Published: Wednesday, 29th July 2020
Play areas in west Norfolk, owned by the borough council, are being opened on a phased basis over the next few weeks.
Council staff have undertaken an assessment of each of the 80-plus council-owned play areas in the borough. These have been categorised based on frequency of use. During the week commencing 27 July, these are being opened, one by one, starting with those that are used the most. The phased programme will mean that Lynnsport in King's Lynn and then Esplanade Gardens in Hunstanton, will be the first to open, followed by Howdale and Memorial in Downham Market, then urban areas of King's Lynn.
Each play area will have its normal safety check, and then will be cleaned and equipment will be given an application of anti-bac coating. Signage will be installed reminding users of the risks of using high touch equipment, and reminding them to wash their hands/use sanitiser before and after playing on the equipment. Users are also reminded not to touch their faces or consume food or drinks while using the play area.
Cllr Elizabeth Nockolds, Cabinet Member for Culture, Heritage and Health, said: "The Government announced that play areas could open, however, the guidance given lacked any clarity in terms of what sort of cleaning measures would be required. In the absence of further clarification of cleaning procedures, we felt that we needed to get the play areas open as the summer holidays are already upon us.
"The Walks play area in King's Lynn opened a couple of weeks ago, as we have staff on hand there to deal with cleaning. For everywhere else, we are taking a measured approach based on our own assessments of each play area. We must reiterate that equipment cannot be cleaned between each use. Those whose children are using the play areas, must go prepared with anti-bacterial wipes or hand gel, so that they can reduce any risk of spreading the coronavirus, to keep themselves and others safe."
To find out which council-owned play areas nearby are open, visit west-norfolk.gov.uk/nearestplayareas. It will take some time for all play areas to be opened as there are over 80, with more than 1400 individuals pieces of equipment to be cleaned and coated.
Some play areas are privately owned on small developments or are owned by parish councils or housing associations. Each will determine their own arrangements for their play areas. Check with them before visiting.