Basket swing and zip wire seat removed from park to enforce coronavirus restrictions
COUNCIL staff have removed a basket swing and zip wire seat from Page Park after a complaint that they were being used by people despite coronavirus warnings.
The equipment in the open teen area at the park in Staple Hill was removed on Tuesday.
Swings have been left intact in the park’s fenced-off children’s play areas, which have notices and tape on the gates warning people not to use them.
Although parks remain open for people to take daily exercise, communal places such as playgrounds, sports courts and outdoor gyms have been shut across the country in a bid to encourage social distancing.
Vivienne Turner, who lives in an apartment block overlooking the park, said she alerted South Gloucestershire Council to children and grown-ups deliberately breaching the new rules by playing on the equipment.
She said: “Page Park’s facilities are not all closed.
“The seat on the zip wire was only removed on Tuesday after I had informed the council that people were still using it.
“People are still using the outside gym and play area.
“It’s not cordoned off and I can’t see any signs.
“People are also still using the tennis courts.
“Not many people are doing this but the council should still take steps to prevent anyone from physically using these items.”
She said the local authority was continuing to carry out gardening maintenance and litter picks in Page Park but that it should not consider these “urgent and essential” work.
Mrs Turner said council staff had been working on the grass verges of a path where it was almost impossible to keep the required two-metre social distancing from passers-by.
“I believe it should be about everyone getting their priorities right regarding Covid-19,” she added.
When the Voice visited Page Park on Thursday afternoon the basketball hoop and tennis courts were being used, each by two people, but other play areas were empty.
A South Gloucestershire Council spokesperson said: “The council has, and continues to, comply with government guidance.
“Page Park continues to be maintained and the litter removed in order to enable it help the physical and mental well-being of users.
“Signs are prominently displayed telling people not to use the play equipment and wherever it is physically possible, items such as swing seats and those on the zip wire have been removed in order to prevent its use.”
The latest government coronavirus guidance on social distancing and access to green spaces says: “The Government’s priority is to save lives and the best way to protect yourself and others from illness is to stay at home.
“However, exercise is still important for people’s physical and mental well-being, so the Government has said people can leave their homes for exercise once a day.
“When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection.
“That is why the Government has introduced three new measures: requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes; closing certain businesses and venues; stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public.
“Every person in the UK must comply with these new measures, which came into effect on Monday, March 23.
“The relevant authorities, including the police, have been given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.
“The Government will look again at these measures after three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.
“To reduce social contact, the Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close.
“They include indoor and outdoor leisure facilities, such as bowling alleys, arcades and soft play facilities, and communal places within parks, such as playgrounds, sports courts and outdoor gyms.”
The seat has been removed from the zip wire in Page Park
Story by Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service