If you’ve been around Cardiff City Centre over the last couple of weeks you won’t have been able to miss the fences and other structures which have started to be put in place for the upcoming Nato summit. The summit itself is taking place at the Celtic Manor hotel near Newport on 4th and 5th September, and it was initially thought that Cardiff would escape the bulk of the disruption.
About a fortnight ago, it transpired that this is not the case and Cardiff will in fact be playing host to a series of working dinners in three venues across the city. This means significant security measures need to be put in place to protect the heads of state and their staff.
In the city centre this has mostly meant a series of unannounced and unpredictable road closures to erect a giant steel fence right the way round the castle, Bute Park and the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama. Due to these road closures, vehicle access to businesses and residential properties has been more difficult and bus routes have changed.
It now appears that there will be additional security points outside the main fence line, which was hinted at in some of the information released by Cardiff Council, on Queen Street, St John Street and St Mary Street. Large yellow gateways have been placed part of the way down each of these streets and from their appearance we assume they will be some sort of checkpoint on the ‘lockdown’ day, 4th September.
There are a number of businesses, shops and residential properties between the fence and these structures, which are referred to as the ‘outer cordon’ on the council’s website. We have reached out to the council via Twitter to find out what restrictions there will be on passing through these gates, and if residents living inside the lockdown area will be affected, but we have had no clear information as yet.
There has been widespread criticism from members of the public and even a local MP about the disruption these security measures have caused to Cardiff in advance of the summit, particularly regarding the short notice given to residents and the lack of any reliable information about additional changes to access.
We will continue our enquiries to Cardiff Council and report further when we get confirmation of the lockdown details.