UPDATED 4pm, Wednesday 15 July 2020
Leeds City Council has postponed the reopening of the first five playgrounds, including Middleton Park, as it needs “more time to undertake further assessment work.”
The children’s playground in Middleton Park will reopen tomorrow (Thursday 16 July 2020), one of just five in the first wave of openings across the city.
All other Council owned playgrounds, play areas and outdoor gym equipment remain officially closed. However, increasing numbers of people appear to be using them unofficially, with parents seen lifting children over the fence at the playground in Cross Flatts Park, for instance. Tennis courts and multi-use games areas (MUGAs) reopened last month.
In a statement the Council said:
“The reopening programme is being done gradually to ensure they meet the requirements set out in government guidelines around cleaning and social distancing before they can be re-opened safely. There are more than 200 play areas and outdoor gyms across Leeds with over 2,000 pieces of equipment. It will therefore take time to re-open all of our play areas and playgrounds, and we would like to thank you for your patience.”
The other playgrounds opening tomorrow are at Roundhay Park, Temple Newsam, Lotherton Hall and the Arium.
Signage will be installed on the sites to remind users regarding social distancing, hygiene, not eating food or drink and limiting numbers including on relevant pieces of equipment. If the playground or equipment is busy then people are asked to be patient to enable social distancing. The playgrounds and equipment will not be supervised, and will rely on people acting responsibly. Please be aware that in some cases it will be necessary for example to remove some swing seats to ensure social distancing is maintained.
The council will continue to monitor government guidance and consideration will be given to re-opening further playgrounds once all appropriate work and checks have been carried out. For the time being all other playgrounds and play areas will remain closed, and we ask people to please refrain from using them.
Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council’s executive member for environment and active lifestyles said:
“It is fantastic that we are able to open some of our play areas again. I would like to thank all the parents and children for being patient. It has been very difficult but we need to keep everyone safe and help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“We are grateful for your continued patience as we work towards making sure the equipment is cleaned and safe for use in line with government guidance.
“We ask the public to remain responsible, stay socially distant, and both adults and children need to follow good hygiene practices to ensure the play areas can be enjoyed by everyone.”
This post is based on a press release issued by Leeds City Council
Photo: The Middleton Park playground taken last summer