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LATEST: 'Anti-terrorism' gates installed in Maidstone

Friday 27th May 2022

QUESTIONS have been raised about the need for heavy-duty anti-terrorism gates installed in the centre of Maidstone.

Kent County Council (KCC) claimed the barriers, described as ‘hostile mitigation gates’, in Week Street and Earl Street are for pedestrian safety despite being designed to repel a heavily-laden lorry at 50mph.

But two local elected representatives were unaware the gates were being installed on their patch and the cost has not been publicly disclosed.

KCC Cllr Dan Daley said: “Are we expecting a terrorist attack? Nobody saw fit to ask me as the local elected representative of KCC as to whether I had a view. I find it a bit surprising. I sometimes wonder why I’m here!”

A local businessman added: “Perhaps the money would have better spent on attracting new businesses into the many empty shops in town.”

KCC said the barriers are effective against ram raids and are being installed after trials during the pandemic.

KCC added: “The gates were installed as a safety feature to prevent any accidental entry by vehicles into the pedestrianised area of the town. Because this trial worked so well it was decided to install the gates permanently.”

They have been installed at the Week Street junction of Station Road, Earl Street and Gabriels Hill.  

County councillor Tom Cannon said: “It is a tricky one because it could either be a worthwhile project or a massive waste of money.

“It is difficult to see why a town like Maidstone would need these gates and it was put in place with no consultation.”

Kent Highways posted on its live road closure map: “Road closed from May 9 for up to seven days to allow for KCC Highways anti-terrorism gate installation works.”

KCC has been installing gates paid for by Maidstone Borough Council.