By Mia Wilson, Image by Dan Carter
As of November 2017 Anti-Terrorism blocks have been installed in front of the York Minster, in the hopes to prevent vehicle related terror acts. The twelve blocks curve around the front of the Minster, finishing at Dean’s park. The blocks have been created in order to blend into to surroundings of the York Minster, using a mix of concrete and sand.
The Dean of York, the Very Reverend Dr Vivienne Faull has told yorkminster.org “The appalling attacks in Manchester and London earlier this year have required those responsible for security of nationally important buildings, monuments and public spaces to reassess, review and constantly refine their arrangements for keeping people safe”. Therefore, the decision to strengthen the security of this landmark was taken by a team including, the cathedrals governing body, with support from the Counter Terrorism Unit.
The Minster, following the ‘Severe’ terror threat to the United Kingdom, increased their security in May. This included random bag searches at visitor entrances, measures to manage visitor ques and increasing high visibility controls. However, as of November, these procedures weren’t deemed enough as the terror threat in the UK still stands.
Kay Hyde, head of PR at Visit York, a company which aims to promote the city internationally, believe the measures have been done very sympathetically. “Obviously it’s something we (those in York) wouldn’t want to see because York Minster is stunningly beautiful”. The Minster has stood for centuries, spanning back to 1220, and there has been a worry that the blocks may affect the historic appearance. However, Kay stands with the decision as she believes “we (Visit York, the council and police) have to balance aesthetics alongside safety”.
There is a hope that the concrete and sand blocks will not be needed in the future and can eventually be removed once the terrorism threat to the United Kingdom decreases.