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'Do not travel to Dartmoor'

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020 2:19pm

By Daniel Clark, Local Democracy Reporting Service

Warning issued after National Park facilities closed

A warning has been issued that travelling to Dartmoor National Park could put the lives of those who live and work there at risk.

All car parks, toilets and visitor centres on Dartmoor have been closed, as is the Authority’s HQ at Parke.

The Prime Minister announced on Monday night that people should only leave their homes for four reasons and a spokesman for Dartmoor National Park said: “You should not be travelling to Dartmoor National Park. If you travel to visit the National Park you are putting the lives of our communities at risk and additional pressure on our health and other local services.”

Shopping for basic necessities as infrequently as possible, to do one form of exercise a day either alone or with members of your household, for any medical need including to provide car or help to a vulnerable person and to travel to work but only when absolutely necessary, are the only reasons people should leave their homes.

The spokesman added: “Government guidance is that you are allowed one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household.  You should do this from your home in the best way you can.

“We look forward to welcoming you back when this pandemic is over. Until then we hope you understand our National Parks are living, working landscapes: the home to thousands of people and the factory floor for many farmers.  Please think of them and the pressure you can inadvertently place on local services.

“The Government have clarified that you should not be travelling to second homes, camp sites, caravan parks or expecting to camp in the National Park, this is not allowed in vehicles or large tents.

“Our car parks, toilets and visitor centres are now closed. If you travel to visit the National Park you are putting the lives of our communities at risk and additional pressure on our health and other local services.”

They added that most of their staff are now working from home and can still be reached by phone or email in the usual way.

All upcoming meetings, including Authority and Development Management, have been cancelled until further notice, and the spokesman added that they were looking at how they might host future meetings online.

They added: “For the foreseeable future we will only be able to receive new planning applications electronically through the planning portal website. We will not be able to deal with planning applications that are received by post until further notice.

“We will be continuing to validate and process applications where possible and will keep you informed where there are any problems or delays.”

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