Clerk ‘not aware’ of play area notice in Christchurch despite being told to close amid coronavirus lockdown
PUBLISHED: 17:12 14 April 2020 | UPDATED: 17:12 14 April 2020
The clerk of Christchurch Parish Council has said he was unaware of a public notice stating that families were allowed to use the village play area despite being told to close.
A notice was displayed at the facility on Upwell Road, telling parents and carers to “supervise your child while using the play equipment” and “ensure they all wear gloves” whilst maintaining social distancing.
Fenland District Council (FDC) made the announcement last month that all play areas and skate parks will close due to the coronavirus pandemic in line with Government guidelines.
Cllr Dave Gibbs said: “The play area has been closed for three weeks. The enclosed under 5s children’s play area was closed not by me, but within 24 hours of the Government announcement on March 20.
“I was not aware that notices were put up because of the instructions I gave to the parish council and district council that the first person to go there would need to lock the gate. I was told that was done quite quickly.”
Cllr Gibbs, who was unsure whether the notice had since been taken down, revealed he was only made aware of the situation by FDC on Easter Sunday, although it is unclear who put the notice up in the first place.
Cllr Gibbs added: “I don’t live near Christchurch and I do not have a place of work there. I have not been to Christchurch for a month.
“The government announcement only related to enclosed play areas, but parks will remain open.
“The first thing I knew was when FDC contacted on Sunday (April 12). It’s certainly not a notice they would produce.”
In response to the situation, FDC said: “FDC does not have the powers to enforce the closure of play areas it does not own or manage, but we have spoken to Christchurch Parish Council and asked them to close the area, and the signs.”
In nearby Manea, however, their parish council confirmed the park, skate park and muga will be closed until further notice.
It said: “This is to prevent the spread of COVID-19 that can remain on metal for at least 48 hours.
“Please do not ignore this as it is for the safety of everyone in the village and particularly those identified as at high risk.”
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