a registered Blue Badge holder from a residential address

Tradespeople will be granted access to the pedestrian zone between 4pm and 10.30am.

In exceptional circumstances, access between 10.30am and 4pm can be requested online.

Published: 13th November 2020