Tuesday, December 5, 2017

York Catherdral Installs Vehicle Barriers The Right Way

The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York, commonly known as York Minster, is the cathedral of York, England. Architecturally, it is a Gothic structure comparable to Canterbury Cathedral.

Now, the York Minster has installed new anti-terror blocks along its street-facing side in what seems to be a resigned acceptance that the threat of terrorism in Britain may not decrease for a generation or longer.
A SECURITY barrier of concrete blocks has now been installed in front of York Minster - as a retrospective planning application was submitted to planners.

The 12 blocks have been placed in a line outside the west end of the cathedral in an attempt to tackle the terrorist threat.

-- snip --

A council spokeswoman said she understood it was likely the application would be considered by officers under delegated powers, rather than by councillors on a planning committee. A Minster spokeswoman said last week the decision to strengthen security was taken following recommendations from the Counter Terrorism Unit. The Dean of York, the Very Reverend Dr Vivienne Faull, inset, said Chapter had been concerned about the potential vulnerability of the area around the Minster’s West End for some time.

She said the national terror threat level had been at “severe” for many months and was likely to remain so for some time to come, with some experts believing we are facing a generational problem which may last for 20 or 30 years.

She said the appalling attacks in Manchester and London earlier this year had required everyone responsible for the security of nationally important buildings, monuments and public spaces to reassess, review and constantly refine their arrangements for keeping people safe.

-- snip --

Steve Brown, managing director of Make It York, said it was reassuring that York Minster had acted upon the recommendations and advice it had been given.

Mr Brown added: "It is vitally important that York continues to be a safe place to live, work and visit.”

Those barriers, unlike the temporary ones that were place around most British Christmas markets recently, are professionally planned and executed. A security industry news site reported that the blocks were "approved by the Home Office and tested by the official (CPNI), Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure." That's good, because the CPNI is an extremely well-regarded organization that is available to provide advice to the owners of national-level assets in the UK.

Here's a page from the CPNI's publicly available advice on streetscaping:

While I'm admiring things British, here's something else I like - the news story commenters who left intelligent remarks about the Minster's security measures. Here are a few choice examples:
Eek - whilst I agree they are a deterrent, I think more thought could have gone into what street furniture they could have used, there are a lot better anti-vehicle systems that would have been less obtrusive than a square edged stone block, just saying thats all.

The press could run a competition for what they could be used for to soften the harshness in the future. Make them a feature as they are ideal plinths. Perhaps for artwork, sculptures, I could see them being more than a block of concrete and more aesthetically pleasing in the future.

Great idea, at the very least they can be used as benches.

People have commented on the bollards which are most likely cast iron and therefore would just snap if a truck drove into them. However it would have been possible to replace them with steel bollards with a decent length underground and the above ground bit encased in a decorative mould plastic covering.

These just look like something from the Normandy beaches.

Those citizens get the point of the exercise, and they have actually good constructive suggestions. Hell, they even know the vocabulary, like "street furniture" and "plinth." The later, by the way, is a heavy base that commonly supports a column or sculpture.

Britons, be proud.


James said...

Plinths! Now the Greeks are involved! Just looking at those beautiful plinths I'm thinking 3 tons max which will stop things up to a small bob tail truck, of course I realized they are "approved". If they've got some kind of anchorage system underneath then it's a new ball game. Cast iron! In the photos I think you can see where they pulled up the sidewalk pavers to install these bollards, looks a little hurried. I understand why they are doing this, but it won't stop bicycles, motorbikes, etc that carry a lot of explosives.

TSB said...

James: Right you are. The blocks have an anchoring system and the design has been dynamically-tested. Mass alone will not stop a threat vehicle of any significant size.