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Security an ‘afterthought’ in pedestrianisation drive

Nearly half of urban design professionals believe that the recent rise of pedestrianisation in city and town centres is making public spaces more vulnerable to attack.

Temporary pedestrianisation of key locations has suddenly become commonplace as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, offering an effective means of facilitating social distancing and increasing outdoor seating capacity for struggling bars and restaurants.

However, a survey of leading architects, planners and specifiers found that many are concerned about the potential security risks of widespread pedestrianisation. They say that without the appropriate security solutions in place, large numbers of pedestrians gathered in a confined area greatly increases the threat of vehicle-as-a-weapon attacks.

In response to this increased security threat, 30 per cent of those surveyed said that investing in temporary security measures that can be installed and removed as needed will be essential to ensure the ongoing safety of civilians.

The research also found that many urban design professionals believe there is now a clear need for public spaces that can be easily adapted to respond to our changing needs, including security measures that can be replaced or upgraded whenever necessary. According to 43 per cent of those surveyed, this will be the key to futureproofing our cities going forward.

The survey was carried out by ATG Access.

Iain Moran, director at ATG Access, said: “While pedestrianisation offers real benefits for businesses and consumers at this difficult time, we must ensure that the right security solutions are in place to avoid putting people in unnecessary danger.

“It is clear that in some cases security could have been sacrificed for social distancing and designers are seriously concerned that security has become an afterthought. Temporary, surface-mounted security barriers offer a flexible, comprehensive security solution that can easily be adapted without the need for any construction work, making them invaluable in the current situation.”

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