'Exceptionally busy' Shrewsbury play area could shut amid rise in Covid-19 cases

A popular play park could close due to being "exceptionally busy" and people using it for "socialisation" rather than exercise.

The children's play park at the Quarry in Shrewsbury. Picture by Shrewsbury Town Council
The children's play park at the Quarry in Shrewsbury. Picture by Shrewsbury Town Council

Shrewsbury Town Council could close the Quarry play area if numbers don't drop, and police have said they will help enforce the closure. People have been asked to find quieter play areas near their homes.

The council says it has faced increasing calls to close its play areas during lockdown after numerous complaints were received about parents and children using the sites in large numbers and failing to follow the current government guidelines of keeping safe distances, using masks and sanitising hands frequently.

Other park users have become fearful of the risks to their own health from transmission of the virus.

During the first week of lockdown, the Quarry footfall rose significantly as large numbers are using the facility for their daily form of exercise. But the council says it is clear that it is becoming as much a place for socialisation as it is for exercise.

Town clerk Helen Ball said: "We are becoming increasingly concerned about the volume of use in the Quarry and particularly the play area where parents are not observing the ‘Hands-Face-Space’ measures in place to restrict the spread of the virus.

"We would stress to parents that they must take the use of these facilities extremely seriously so that they do not put themselves and their families, as well as others, at risk.

“We recognise the huge mental and physical benefits of keeping play areas open to children, particularly at a time when their schools are closed and they are stuck at home, but when the potential risk of transmission begins to outweigh those benefits, we have to seriously consider the wider issues.

“The last thing we want to do is close these facilities, but if parents do not begin to act more sensibly we will be left with no option.

“We operate over 50 play areas and dozens of open spaces across the town and we would urge people to use some of the less popular sites when places like the Quarry are exceptionally busy.”

In deciding to keep play areas open the Town Council has sought the advice of the Association of Play Industries, Public Health Shropshire and West Mercia Police.

Inspector Saf Ali of West Mercia Police, said: “Our local Safe Neighbourhood Team have worked closely with the Town Council to ensure that people remain safe and our staff have continued to patrol high footfall areas, following a process of educate, encourage and enforce.

“If any facilities are to close as a result of inappropriate usage, we will provide enforcement support where necessary.”

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News