Additional security measures will be in place to protect shoppers visiting the Christmas market and shops in Chester this festive season.From 18 November to 22 December, the city centre’s bollards at the Town Hall Kiosk, St. John’s Street, Bridge Street, and Watergate Street will be raised in the ‘up’ position for a longer period than usual, between 10.30am and 9pm seven days a week.
The bollards are usually lowered at 4.30pm Monday to Saturday (and at 8pm on Bridge Street and Watergate Street).Only bridal cars attending weddings at the Grosvenor Hotel, funeral cars attending funerals at Chester Cathedral, emergency service vehicles, emergency utility works vehicles, Council waste collection, emergency lighting and highways vehicles will be allowed access into the central streets of the city during these hours, and will also apply for the period 22-24 December between 10.30am and 4.30pm.
Blue badge holders, hotel guests, businesses, deliveries and residents will not have access during these hours. There is a range of alternative parking available in multi storey car parks, Hamilton Place, Frodsham Street, Weaver Street and on roads outside the central streets for blue badge holders affected by this change. Blue Badge vehicles will be permitted access to drop off at the night-time taxi rank and adjacent bays on Northgate Street opposite the new Northgate development (old library entrance).Retailers in the city centre should arrange for all their deliveries to be made before 10.30am, or after 9pm, during this period. The Council will work with the business community in Chester over the coming weeks to find solutions to issues which businesses may encounter with deliveries, caused by these changes.Councillor Karen Shore, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, said: “Last year we increased the time the bollards were raised so that people could shop in the evenings in a secure environment and we will be doing the same this year.“There is not a specific threat to the city of Chester but it is important that people can come into the city to do their shopping during the Christmas period and feel more secure in the large crowds.“We appreciate that this decision can cause some disruption to shop deliveries and we appreciate the support businesses have offered to this decision which has been made for the purpose of ensuring people’s safety.”
Chief Superintendent Peter Crowcroft of Cheshire Police said: “To ensure our streets are safer for shoppers, visitors, residents and workers Cheshire Police continues to work with our partners, the council, businesses and the public to disrupt criminal and terrorist activity. We have said for many years that communities defeat terrorism, and the help and support we get from the public is a vital part of that. So we would urge everyone to remain vigilant, and if you do see anything suspicious then please report it, in confidence, to police via 101 or 999 or the Anti-terrorist hotline or gov.uk/ACT. It won’t ruin lives, but it may well save them.
“Residents and visitors can also feel assured by the success of Project Servator, which involves officers who are specially trained to spot the tell-tale signs that someone may be planning to commit a crime, on patrol on the city centre streets. The policing tactic can be used any time anywhere and aims to disrupt criminal activity, including terrorism.Project Servator was first trialled in Chester City Centre in June 2019, with Chester Police becoming one of 18 UK police forces to fully adopt the policing tactic in March 2020.The tactics have been developed and tested by security experts at the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) in partnership with the City of London Police.Chief Superintendent Crowcroft added: “The team continues to work with partners, including other police forces, businesses and the public, to protect our streets and everyone who lives, works or visits here and to make it difficult for criminals to operate.“Project Servator encourages everyone to stay alert and report anything that doesn’t feel right. You can report any suspicious activity by speaking face to face with officers, or by calling police on 101. In an emergency, always call 999.”