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Residents take to the barricades over Embassy

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WESTMINSTER CITY Council said this week it is to carry out £750,000 of streetworks in a bid to boost security around the US Embassy in London's Mayfair.

But it refused to cave in to pressure from wealthy residents to close off streets to deter car bomb attacks on the Embassy.

Instead the council is to install bollards that can be raised across Upper Brook Street and Upper Grosvenor Street. It is also installing new traffic controls and changing the direction of trafc flow on adjacent streets when roads bordering the Embassy are shut.

The council has recently been caught up in a spat with residents over security around the Embassy that culminated in an attack by the Grosvenor Square Safety Group who placed a double-page advertisement in both The Times and The Washington Post.

In the advertisements, the group said a bomb, the size of that used by the IRA in Bishopsgate, London, in 1993, would affect an area extending north to Oxford Street and west to Park Lane. People caught in the blast would become 'collateral damage'.

The Grosvenor Square Safety Group claim that the only way to prevent massive loss of life will be to deter terrorists from striking at the Embassy. This, it claims, can only be done by making it impossible to gain vehicular access.

But a Westminster City Council spokesman said UK security services, the Metropolitan Police and Transport for London did not believe the terror threat warranted further road closures.

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