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Why are the playgrounds in Elmhurst Park and Fen Meadow still closed?

PUBLISHED: 17:07 20 July 2020 | UPDATED: 17:07 20 July 2020

Several play areas in east Suffolk remain closed, including in Elmhurst Park Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Several play areas in east Suffolk remain closed, including in Elmhurst Park Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Children’s play areas across Suffolk have begun reopening but those run by Woodbridge Town Council will remain closed for the foreseeable future over concerns about cleaning and social distancing.

The play area in Elmhurst Park, Woodbridge, remains closed despite the government guidance Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe play area in Elmhurst Park, Woodbridge, remains closed despite the government guidance Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Outdoor play areas were included in the government’s list of facilities that could reopen on July 4, alongside pubs, hairdressers and outdoor gyms.

East Suffolk Council are among those to reopen their play areas but smaller town and parish councils in some areas have chosen not to.

Woodbridge Town Council has opted to keep its facilities - including the play areas at Elmhurst Park, Fen Meadow and Kingston Field - closed “until government guidance changes”, according to a spokesman.

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Woodbridge Town Council has not said when the play areas will reopen Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNWoodbridge Town Council has not said when the play areas will reopen Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The council said the decision had been made in consultation with insurers and gave no time-frame on when the play areas will be reopened.

The spokesman added: “Although the government has announced that outdoor playgrounds and gyms could reopen from July 4, we have taken advice on the subsequent detailed guidance and come to the conclusion that we cannot fully meet those stringent, and necessary, health requirements to keep users safe.

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“As and when the government relaxes the guidance we will review the possibility of reopening, but we do not expect that to be soon.”

In a meeting earlier this month, the town council’s amenities committee decided it was “impractical to implement” safety measures at the three parks every day throughout the summer.

Several parks in Rushmere St Andrew also remain closed as they are being cleaned - though they are likely to reopen in the coming days.

Sylvia Stannard, clerk to Rushmere St Andrew Parish Council, said: “Our park at Tower Hall is open, and we will look to open more later this week.

“We need to do inspections, clean the play area and make sure all the equipment is safe.”

Other town councils in east Suffolk, including Southwold and Felixstowe, confirmed their play areas had already reopened.

The council said the decision had been made in consultation with insurers and gave no time-frame on when the play areas will be reopened.

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