Some small parks and gardens will remain closed in East Devon
- Credit: Archant
The majority of public parks and gardens, closed at the start of the Covid-19 lockdown, will be reopened across East Devon, council bosses say.
But all sites with restricted access will remain closed, following social distancing guidance – this includes Connaught Gardens and Blackmore Gardens in Sidmouth as well as Manor Gardens, Gunfield Gardens and the Queens Drive Space in Exmouth.
The Glen in Honiton and Seafield Gardens in Seaton will also remain closed along with all play areas, outdoor gym equipment and all skate parks.
The decision to keep the smaller parks closed was made on account of the small, enclosed and narrow access ways with poor sight lines or restricted access points.
The council felt it would be difficult for the public to maintain robust social distancing at the sites.
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East Devon’s beaches and nature reserves are all still remaining open.
East Devon District Council’s announcement follows a statement made by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on Saturday April 18, which said: “People need parks. That’s why I have made it clear to councils that all parks must remain open.”
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Councillor Geoff Jung, East Devon’s portfolio for the environment, said: “We believe we can safely re-open large parks sites, such as Phear Park in Exmouth, with access points, open borders or space that allow people to easily use the site for exercise while maintaining social distancing.
“We will re-open these sites by removing barriers and closure signage starting Thursday, April 23 - it will take us a couple of days to complete this.
“This will mean that the majority of our parks will be open, giving residents ample green spaces within which to exercise responsibly.
“Social distancing signs will remain in place and we will remind the public to observe these measures.
“If people do not observe social distancing or congregate in our parks, we may be forced to close them all again.
“We are putting our trust in our public and asking them to use common sense, follow the two metre social distancing recommendations and generally take responsibility for staying safe.”
The council’s staffing levels, from the virus lockdown, means it will not be able to maintain the parks and gardens to the same high standards as they were before closure.