by Paul Wilkinson, Church Times
SECURITY measures are being increased at Bishopthorpe Palace, the Grade I listed official residence of the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu.
Plans for the installation of rising traffic bollards, electronic locks, and an intercom system have been submitted to York City Council.
The 13th-century palace, in a picturesque riverside village three miles outside the city, has been at the centre of a number of security alerts in recent years, including two attempted thefts of lead from its roof in 2008. At the time, a palace spokesman said that security measures at the palace were being “actively revised” in the wake of one attempt, involving £20,000, worth of lead, after which a man was detained on the premises.
Officials want to fit two rising bollards to the east of the palace’s gatehouse, and an electronic locking-mechanism at the pedestrian access gate, which would be wired to the main palace buildings. Intercoms would be installed in the conference reception area of the palace, the apartment used by Dr Sentamu, and the staff accommodation facilities.
A spokesman for the Archbishop’s office refused to speculate about any specific security threats, and said that the extra measures were part of a regular assessment of security conducted at all church premises. “Whilst we cannot comment on specific security implications or incidents, the current planning application to make improvements at Bishopthorpe Palace has been taken after a thorough assessment of current arrangements,” he said.
“The proposed alterations will not significantly affect the character or appearance of the building and landscape.”
Last year, several of the palace windows were double-glazed, partly to increase security as well as to improve the building’s energy efficiency.