Phased re-opening of play areas and outdoor gyms once safety inspections have taken place

East Devon District Council will be re-opening 12 play areas from Monday (13th July) following the relaxation of restrictions around the coronavirus lockdown.

The district council manages 71 play areas and eight outdoor gyms which were all closed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. In the coming weeks, the council will assess the remaining 59 play areas and outdoor gym equipment and will phase the re-opening of these sites once safety inspections, risk assessments and mitigation measures have been put in place.

The following sites will re-open from Monday:

- Queen’s Drive play area, Exmouth
- Phear Park, Exmouth
- Redgates, Exmouth
- Allhallows, Honiton
- St Mark’s Road, Honiton
- North Street, Axminster
- Foxhill, Axminster
- Lime Kiln, Budleigh Salterton
- Stowford Rise, Sidmouth
- Manstone Recreation Ground, Sidmouth
- Jubilee, Beer
- Land of Canaan, Ottery St Mary

New signage will be in place to remind people to maintain social distancing, to wash their hands thoroughly before and after their visit, to take their own hand sanitiser wherever possible and not to eat and drink whilst using play equipment. Users are also asked to take their litter home or to dispose of it in the bins provided, be considerate of other park users and if any play area appears busy, they should come back at a later time.

As with all outdoor equipment that can be used by everyone, play areas cannot be guaranteed to be free of COVID-19. Parents should supervise their children at all times and should take all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of themselves and their children while using the equipment.

Government guidance says parents, guardians and carers should sanitise children's hands both before and after using the play equipment.

Councillor Geoff Jung, portfolio holder for coast, country and environment, said:

I am really pleased that following the Government’s decision to reduce COVID-19 emergency measures we are able to reopen some of our play areas. We are only able to do this following a thorough review and risk assessment of all our sites, and providing signage to protect the health and wellbeing for all the users.

We are aware that there are other playparks and facilities throughout the district run by a community, group, or parish council who are also considering opening their facilities and we would advise that residents check locally when these play parks are open.

Earlier this week the council reopened its skate parks and multi-use games areas.

The council’s skate parks are now available to use at Budleigh Salterton (Lime Kiln); Exmouth (Phear Park); Honiton (Allhallows) and Seaton (Underfleet).

The multi-use games areas are at Phear Park, Exmouth x 2; Liverton Copse, Cumberland Close, Exmouth; King George’s Field, Carter Avenue, Exmouth; The Crescent, Exmouth; Foxhill, Axminster; St Mark’s, Honiton; Davey Playing Field, Honiton; Thorne Farm Way, Ottery St Mary; All Hallows, Honiton; Winter’s Lane, Ottery St Mary and Greenway Lane, Budleigh Salterton.

See the latest Government guidance for owners and operators of playgrounds and outdoor gyms.