Published: 06:03, 06 June 2019
| Updated: 07:38, 06 June 2019
An "immensely complex" project aimed at protecting Canterbury from a terrorist attack is set to be in operation by the end of October.
The city council, which is acting on the advice of counter-terrorism police, has revealed the locations of where more than 100 security bollards will be installed.
The 24-hour defences will be positioned in 18 locations across Canterbury, with half being automatic and the rest fixed into the ground.
As well as blocking off entry via numerous side streets including St Margaret's Street, Burgate and Best Lane, the bollards will line both ends of the high street by Fenwick and Westgate Towers.
Designed to stop a hostile vehicle from being used as a weapon on the city's pedestrian-filled streets, work on the £789,000 scheme will begin next month.
The authority is warning of increased congestion around entrances to the city centre at peak times especially in the early stages of the operation.
Once up and running, access to the city will be strictly governed by CCTV control room staff who will monitor an intercom system all day, every day.
The period between 10.30am and 4pm will be a strict no-go for a number of vehicle types, with delivery drivers and commercial waste contractors having to ensure they arrive in the city outside of those hours.
Royal Mail vehicles, blue badge holders and roadworks contractors will also not be permitted entry during those five-and-a-half hours.
Emergency services will have special access to the city with a direct link to the council's control room.
Authority chief executive Colin Carmichael said: “This continues to be an immensely complex and challenging project given the nature and history of the city.
“But it is incredibly important that we do all we can to protect everyone who lives, works and studies in the city as well as the tourists who visit.
“The installation of the bollards to enhance security in the city centre will, in effect, see us enforcing the restrictions on vehicles in the pedestrian zone that have existed for the past 20 years.”
City businesses and residents, who will need to apply for new access permits, are being sent letters detailing the project. Residents will be granted 24-hour access to the city but will have to enter via the automatic barrier system.
The council says the plans to beef up security are a precautionary measure, with there being no specific intelligence pinpointing a terror threat in Canterbury.
Previously branded "over the top" by University of Kent professor Dr Frank Furedi, the number of bollards will total 105.
They will add to the existing 19 installed outside the Marlowe Theatre earlier this year in a separate £131,000 scheme.
Once all in order, tradesmen will not be allowed in the city between 10.30am and 4pm, however, if the need for access during that time is unavoidable, there may be leeway.
Blue Badge holders needing access to the city are advised to use Orange Street car park as it is outside the strictly monitored pedestrian zone.
Existing city centre access permit holders must apply for a new permit by visiting canterbury.gov.uk/citycentreaccess.
City centre security will be discussed by the Canterbury Forum at 7pm on Monday at the Guildhall. There will also be a drop-in session regarding the plans between 3.30pm and 7.30pm on Wednesday, June 12 at the Guildhall.