Further to our article last week, Leeds City Council have now announced that the playground in Middleton Park will reopen tomorrow (Thursday 23 July 2020). It will be 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 the public are asked to refrain from using them.
Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council’s executive member for environment and active lifestyles said:
“I welcome the news that some playgrounds and play areas in the city will begin opening from today.
“I would again like to thank the people of Leeds for their continued patience as we continue to take every step that is required in the light of coronavirus to ensure that the health and wellbeing of those using the facilities are as protected as they possibly can be.
“Some playgrounds and play areas will reopen in some communities later than others, because of the practical implications of national guidance in terms of the day-to-day management of each area and the subsequent additional pressures on our budgets. As a consequence of this the council will be writing to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government requesting that the guidance is reviewed for those who manage a large number of municipal playgrounds that invariably have no site-based staff presence, over a wide geographic distribution.”
This post is based on a press release issued by Leeds City Council
Photo: The Middleton Park playground taken last summer