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Guildford safety barriers "not fit for purpose"

3 minute read
Guildford safety barriers "not fit for purpose"

Published at 2:28pm 8th July 2019. (Updated at 2:45pm 8th July 2019)

Safety barriers in Guildford town centre to protect shoppers from vandalism and vehicle-based terror attacks are “not fit for purpose” as they no longer meet legislative requirements. 

Councillors were told that a change in legislation regarding safety standards means the High Street barriers will need improving.

Guildford Borough Council has the white barriers and vehicle control measures at the bottom of the High Street.

But a review by Surrey Police has now found they are “inadequate” and “do not comply with current national standards for such public spaces”.

This means they need to be upgraded to be “less intrusive” and “fit for purpose”. 

Council papers state barriers must meet national standards which are tested with a 7.5-tonne vehicle travelling at 40mph. 

Low-key physical barriers are proposed with more CCTV to support the safety of shoppers. 

Tourism figures for 2017 show around 4.8 million people visited the borough for the day.

The council’s project manager Paul Bassi, who is working on the £1.209 million works to the town centre that include upgrading pavements in Swan Lane and creating a more pedestrian-dominant area in Chapel Street, updated councillors at Guildford and Surrey County Council’s joint committee meeting on Wednesday (July 3).

He said there has been “long-term discussions with the police around the latest legislation around standards for safety”.

He added: “The current legislation does mean that the existing barriers are not fit for purpose and we are looking at how to improve that to meet the current legislation.”

The public realm scheme is looking to make the town centre more pedestrianised by upgrading the safety network, the committee was told. 

This came after committee member Councillor Mark Brett-Warburton, Conservative county council member for Guildford South-East, asked for an update on anti-terror measures for Guildford.

In council papers published earlier this year the financial case for new CCTV cameras for the town centre was estimated to be £250,000. This would mean 44 cameras being replaced.

The funding bid for the installation of specialist barriers and bollards to prevent unauthorised vehicle access and improve public safety – particularly during big public events – was priced at £260,000. 

The timeline shows the new barriers are to be in place by September.


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