CrowdGuard Provides Safe Outdoor Dining Solution in Soho – Westminster City Council

With the pandemic hitting the hospitality sector hard, local authorities are keen to help bars and restaurants continue to operate by pedestrianising roads for use as outdoor dining areas. CrowdGuard has helped Westminster City Council (WCC) do just that in eight Soho locations, thanks to a Surface Guard installation completed in early December.

Safe from Traffic and Attack

Soho is a popular destination for Londoners and tourists alike, with a huge variety of independent bars and restaurants, along with some familiar favourites, all of which have struggled to run at full capacity due to ongoing pandemic restrictions. By pedestrianising the carriageway to allow these venues to use it as much needed outside dining space, Westminster City Council has put a plan in place to support these struggling businesses. Creating these outdoor dining areas also makes it safer for people to dine out, as it is commonly acknowledged that COVID transmission risk is minimised in outdoor settings.

With the UK terror threat alert currently at ‘substantial’, every precaution needs to be taken to keep people safe in these outside dining areas, from both hostile vehicle attacks and errant vehicles.

That’s why, when considering a solution for enabling local businesses to maximise trade during COVID restrictions, WCC has followed Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) guidance and included a rated vehicle security system barrier in its plans. The award-winning ATG Surface Guard System will protect hospitality businesses and their customers from vehicle as a weapon (VAW) attacks, along with errant vehicles and drunk drivers, while allowing socially distanced outdoor dining.

The Right Solution for Multiple Locations

Working closely with local counter terrorism safety advisors (CTSAs), Westminster Council opted for the ATG Surface Guard system in eight locations. The system provides a pedestrian permeable, surface-mounted solution that delivers robust hostile vehicle protection without requiring any permanent changes to the road layout.

Seven of the locations have been installed to allow vehicle access and six of these feature specialist extension plates to enable the road to be closed to vehicles during hospitality operating hours. They can then be opened to general traffic again when the outdoor dining areas are closed to customers. This added flexibility offers an ideal, non-invasive solution for busy city centres that want to trial pedestrianisation at certain times of day, while protecting people from any vehicles entering the area maliciously or in error.

Rapid Deployment

Crowdguard installed a total of over 18 tonnes of the ATG Surface Guard system across the eight locations within a 10-hour period, enabling local bars and restaurants to maximise the number of covers they can serve. The installation was completed on Friday 4th December, ready for weekend trading, which enables people to dine safely in the streets from 5pm until 11pm Monday to Friday and 12pm -11pm on a Saturday and from 12pm to 10.30pm on a Sunday.

The project builds on a growing portfolio of locations that are utilising ATG Surface Guard as a solution to enable selective pedestrianisation for outdoor dining while keeping people safe from traffic, drunk drivers and hostile vehicles.

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