Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Security at St James' on Matchdays to Be Stepped Up after Attacks; Roads to Be Closed in Bid to Safeguard Supporters

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Security at St James' on Matchdays to Be Stepped Up after Attacks; Roads to Be Closed in Bid to Safeguard Supporters

Article excerpt

Byline: TOM EDEN Reporter tom.eden@ncjmedia.com @TomEden11

TERRORIST attacks in London, Nice and Berlin have prompted a major change to matchday security around St James' Park.

Following terror attacks in recent years roads surrounding Newcastle United's ground will be closed to traffic on match days in a bid to protect football fans as Newcastle return to the Premier League.

Leazes Terrace - behind the East Stand - will be pedestrian-only for an hour before kick off and for 20 minutes after, while the whole of Strawberry Place will be closed for around 20 minutes either side of games to allow crowds to safely leave grounds.

Along with the road closures, areas around St James' Metro Station, and nearby car parks, will be temporarily off limits to motorists.

Gallowgate will remain open, with diversions signposted.

The temporary barriers come after a call for a review on matchday safety from supporters' groups following three terror attacks in three months in the UK.

Fans forum representative Stephen Hastie said: "Every Newcastle fan knows that congestion outside the ground is quite difficult; the mix of cars, lorries and pedestrians.

"Members of the Fans Forum raised the matter with both club and council, and as a group we are pleased that the council have reacted so quickly to implement these plans for the start of the new season.

"We appreciate that there may be inconvenience for some members of the public due to the measures being implemented, but in the current climate of heightened security we feel that the measures are both proportionate and a price worth paying."

The barriers will be part of pre-worth paying Stephen Hastie cau-tionary measures to stop vehicles driving into crowds of supporters and will be ready in time for Newcastle's first home game against Tottenham on August 13.

With vehicles used as weapons to drive into pedestrians in Nice, Berlin, Stockholm, and more recently in London, the police and Newcastle City Council - in partnership with the Fans Forum and the club - have proactively taken steps to protect matchday crowds.

Detective Chief Inspector Jamie Pitt, Northumbria Police match-day commander, said: "If you look at a local context, in terms of St James' Park and Newcastle United, the threat for international terrorism is currently 'moderate' - it is possible, but not likely. …

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