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Update on play areas in Woodbridge

31 July 2020

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Woodbridge Town Council have taken a risk-averse stance during the current Covid-19 pandemic, taking early decisions to allow staff to work from home and holding meetings virtually from early March.

Our Emergency Response Group have delivered food and medication to hundreds of vulnerable people in the greater Woodbridge area and we lobbied at length Suffolk County Council Highways to implement a daily four-hour closure of the Thoroughfare to allow people to socially distance whilst shopping. The safety of residents and visitors to the town is of utmost importance to us.

Our play areas on Elmhurst Park, Fen Meadow and Kingston Field were closed on March 23rd further to guidance issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

On July 4th further guidance was released paving the way for local Councils to open play areas; some of the measures suggested in the guidance are detailed below:-
a) Restricting access by using staff to control numbers or having a pre-booked ticketing system
b) Restricting the numbers of children on any one piece of apparatus at any one time
c) Restricting adult access to one adult per child
d) Restricting the time allowed in the playground
e) Frequent cleaning of all high-contact surfaces in the playground

Guided by our insurers who advised that our insurance cover would be invalidated if we could not adhere to the government guidance, which our risk assessments detailed that we could not, the decision was taken to keep the play areas closed until further notice.

We are however mindful of public opinion and in recent weeks the feeling in town has moved toward the need for play areas to open for the wellbeing of children, especially with the onset of the summer holidays and fine weather, and with parents making it clear they would be prepared to follow rules on social distancing and hygiene.

With this in mind we are now investigating ways to safely open our play areas through stringent health and safety measures; this is a risk to the Town Council but one we have now decided is worth considering to ensure the health and happiness of the townsfolk. This would require your support and adherence of the rules to ensure that the play areas can remain open.

More details will follow on Monday 3rd August. In the meantime, we would be extremely grateful if people continued not to use the play equipment until the necessary health and safety signage and information can be produced and installed.

Coronavirus has not gone away and still thrives on close human contact, as shown by the local lockdown imposed on the north of England this morning.