Published: 12:42, 01 October 2020
| Updated: 13:57, 01 October 2020
A bollard system designed to protect residents from a terrorist attack will come into force this month - permanently closing several streets to drivers.
Canterbury City Council decided to install the barriers on the advice of specialist police officers to protect people and business from plots in which a hostile vehicle could be used as a weapon.
Work on the £789,000 scheme started last summer , and local authority bosses have confirmed it will become operational on Monday, October 26 - with restrictions "enforced rigorously".
Chief executive Colin Carmichael said: "There is no specific intelligence that says Canterbury is at immediate risk but we need to take sensible precautions, on expert police advice, to ensure we keep everyone as safe as possible.
"This has been a very complex project with all sorts of considerations so there is always a very small chance it will not operate perfectly on day one.
"We will keep an incredibly close eye on things so we can make any tweaks that are needed quickly and efficiently."
The scheme will mean the majority of motorists will be refused access to city centre streets.
Deliveries to residents living in and businesses trading within the pedestrianised zone will only be allowed overnight between 4pm and 10.30am.
As a result, traders are being told to encourage their staff to use the Park and Ride system in order to get to work.
“Drivers need to plan ahead in case there is traffic disruption at peak hours, as people learn that the restrictions will be enforced rigorously," Mr Carmichael added.
“We have chosen the October half-term holiday, even though the system will be ready just before then, because the roads should be quieter.
“We also wanted to give city centre businesses, which are just getting on their feet following the relaxation of lockdown, time to liaise with the companies that deliver to them.
“Residents living in the city centre will also need time to adjust or make other arrangements like booking appropriate slots with the supermarkets.”
The list of drivers allowed into the zone overnight between 4pm and 10.30am also includes blue badge holders, Royal Mail workers collecting from the post office and letterboxes, and roadworks and utilities contractors.
Meanwhile, registered residents and businesses with private off-street parking, emergency services, medical practitioners visiting a patient, cars associated with weddings and funerals, and armoured security vehicles will have 24-hour access to the roads.
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.
Emergency access between 10.30am and 4pm can be requested by visiting canterbury.gov.uk/citycentreaccess .