New anti-vehicle bollards are to be put up outside Eton College’s historic School Hall following the site being identified as vulnerable to terrorist attack.

Royal Borough planning councillors gave permission on Wednesday night to an application by the Provost and Fellows of the college for 38 bollards on the pedestrian walkway adjoining Slough Road and Common Lane, outside School Hall in front of the Memorial Buildings.

The college is not commenting on the thinking behind the new bollards.

But a report by planning officers considered by councillors reveals that recent car attacks on pedestrians by tourists is the main reason behind them, despite the detrimental effect on the historic setting. The report said: “The South East Counter Terrorism Unit has identified the immediate area outside of the Memorial Buildings being a natural place for congregation as being particularly vulnerable to hostile vehicle attacks from the direction of Slough Road and Eton High Street.

“The proposal would replace the existing bollards with fixed bollards that have been designed and sited to withstand such an attack.”

The planning application for the bollards led to some reports that the intimidating black barriers that sprung up in the centre of Windsor last year could be on their way to Eton.

But the planned new barriers seem to be very different – only a metre high and a fifth of a metre in diameter. They are planned to be 1.1m apart and will be made of steel with a polyurethane case finished in black.

The Royal Borough has not been consulted about the new bollards in the way it was when the bollards in Windsor were installed.

Paul Roach,Windsor and Eton town manager, also knew nothing about the plans, but said he could see why the college had decided to put up the bollards, saying: “There is a considerable amount of traffic there. Eton College is like many organisations that have to cope with a lot of people and that is a particularly crowded junction.”

He said the bollards would be effective, despite not being as obvious as the ones in Windsor.

He said: “Technology has moved on. We have bollards now that might not be as thick as they once had to be but they do the job.”