PLAYGROUNDS and outdoor gyms across Reading are set to reopen from Saturday 4 July.
Reading Council has been working hard on plans to reopen all of its play areas as quickly as possible, in anticipation of the government’s decision to allow the reopening of these sites to the public. With an eye to safety as our priority, this will need to take a phased approach in Reading with some sites opening before others.
The sites prioritised for opening on 4 July have been chosen to provide a fair geographical spread across the borough so that no one will be far away from an open playground. To find out which site is open near you, please go to www.reading.gov.uk/playgrounds
Remaining play areas unopened on 4 July will be phased back into use as soon as possible, with the aim of opening by the start of the school holidays on 22 July.
The Council is urging people not to use the equipment on the closed sites in the interim, as final essential safety checks, repairs and maintenance need to be carried out, including the manual removal of weeds. The lack of use at all of the sites for over three months has presented its own set of challenges for the Council’s parks team to address.
When using newly reopened playgrounds, people are strongly encouraged to stick to coronavirus safety advice, to help avoid the spread of coronavirus. Anyone displaying symptoms of coronavirus must not visit a play area. Other advice includes:
- adults and children maintain a minimum 1m+ distance from others
- don’t be offended when others try to maintain a distance from you
- if the playground is busy, consider coming back when it is quieter
- bring and use hand sanitiser or wet wipes before and after play
- wash hands before you come and when you return home
- put rubbish in litter bins or take litter home
- Stay safe, be kind, protect others
Cllr Karen Rowland, Reading’s Lead Member for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said: “I’m absolutely delighted we are days away from welcoming families back into our playgrounds. We have been working around the clock to open as many of our play areas as possible – with a huge amount of preparation work taking place over the last few months in anticipation for when we could allow access again. We want Reading’s children back into our much-loved playgrounds and finally allow them to burn off some of the energy from all that time indoors. I know how eager many residents are to use our popular outdoor gyms as well.
“People still need to be mindful of the current coronavirus guidance, to help prevent the spread of the virus – so we are reminding the need for everyone, adults and children, to keep at least 1M+ distance from others. We expect the play areas will be very busy when they first open, so please consider coming back later if you arrive and the playground is full.
“We are also advising you to bring hand sanitiser or wipes and wash your hands before you come and as soon as you return home. Please help by putting your litter in the bin (or take it home with you) – especially any personal protective wear. It really needs all of us to use common sense and our sense of shared community responsibility to allow playgrounds to be safe for everyone to use. So please think about wiping down the equipment you are using before and after, so you are respecting the safety of others.
“Safety remains our top priority however, and there are a number of play areas we need to carry out final essential safety checks, maintenance and repairs before we can reopen. I’d like to urge residents to be patient with these sites and tempting though it may be, please don’t use the equipment until we’ve carried out this work and officially reopened. We are striving to get the remaining playgrounds open by the end of July, in good time for the start of the summer holidays.
“To date, we have significantly invested in parks, open spaces and play areas across the borough, including enhancements to make playgrounds more accessible. This investment is ongoing, and now that we are moving out of lockdown, planned improvements can restart. At Palmer Park, for example, we are aiming to have a new, fully accessible play unit installed in the main central play area by early August which I’m really excited to see in place.”
All playgrounds in Palmer Park in east Reading are set to reopen on 4 July. However, a portion of the main central playground area will be cleared for the new, exciting, fully accessible play multi-unit and as such that area will remain cordoned off so that those works can start as planned in mid-July. However, the north playground in Palmer Park will remain open for play.
The Forbury Gardens remain closed following the attack on 20 June. The Council will update residents on the plan for reopening the gardens as soon as possible.
For more information visit www.reading.gov.uk/playgrounds