Priory Park playground remains closed, others open but reviewed weekly

Photo from November (reigate.uk)

Priory Park playground is still closed owing to the coronavirus situation, but others run by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council are open, in line with Government guidance.

The council is reviewing its playgrounds weekly. Users of open facilities have to follow any specific play area rules, as well as national lockdown restrictions.

Priory Park closed on Saturday 21 November, when people were said to be ignoring a 40-person limit and social distancing rules.

On Sunday 3 January parents were reported to be lifting children over the gate: Surrey Police said that officers had provided “suitable words of advice”.  At that time the borough was in Tier 4 restrictions.

The council later tweeted: “Priory Park play area was closed due to infection rates being high across our borough and social distancing not being maintained.

“We’re saddened to see that with rates of coronavirus now even higher in R&B, people are continuing to flout measures put in place for their safety.

“We must continue to work together to bring the infection rate down. Please use our parks and green spaces responsibly to help protect your loved ones and the rest of the community.”

Use of playgrounds that are open are subject to the latest lockdown exercise rules including only one trip per day and staying in the “local area”.

The Government has given councils guidance on how to assess and manage risks.

Luci Mould, director of place at the council, said earlier this week: “Our officers continue to monitor the playgrounds in line with our risk assessments and the safe capacity limits clearly displayed on signage within the play areas.

“We supplement our own observations with intelligence from the police and with data about the R&B infection rates.”

“We review the situation in the playgrounds weekly,” she also said.

In Priory Park, the council says it will continue its approach of monitoring park visitor numbers generally to help gauge demand for the play area.

Figures from the skatepark were also previously used (and said by the council to be “very high” at certain peak times), but that has now closed with the latest restrictions.

Edited 9 January 2021