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25th Jun, 2022

'No specific threat' to town say police during meeting on anti-terrorism measures

POLICE say there is no specific threat to Stratford as the town prepares for the introduction of new anti-terrorism measures.

Bollards will be placed on the paving on Waterside in October to protect pedestrians from possible targeting following the use of vehicles in attacks across Europe, including two in London.

Changes to traffic include controlled access on Waterside between Sheep Street and Chapel Lane, a one way section on Sheep Street and a speed reducing chicane in Chapel Lane.

Safety moves in Stratford last year, following the Manchester Arena bombing, saw automatic bollards raised on Henley Street

to prevent vehicle access to Shakespeare Birthplace.

The new trial measures – known as Hostile Vehicle Mitigation – will impact the Sunday market on Waterside, which will move to Bridge Street for a three month trial period.

Warwickshire Police Ch Supt David Gardiner said: “The police are fully supportive of these measures that are aimed at reducing the level of risk and being vigilant.

“I must stress, there is no intelligence or specific threat towards Stratford, but with the threat level at Severe, we have to take action towards reducing and minimising risk where it has been identified.

“This is part of a countywide review of places and spaces, so it is not unique to Stratford.”

He was speaking at a meeting attended by some 30 town businesses, together with Warwickshire County Council safety chiefs and Stratforward BID chief executive Joe Baconnet.

Mr Baconnet said: “We’ve been working hard with our partners over the last few months to ensure that the draft scheme meets the needs of town.

“Each business has unique requirements and that’s why we wanted to get everyone together to start thinking about what this means for their business.”

WCC community safety spokesman Phil Evans said while the scheme was not perfect for everyone, it was the most feasible solution to keep Stratford safe and still ensure access to the town centre.

He added: “This scheme is about public safety and reducing risk in known areas where crowds gather.

“It’s not a traffic management scheme – it is about reducing the impacts of a hostile vehicle attack.

“We will work with all businesses to try and mitigate the impacts and to understand what your business needs are.”

Following a period of consultation, the installation of permanent anti-terrorist measures are set to begin in November and December.

Further permanent HVM installations are proposed for Henley Street next April.

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