Cambridgeshire

Cambridge King's Parade anti-terror barrier a 'carbuncle'

Anti-terror barrier in Cambridge
Image caption The new barrier restricts access to the busy thoroughfare outside King's College Chapel

A barrier erected to deter a possible terror attack in the centre of Cambridge has been branded a "carbuncle" and "hideous" by residents.

The city council installed it after counter-terror police said the street could be vulnerable to an attack with a lorry or other large vehicle.

It will close off the road in front of King's College during the daytime.

The council said the barrier was temporary and it welcomed feedback - "even negative" comments.

Many people have taken to social media criticising the barrier, with one person writing: "Is the idea that terrorists will simply recoil from the sheer ugliness of it?"

Image copyright Hugh Venables/Geograph
Image caption Councillors want to make it harder for vehicles to access the historic King's Parade in Cambridge

Cambridge-based architect Jeremy Lander adopted the words of the Prince of Wales, describing it as a "monstrous carbuncle" which was "dreadful on so many levels".

He said he could not believe "something so hideous" could be installed at "what should be a World Heritage Site".

"It's the sort of thing you'd see at a local recycling centre on a bank holiday", he said.

Image caption A 3m (9.8ft)-wide yellow gate, seen on the left, will close off the road to motor vehicles

The anti-terror barrier will become fully operational in the coming days once enforcement signage is installed.

It will seal the road from 09.30 to 19.00 GMT.

Image caption The barrier will close traffic to King's Parade

The Cambridge Cycling Campaign also criticised the barrier on its blog page.

"As we expected... tourist groups are using the cycle gap, as the footway is not wide enough," it said.

"If one was dead-set on attacking right in that iconic location in front of King's Chapel one would just have to wait until 7pm."

The anti-terror barrier plans were approved by the city council last year.

At the time, Suzanne Hemingway, the council's strategic director, said tourists flocking to King's College in Cambridge could be a potential terror target.

She said while there was no "specific threat" to the area, "the advice to Cambridge is King's Parade is our highest risk street" and "potentially the area someone could carry out a vehicular attack".

Responding to the comments from residents, a city council spokesman said the barrier was "a temporary solution" and the local authority would "welcome feedback - even negative comments - so we can make the permanent solution as good as it can be".

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