Play Areas Remain Closed
Following on from the Government's announcement which allowed play areas to re-open where safe to do so from the 20th July.
We have decided that our gated play areas in Trewern and Middletown will remain closed until further notice.
A few of the reasons behind this decision are as follows:
1. As the Trewen and Middletown play areas were both closed at the beginning of lockdown, we had therefore halted the frequency of inspections at these sites. As you’ll appreciate, it is very important that both sites are thoroughly inspected and maintenance issues that affect the safety/safe operation of the equipment are addressed prior to re-opening the play areas. As you’ll be aware that all the Community Councillors are here on a voluntary basis and do have other full time jobs/responsibilities, some of our Councillors are also currently shielding at the moment and therefore these inspections do require time to prepare and implement. It should be noted that that the play areas are not the same and that individual risk assessments will be required for each site.
2. In addition to these general maintenance requirements, we need to also ensure that both play areas are COVID-19 Secure by carrying out a COVID-19 risk assessment, which none of our Councillors are qualified to do, so again we will need time to prepare for this and decide what measures should be put in place. If we do fail to complete a risk assessment which takes account of COVID-19 or completing a risk assessment but failing to put in place sufficient measures to manage the risk of COVID-19, this would mean we could constitute a breach of the health and safety law.
3. There is a vast amount of signage that the Government has recommended we display, such as:
- a suggest on a maximum number of users per play equipment, whilst setting a time limit for playing on the equipment;
- a request that only 1 adult accompany younger children for supervision;
- a request that only one household may use each piece of equipment at any one time;
- reminders that users should keep 2 metres apart;
- signs to encourage frequent and effective handwashing or sanitising by users, parents, guardians or carers.
As well as many other signs that are required and as both our play areas are not manned, it would be difficult for us to ensure these signs are being adhered to. At the beginning of lockdown, we put up signs around the play areas stating that the play area was closed and we had cable ties to lock the gates, however at some point during lockdown, our signs were removed and the cable ties were cut.
4. We also need to be aware that when communicating safety messages via signs put up around the play areas, we need to ensure that they are able to reach those with hearing or vision impairments. With regards to vision impairments we do not see how this can be practically implemented; if braille signage is provided its presence would need to be communicated somehow and encouraging users to touch this would seem counterintuitive as it would provide a focus for transmission.
5. The Government guidelines also suggest we use a booking system, however, again as our sites are not manned, this again would be difficult to ensure that the booking system is being adhered to.
6. We also need to look at implementing a process that protects our staff and Councillors that are responsible for its maintenance and cleaning.
We realise that our decision to keep the play areas closed will be disappointing for many families and it’s not a decision that we have taken lightly, however our top priority throughout the coronavirus pandemic has been to protect people’s health and safety and to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
We are continuously monitoring this situation as it progresses, whilst making ourselves aware of the guidance coming through daily from the Government and so when we are confident that we can safely re-open the play areas, we will do so.
Until then, the play areas will be locked and we ask people to please respect the ongoing closure.
If anyone does have any comments or requires any further information on this subject, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
On behalf of Trewern Community Council, I would like to thank you for your co-operation and patience during this time.
Play Area Bins
Please can we ask that the bins located in the play areas in Middletown and Trewern are kept for use when using the play areas ONLY and are NOT to be used for dog foul.
Any dog fouling around the area must be bagged and taken to a specific Dog Foul bin or to your bin at home.
Play Area Update
Following on from our decision to keep the Play areas in Middletown and Trewern closed, please be assured that we are still continuing to work on re-opening them and are awaiting a RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) report.
As soon as this has been completed and we are confident that we can safely re-open the play areas, we will do so.
We would like to thank you for your patience and understanding during this time and we ask people to please respect the ongoing closure.