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Located in the North-West of the UK, Blackpool is a popular seaside resort that welcomes around 18 million visitors each year.
The promenade in the centre of Blackpool is home to multiple attractions, including an air show, firework displays, Blackpool trams, several entertainment piers and an event arena. During tourist seasons, Blackpool’s promenade is packed full of families, stag and hen brigades and holidaymakers.
The annual Blackpool Illuminations lights festival runs throughout the autumn and winter months each year. The start of the display is marked by the Blackpool Switch On, an event that sees thousands of tourists gather on the promenade, making it one of the busiest days of the year.
Following a continually elevated terror threat in the UK and the event being identified as being at risk of attack due to large crowds, Blackpool Council decided to take action to keep their visitors safe.
Blackpool Council approached ATG Access requiring temporary public event security measures for the Blackpool Switch On. The council had already been liaising with Counter Terror Security Advisors to assess various different product options for the site.
Blackpool Council required a temporary security solution that protected against hostile vehicles, whilst allowing the crowds of pedestrians to move safely during the event.
As the trams that run along the promenade are a top attraction and a key mode of transport for visitors, the council needed a solution that allowed trams to pass through.
ATG Access recommended the Surface Guard temporary HVM barrier, due to the pedestrian permeability of the system and the speed of deployment and removal.
Working with one of our installation partners, the Surface Guard was placed in six areas at either end of the promenade.
The Surface Guard was positioned to protect the crowds of visitors attending the light switch on and people queuing to get into the Blackpool Arena to see the Britney Spears concert which was on the same evening.
To allow trams to continue operating, we created a bespoke solution for the requirement – a manually operable gate.
This gate utilised ATG’s tested and certified, fibre strap technology, spanned 9 meters and was attached to two permanent bollards installed on either side of the tram tracks via hinge pins.
The gate was fully manned throughout the event, with the gate arm being operated by security personnel to allow access to passing trams and emergency service vehicles.
ATG Access’ solutions kept pedestrians safe throughout the event and during the concert, without disrupting transport and emergency services.
Following the success of the event, the gate has become a permanent security fixture for events on the promenade and is reinstalled seasonally to protect visitors. Out of season, the gate is removed and placed into storage, and the bollards at either side of the tramways are fitted with an aesthetic sleeve.
The response from the general public regarding the security installation has been overwhelmingly positive, with one attendee saying: “I was there last night with my children, felt very safe. Well done Blackpool”.