Town hall’s £250,000 anti-terror plan
ANTI-TERROR defences could soon be on streets in Tameside after the council set aside £250,000 to protect pedestrians from being ‘mowed down’.
A survey of 250 schools and places of worship will be carried out to identify places that ‘may be at risk’ from drivers deliberately mounting the pavement as a ‘terrorist activity’, Tameside’s executive cabinet has agreed.
The town hall says it is ‘particularly important’ to assess the most vulnerable areas with police following the Manchester Arena attack in May last year. The move comes after two separate terrorist attacks in London – in Westminster and Finsbury Park – in which vehicles were used to deliberately target and kill pedestrians.
Streets that are vulnerable to drivers accidentally mounting the pavement will also be assessed under the new measures. Bollards, railings, barriers and trees have all been suggested as ways of protecting people in crowded places and preventing and deterring drivers mounting the kerb.
One mosque in the borough has already been prioritised for the scheme after a pedestrian was killed by a speeding vehicle outside the building.
The scheme will also aim to improve safety outside schools.
Council leader Brenda Warrington suggested that bollards could be used to stop ‘somebody ramming a car into someone’. Speaking at a cabinet meeting, she said: “We’re talking about slightly different potential events, we’re talking about parents being inconsiderate around schools when they’re either dropping off or collecting children, and on the other hand we’re talking about potential terrorist attacks where somebody is deliberately mowing down people.”
Council bosses say first priority will be given to areas where pedestrian accidents have already occurred. Emma Varnam, assistant director for operations and neighbourhoods, said: “The key thing is that we need to protect those pedestrians, both schoolchildren and worshippers, from harm – either accidental car accidents or cars that are going outside buildings specifically at the end of a school day or, for instance, at the end of worship time where lots of people are on the pavement following their service.
“This has been particularly important following the Manchester Arena attack, we are working with our colleagues in Greater Manchester to look at some of our most vulnerable areas.”
Coun Allison Gywnne, executive member for ‘Clean and Green’, added: “It’s trying to get that balance, keeping the frontages safe but accessible so there is good egress for pedestrians to be able to access a place of worship, or a school, or a shopping centre whilst designing out some conflict between vehicle and pedestrians.”
Tameside council leader Coun Brenda Warrington