IT IS good news for children living in Whitchurch, after the town council unanimously voted to reopen the play parks.

As previously reported, the two play parks in the town have remained shut after the government declared it safe for parks to reopen from July 4, as lockdown restrictions eased.

The two play areas in Whitchurch at Alliston Way and Kingsley Park have stayed closed while the town council sought advice from its insurance company on whether it could meet government guidelines to open them.

Last night, the town council’s leisure and environment committee reviewed the advice from the insurance company, along with a draft Covid-19 risk assessment, and agreed by unanimous vote that the play areas and outdoor gym equipment are safe to open, once signs have been installed.

The council said it is planning to install these on Wednesday, July 29, and has asked residents to “wait just a little longer to allow us to put this in place”.

It is asking all users to read its safety instructions prior to using the parks.

This includes warning users that the equipment is not sanitised or disinfected; requesting the use of hand sanitiser before entering the play areas; encouraging children to avoid touching their faces; and to maintain social distancing.

As previously reported, Whitchurch Town Council had asked its insurance company whether it would be safe to reopen the play parks and meet the government guidelines.

It received a response saying: “We are unable to interpret the guidance and confirm whether it is mandatory or optional. Your requirement under the terms of your policy are to follow and comply with government guidelines.

“If the guidance is optional, then in the event of a claim we would look for your risk assessments to prove that you’d taken reasonable steps to minimise the risk of infection to play area users… If the guidance is mandatory, and you don’t follow it, we could potentially decline a claim under the policy.”

However, it added that it would be very difficult for someone to prove that they were infected at a play park, adding: “The claimant would have to provide the burden of proof that the council’s negligence caused the infection, as opposed to the person who coughed on them in the supermarket.”